What if everybody tithed?

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by kceaster, Nov 18, 2009.

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  1. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    This post is in no way suggesting that the argument I'm about to put forward justifies God's people to not give 10%. But I am interested in what you all think would happen.

    Scenario: A church has about 100 members. Those 100 members are largely white collar professionals. Some have pretty decent incomes, some have moderate, some have modest. Let's say that these 100 members represent 25 familes. The combined income of those 25 families, breaks down like this:

    5 families > $150,000 ~ $750,000 combined
    5 families > $100,000 ~ $500,000 combined
    5 families > $85,000 ~ $425,000 combined
    5 families > $65,000 ~ $325,000 combined
    5 families < $50,000 ~ $250,000 combined

    The net of this is $2,250,000. Their combined tithe would be about $225,000. Assuming that their budget is about $125,000, they now have a yearly surplus of $100,000. They would be extremely blessed. In 10 years they could be sitting on $1,000,000.

    My question is, would this be good for the church in general, or bad? Would the oft quoted, "Religion begat prosperity and the daughter devoured the mother," become a truism among Christ's church?

    I think the biggest danger in having the resources we have in this country is that we wouldn't know what to do with more. We may begin to sit under our palm and feel good about ourselves too much. As such, God's sovereign design in the offerings of the church must be so that she has enough, but not too much.

    I know the argument might be that we could do so much more in Home and Foreign mission work. Yet God is sovereign in this. He compelled the children in the desert to give so much to the tabernacle that Moses had to tell them to stop giving. Surely He carries on the mission work of the Church by His Spirit so that whatever is needed is provided.

    Anyway, I was just curious to know what others thought about this.

    In Christ,

    KC
     
  2. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I see what you mean, but the Church in Acts didn't seem to have this issue (except for Ananias and Saphira). Ultimately, it comes down to our hearts. Money is dangerous. Thankfully what is impossible with men is possible with God.
     
  3. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    So giving too much will be bad for the church? And giving to missions is a nice idea but God will take care of that? Interesting.

    Too much for one church can be a bad thing. However, if said church is following the leadership of the Holy Spirit they will use that money to fund a lot of different ministries. Are there enough missionaries? No, there is not. Is there a need for good churches (a lament I hear here often)? Yes, there is.

    What about the poor, the orphans, etc.? I find it interesting that we hate the welfare state but when we talk about giving out of our abundance we don't consider that the church could be the agency of care to those in need if we had the funds to do it. Our values are screwed up!

    How many more seminary students could we fund? This list could go on and on. Don't get me started on how much some churches put in buildings that have nothing to do with the Gospel. First Baptist Church, Dallas is about to spend $130,000,000 in a new building program. Unbelievable.

    Tithe?! Yes! And give more!
     
  4. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    first off, I think your example is quite high. Maybe alot of it has to do with the location of the church, but I seriously doubt any families in my church make over $100,000 and most wouldn't even be at the $50,000 range.
     
  5. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I totally :agree: with Pastor Schoen!

    -----Added 11/18/2009 at 09:45:22 EST-----

    Oh, I thought the sign was just going to say "agree". Oh well.
     
  6. MMasztal

    MMasztal Puritan Board Sophomore

    This bothers me too as these places often degenerate into a cult of personality. However, if current reports are correct, the megachurch model is fading and these churches may become white elephants.
     
  7. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    That would be great...however, the money is being wasted now...and the world watches and waits and dies.
     
  8. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    If every family tithed then a church of ten families could have a full time shepherd. Pretty simple.
     
  9. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    Amen!
     
  10. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Statistical studies continue to reveal that Americans are a pretty stingy people when it comes to church contributions. Survey results show a decline from 3.3% during the Great Depression to 2.6% today.

    Other interesting stats:

    Would it be bad to have more money? NO!!! The main way that money works negatively in a church is through endowments that are disconnected from vital ministry. Endowments often lead to a hoarding mentality and a materialistic comfort zone. God's people giving generously normally correlates with a happy growing congregation that is pretty healthy. They WILL find places to invest the money in kingdom causes.

    My eldest son is one of the pastors in a church in IL that is currently VERY happy, VERY outward directed, and $40,000 ahead of budget. Frankly, I would trust them a lot more with their surplus than some of the grubbing churches I have known that were cheap and mean spirited.

    I have personally served full-time in ministries where it was my task to manage a $26,000 budget and a $14,000,000 annual budget. The size of the budget is not the critical issue. Following Scripture, keeping the "main thing the main thing," and not succumbing to covetousness or a complaining spirit is far more important. God calls us to be stewards of what he entrusts to us . . . great or small. The measure is faithfulness in the place where he sovereignly puts us.

    As a "former pastor," I frankly do not see how Christians can justify all of their toys while claiming that they cannot afford to give generously (e.g. tithe) to their local church. The shepherd is worthy of his wage and it is a shame to see how some congregations treat their pastors among the congregational/independent polity churches. It is my understanding that you Reformed brethren do much better. God bless you!
     
  11. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Yep, I'll never forget nights like the following:

    After a church board meeting where we were discussing the tightening of the budget, my salary decrease, how many hours I had to work to make ends meet, ways to decrease expenditure on the building, etc. We all retired to the home of one of the board members. When I walked into his house I was almost knocked down by the photons being emitted from a television over the fireplace in his new house. No kidding, it had to be over six feet diagonally in measurement. The high tech sound system attached to the thing was worth well over $12,000. The television screen in the door of the refrigerator was larger than the on we own. So was the HCTV LCD in the laundry room. . . (He paid cash for all of this, along with his new boat, and truck with matching paint job.)

