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Revisiting the Tithe and Offering

MoneyWise

Christian talk radio with Rob West

October 15, 2022

The book of Acts clearly shows the radical generosity of the 1st century church. How does it compare with church giving today? We’ll explore that today on MoneyWise. Acts 4: 32: Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. The church advancement team at Generis and the Barna Group did a survey to find out the status of giving today. It’s called Revisiting the Tithe Offering, and it revealed a lot about how Christans are supporting the local church. Giving, of course, doesn’t involve just money. As the saying goes, Christians should be generous with their time, talent and treasure. But not surprisingly, the vast majority of pastors, 94%, reported that they view member giving primarily through the lens of tithes and offerings, far exceeding other forms of generosity. Obviously, tithes and offerings are vital to the local church, so it’s also not surprising that 98% of pastors said their church is primarily funded through individual donations. And the local church should be funded through member giving, rather than investment earnings or an endowment of some type. A church should have an emergency fund, something like a year’s worth of operating expenses. But assets beyond that should be used for ministry or missions, in our opinion. GOOD NEWS There’s some good news about Christian generosity as compared to Americans as a whole. Studies show that 60% of U. S. adults give to a charitable organization during the course of a year. A full 90% of practicing Christians who do attend church at least monthly and say their faith is important to them give to charity on an annual basis, and that charity includes giving to their local church. What does all this mean? Well, it actually makes perfect sense. In general, Christians are more generous than the population as a whole, as they should be. And believers who feel strongly about their faith and attending church regularly are more generous than those who don’t, exactly as you’d expect. Here’s a snapshot of US giving among three separate groups: - U. S. adults give an average of $916 a year to charities - Nominal Christians give slightly more, $1, 165 a year - And practicing Christians give $3, 000 a year more than triple that of the average American adult. WHERE SHOULD YOUR TITHE GO? Now, we occasionally get calls from listeners who want to know if it’s okay to give their tithes and offerings to something other than their local church. We believe your tithe should go to your church. It’s wonderful to give sacrificially to other ministries, but your first fruits should go where you’re fed. So it’s encouraging to see that the survey revealed most Christians agree. A full 75% think it’s more generous to give to their local congregation. That clearly shows a commitment to the local church with regard to giving. THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS The next finding isn’t quite so encouraging. While 55% of believers agree that all church members should financially support their local church, 51% also said there may also be circumstances when it’s okay not to. An example of that would be volunteering at the local church. Surprisingly, about 60% of Christians in general (meaning nominal and practicing combined) said that members who are committed to volunteering have less of a financial obligation to support the church. And even more surprising, that percentage held true for practicing Christians. Sixty percent of those who attend regularly and hold strongly to their faith also believe that volunteering can be a substitute for financial giving. In our opinion, that’s not right. Don’t get us wrong, volunteering is important to the church! But if every member gives time and not a tithe, you soon wouldn’t have a church. Volunteering should only be viewed as a substitute for financial giving if you’re unable to be a percentage giver to your church. And even then, you should always try to give something as a form of worship. Remember what Jesus said about the widow who gave two small copper coins in Mark 12: 43, Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● What funding options should you consider for rental home repairs? ● How do you go about buying an I-bond? ● What is the best way to fund the purchase of a home? ● What are your options for purchasing CDs? RESOURCES MENTIONED: ● Treasurydirect. gov

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