An Analysis of Giving Within the Church
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An Analysis of Giving within the Church
When a member of the congregation decides to give to his local church, the Bible emphasizes that he or she must give with 2 Corinthians 9:7 in mind. Each individual must give cheerfully and with no reluctance or regret in their heart! In the Old Testament, giving to one’s local church is described as tithing, and the minimum amount of the tithe was to be 10 percent of one’s income. However, the New Testament doesn’t specify a minimum amount or percentage, but instead encourages each believer to give according to their means and ask God whether it is wise for them to even tithe for a season. Considering that tithing 10 percent was a requirement under the law of Moses, it is not our standard since we live under the dispensation of grace. Thus, giving for Christians in this age has an entirely different meaning than it did for the Israelites in the Old Testament.
First, God commands his people to give according to their means and if we are to exceed our means it must be of our own free will, not based on obligation or peer pressure (2 Corinthians 8:3). Some individuals will feel led to give 50 percent of their income to the church while others can only manage 5 percent. Under the new covenant, the condition of the heart when giving is what is important, not the amount. In his book “Preparing to Build,” Stephen Anderson mentions a formula for finding the average giving per person in a church. After examining over 200 churches and their financial data, Anderson came to the conclusion that a congregation’s annual income can be determined by adding three zeroes to the average attendance of the church. Perhaps some pastors emphasize the minimum amount of 10 percent for tithing in order to try to maintain a constant income for the church. Had they said that each person should give what they can, the church’s income would be too unstable and they probably wouldn’t be able to organize as many staff retreats, children’s activities, or conferences. Unfortunately, if we are allowed free reign in our giving, most of the time we will make numerous excuses of why we can’t give. We either assume that someone else in the church will make up for our lack of giving, that God will miraculously provide enough money for the church, or refuse to make sacrifices in order to show our dedication to the body of Christ. An example of a pastor whose sermons have predominantly been about tithing is Creflo Dollar, senior pastor of World Changers Ministries. For almost two decades, he hasn’t been hesitant of calling Old Testament curses on those who refuse to tithe at least 10 percent to the church. Many megachurch pastors realize that if faithful church members are constantly preached the Old Testament theology of tithing if they are to escape the curses of unfaithfulness, they will have a steady flow of revenue into their treasury. Considering the average attendance of these churches, they are able to purchase $70 million private jets, mansions, expensive cars, and tailored suits. In some ways, tithing has been used to make churches resemble corporations.
As these megachurches grow, they are in need of executive boards and leaders who are savvy businessmen. A Chapel Hill Harvester staff member states that “as the church has gotten so huge, it’s harder to make decisions based on an understanding of the Holy Spirits leading.” In order to properly manage million dollar budgets, these churches need individuals who can make smart and quick decision, and thus usually don’t have time to wait on the Holy Spirit to guide and lead. This explains why one third of pastors of megachurches have had no seminary