Should Elders use individual giving as metric of faith?

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by govols, Mar 28, 2008.

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  1. govols

    govols Puritan Board Junior

    Should / could the Elders of a church use a family / individual giving (tithe) as a barameter of their faith? This is, of course, over an amount of time?

    There are a lot of things that may go into it like someone knowing roughly how much someone makes, the frequency of giving, etc.

    Rough times in someone's life is taken into consideration as well.

    Basically, if someone has somehow been informed that someone makes $100,00 a year but only gives $2000 in giving for the church, should that be addressed, lovingly, by an Elder?

    Or if someone gives X amount and then stops giving or gives substantially less w/o going through any harsdships ...

    Is giving indicitave of someone's faith? I say yes since it has been provided by the Father but what sayeth yea?
  2. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    Not trying to change the subject, but two related questions:

    1) Are there any reformed denominations that are confessionally bound to expect a tithe of their members?

    2) If you found out that a member made a million dollars, but only gave 10% to the Church, should they be counseled on their lack of generosity as a potential sign of a lack of faith?
  3. ADKing

    ADKing Puritan Board Junior

    Of course, I agree that there are many factors that have to be taken into account. But in general, yes. If an individualover a period of time does not seem to be tithing (and great caution needs to be exercised in making that judgment) then I do believe it should be addressed as a pastoral concern. Of course, just to reveal my presuppositions on this one, I do believe that the tithe is still required.
  4. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

  5. The Swan

    The Swan Puritan Board Freshman

    Are you asking if "not tithing" is grounds for fencing from the table?

    I think you have to be careful not to confuse Law and Gospel. I think "not tithing" is as relevant as having a short temper, or gossiping, or having a critical spirit, etc...

    But none of these should be confused with a credible profession of faith.

    Rooting for Tennessee, however, definitely brings into question ...

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2008
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    And is a church member required to give 100% of their tithe to their local assembly or can they give it to other causes as well?
  7. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Also, why would elders be reviewing the giving records of their congregants? And how would they gather info on how much each congregant is actually making?

    Should we be asking the wives in our congregations if they are giving "it" enough to their husbands too, since that is a duty? Or do we recognize that the domain of the church stops at a certain point and people need to know where not to stick their noses?
  8. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor


    This was going to be my would the elders KNOW if they are tithing enough of their income?

    Are they going to do as the LDS Church does and require it's members to submit their income tax returns so they know exactly how much they make and send them a Bill for their tithes? Or are they going to guess on the income of it's members and send them a bill for their tithes?

    I believe as a Pastor teaches on tithing and giving, the Lord will convict the hearts of those He desires to convict to give more..
  9. govols

    govols Puritan Board Junior

    Ouuuccchhh, that hurt right thar. :cool:
  10. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    I am a deacon and I don't tithe because I make no money. I have no job and no income.

    Am I faithless?

  11. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    Surely you are tithing, 10% of zero is zero.
  12. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior


    Addressing an obvious sin (known adultery, illegal business deals, etc) is one thing, but investigating to find sin when there is no reason to suspect it is something else.

    What if a very wealthy man gave anonymously? There would be no record of his giving, but he could be giving appropriately...
  13. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Absolutely not. For one thing, it is not the business of the elders to be looking into the financial assets or giving of the congregants. They should have NO clue what people give. Just knowing how much money a person gives sets things up for elders to show favoritism to members who give large amounts. (I've seen this many times in churches over the years.)

    Also, who is to say that money is the only thing that can be tithed? What about time? What about material items? Giving money is not a measure of one's faithfulness to the body of Christ. It can be ONE measure.

    At different times in our lives, we have been able to give more or less to the church based on our income. Other times we felt led to give money to a particular missionary or work outside of our local congregation. In those times, we have donated large chunks of time to the church doing jobs that would have otherwise required the church to pay someone. Is that not the same as giving money?
  14. jfschultz

    jfschultz Puritan Board Junior


    The only people in a church that should know who gives what are the treasurer and bookkeeper and their lips should be sealed. (Of course deacons would probably notice if they are tasked with counting the offering and preparing the deposit.)
  15. BertMulder

    BertMulder Puritan Board Junior

    Actually, John, I believe the treasurer and bookkeeper have no business in that affair, when they are not also office bearers in the church.

    I believe only the deacons should see how much the giving is by each member. And the deacons may, and should use that information in the exercise of their office, in various ways.

    For one thing, through it they may be able to gauge if someone may need some financial help. Also, if someone is not contributing, or only contributing very little, they should investigate way. But it should never ever be used as a club.

    Deacons can only come with education in this matter. If it comes to turning into a disciplinary matter, where someone is not contributing for sinful reasons, the matter should be referred to consistory. Still, no one besides the deacons would ever know how much was being contributed.

    The angle I am approaching this from is our church's practice where the membership votes on an annual budget. Thus each member makes a vow, right then and there, to contribute. Realizing that is not a hard and fast amount, but the responsibility is joint and several. So don't go enquiring when someone is generally contributing, but falling a little short.

    And contributing, other than the pledged amount, falls entirely in the realm of Christian liberty, and is no one's business, not the elders, not the deacons. It is a matter between the believer and God Himself.
  16. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    What's 10 percent of 0?

    DOH!!! Hippo beat me to it.

    Bert: How would a deacon bring up the subject to a church member who is lagging behind on giving? That would make for a REALLY ackward conversation... "So.....I noticed that you only slipped a 10 in the plate this week....your kids still have shoes and you appear well fed....what's going on?" The deacon would need to be a REAL good communicator or this could get messy real fast.
  17. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    No, no, no and no., no, NO, No, nO and finally, no.
  18. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    How do you really feel Bill. Some of the No's were not capitalized, making your statement a bit tentative and weak.
  19. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

  20. JonathanHunt

    JonathanHunt Puritan Board Senior

    Completely agree that Elders/Pastors should have no knowledge of giving, and the people should know that they have no knowledge of it, so that they can freely minister without hindrance, without fear or favour.

    If someone isn't tithing, God will sort them out if the ministry is faithful. He sorted me out once and for all when I considered the scriptures surrounding Cain and Abel.
  21. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor


    Only the deacons should know who is giving what. And only the deacon who is acting as treasurer. (IMO that is a job for a deacon.)

    I can not honestly think of a situation that would require the deacons to discuss the specific giving levels of the members as a normal part of the job.

    In some cases, if a person was applying for an intrest free loan (yes we did that!) to pay off debt, then we would ask the treasurer if they gave regularly and consistently. He might, if in his judgment it was relevent, tell us the amount, or mention that it was inconsistent. However those loans came with manditory budget meetings with the district deacon, so he would know the circumstances of the persons giving. Since in this case he knew of all giving & spending he could recomend (or not) the loan based on his financial counselling with the people involved.
  22. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    No, just poor....financially.
  23. Robert Truelove

    Robert Truelove Puritan Board Sophomore

    As a pastor, I address the issue of tithing (every once in while) from the pulpit. I would never make someone's giving an issue of personal pastoral council with one exception...

    A candidate, potential candidate or one who already holds office (deacon or elder), would be spoken with if it appeared that over time they were failing to give at least a tithe. Ultimately, I believe a failure to tithe disqualifies a man from holding office in the church though I think great care needs to be taken to make sure a rash/incorrect judgment is not being made.
  24. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    No. You can not use tithing by itself as a barometer of faith. And I don't think you could use it with "a lot of other things". There are just to many things you'd have to know.

    However, if someone's level of giving drops, that might be grounds for concern. It would not tell you anything about his level of faith, but could indicate there is some kind of problem. The problem may be a lack of faith, or a financial problem, or a lack of commitment to that church, or simply a even a matter of being absent minded. Or it might not be a problem at all. Maybe he gave all he could for the year.

    How would you know? An elder or a brother might know if someone's given has dropped off, but unless he knows a great deal more, it would be unwise to become concerned for that reason alone. Rather, they should already know much more about the person and already be showing him Christ's love. They should already know what's going on with that person and have been pastoring him. And if so, a drop in giving might be no surprise, and any concern would be based on many other factors.

    So although a weakening of faith could cause a drop in giving, a drop in giving would not necessarily indicate a weakening of faith.
  25. Presbyterian Deacon

    Presbyterian Deacon Puritan Board Graduate


    Giving is a personal matter between the believer and God. It is no one's business how much one gives.

    I think Christ's words are applicable here:

    Now, I know, this passage is not specifically about tithing to the church, but the principle is that God sees what we give--and He is the one who really matters.

    The Pastor of a local church has an obligation to preach on giving when it is in the text of scripture, and the faithful expositor of God's Word will do that.

    Elders are given spiritual oversight of the congregation, and it is the duty of elders to inquire into the spiritual condition of their members. But there are some things which are not their concern.

    Deacons are given to the financial care of the church. Deacons are charged with "developing the grace of liberality" among the members of the congregation. And that is done by leadership and example.

  26. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    Hi Bill:

    A matter we agree in? :handshake: Amazing! :)

  27. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Wow! Brethren, America is more part of us than I realized! Where did all of this obsession with privacy come from on the PB???

    Since when is sin a "private issue"? Since when is a spiritual need an issue that deserves to be kept strictly private from everyone, including the pastor?

    Here was my rule when in the pastorate.

    1. I did not/nor did I want to know what ANYone gave. And, I never did during my decades of service.

    2. However, God charged me with responsibility of providing spiritual care for people. Part of knowing them was knowing their needs. So . ..

    a. If a giver of record quit giving, my finance person would say, "Pastor, I think you might want to see how So-in-So is doing. I've noticed some drastic changes in their giving." Sometimes people quit giving out of anger or hurt feelings, sometimes out of guilt, sometimes due to financial pressures. Often times, this encouragement would be enough for a low-key conversation to surface issues that needed to be dealt with pastorally. Even when my congregation averaged 500 or so on a Sunday, nobody ever reacted badly to having me "touch base" and check in on how they were doing.

    b. When we examined nominations for church office, I would always ask if anyone on the committee had a reason for disqualifying a person. They did not need to express what it was. But, this helped a lot. On the finance side, the potential names would be vetted by the finance person. "Are these folks all regular contributors to our ministry?" In my view, nobody should serve on the ruling board of the church who does not have a willingness to contribute.

    Suffering law students get a pass, primarily because we know that they will all become ridiculously overpaid big shots or politians.
  28. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    Pastoral visitations should be the rule of a Reformed Pastor, and not the exception. Yet, I understand the Baptist model to be quite different from the Reformed.


  29. ADKing

    ADKing Puritan Board Junior

    As the diversity of answers shows, I believe the real issue to this question is: is tithing a moral duty in the NT? Those who do not believe it is will obviously answer that the pastor should not counsel members on this issue. However, if one does believe it is a moral duty then the minister must be faithful to confront people who in ordinary circumstances can tithe and choose not to do so.

    This need not be a matter of scrupulously pouring over financial records any more than a minister needs to try really hard to find other moral infractions. But if it becomes obvious it should be addressed. A good way of doing this is periodically reminding people of their duty in home visitations.
  30. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    That is a good question; from what I remember, Gary North says it is to be given to the church, R.J. Rushdoony says to Christian causes in general. :detective:
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