    The discussion then began to ensue on where one could purchase one of those things, how long to get it installed; and then moved to how much dues are at the hunting camp, how much the new rifle will cost for this season, and on and on and on.

    That example might seem extreme, but I hear of similar things all the time. It truly is saddening when folks' priorities are that out of whack.

    I also know of a church that was given the mineral rights on several sections of land. That bounty of money has destroyed that congregation.
     
  12. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    How can the church ever have too much wealth when there still billions of unevangelized people in regions where there are no indigenous churches?

    Also, I agree with Lawrence that for every 11 or 12 tithing families you could have one full time pastor living on an income that is exactly average among the 11 families. This is the Levitical example. I don't think it is a good idea for one pastor to attempt to shepherd 100 families.
     
  13. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    If every Christian tithed, we would rent out our buildings on Saturdays to the 7th Day Adventists, and NOT vice versa.

    Cheers,
     
  14. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    Ivan...

    Pastor Ivan,

    I wasn't suggesting that we not give however we can to home and foreign missions. But God is sovereign. We have to maintain that whatever mission work is going on in the world is by His design and not our own. I've heard it said, "What God orders, He pays for." That doesn't mean that money just materializes out of nowhere. There is human agency involved. But to say that there are not enough missionaries is only from our human perspective. God is not without power to raise up a hundred a day, right? We need to do what we should when we should do it and let the Spirit lead men in the way they should give.

    I agree with you also that there is a great need to expand the diaconate so that welfare among Christians is a thing of the past. We rely too heavily on the government for things we should be providing, both spiritually and materially.

    I also like your comment about seminary education. For too long, it is left up to the man to invest in his own future as a minister of the gospel. I'm not saying he shouldn't have any responsibility towards this. But wouldn't it be great if every future minister were invested in highly towards the ministry?

    But my main crux is to ask whether or not vast resources would not produce too much of the "kingdom" building we see in those megachurches? Members are paying for that! Yes, it is through their obedience to God that it is being done. But there is also fiscal responsibility that needs to be reigned in where these vast resources are being abused.

    In Christ,

    KC
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  15. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    I suppose if we thought more about dominion, and less about toys, we might be better off.

    Cheers,

    Adam
     
  16. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    I know that is especially true in the OPC. I was trying to make it simple. I'm not a mathematician or an accountant.

    In Christ,

    KC

    -----Added 11/18/2009 at 11:54:09 EST-----

    Do you think that the man whose things these belonged to just gave 10% or do you think more or less? And was he retired? I think the tithe is legalistic in so many ways even by the people who faithfully do it. Some will not give more even if they have great abundance. Then you have a family of 5 just barely scraping by to give their 10%.

    It seems like we want to make 10% so much the target that, even though it is equal for all, it isn't really equal for all given their situation.

    I've also wondered at times whether or not everyone could tithe in the OT. What would slaves give? If they were indentured servants, could they tithe of their increase? They had nothing of their own. Many in our day are slaves to their debtors and I personally think they fall into the same category.

    In Christ,

    KC
     
  17. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    Pastor Ken...

    Perhaps this is a bit off topic, but how can we look at it this way. I know we should always believe that we have not done enough. And we should strive to do all that we can. But as Paul says,

    I believe what he means by this is that great wealth or prosperity has not been given to the Church largely because they are too prone to boast in themselves. The world is the Lord's, the battle belongs to the Lord, we are just His footsoldiers. He provides, not us, right?

    So by saying that there is not enough done in the world for Christ ultimately states that God's arm is too short to save. If only we had more resources, we could turn this world around. I believe that is already heading in the wrong direction. After all, Jesus didn't say that we should pray to the Lord of the harvest to help us provide more laborers to send into the world. He told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would Himself send more laborers into His harvest.

    In Christ,

    KC
     
  18. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I know missionaries who have taken over 3 years to raise enough support to go serve in some difficult areas.

    -----Added 11/18/2009 at 12:25:25 EST-----

    This is a false dichotomy to say folks are not trusting in God when they have a firm and biblical theology of secondary causes. This is like saying that one must negate human responsibility if one is to believe in divine sovereingty.

    The one who trusts most also does most.

    Laziness or lack of sacrifice in the name of "is the Lord's arm to short to save" is irresponsible.


    I suppose, to be REALLY faithful all church goers ought to stop paying their preachers in order to glorify God by showing how dedicated these men are to starve and preach.



    If only we had more of a WILL to use our resources....THAT would turn the world upside down.
     
  19. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I did not say there was not enough. I am saying that, for every extra dollar given to the church there is a use for it.
     
  20. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    It doesn't take away anyone's responsibility to give. But saying that we could do so much more if members would do what they are supposed to do is stepping between God's plan and how we carry it out. It goes back to what the children were able to do in the desert. If God wants a tabernacle, He works through His people to change their hearts and give generously.

    And while everyone should be encouraged to give generously, making statements about what we could do if everyone would give more is not completely accurate. We have no idea what God would do if we had more resources. They could be gone in an instant just as the wealth of Israel was plundered because of their disobedience.

    But on the flip side, industry and zeal does not guarantee success.

    May it never be! That isn't part of the argument at all.

    I'm sure you don't mean that. Our wills will never turn the world upside down unless and until they are changed by the Holy Spirit whose work this is.

    In Christ,

    KC
     
  21. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

     
  22. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    He probably did give 10% of his net income. That is not the point. The point is this: American Christians have become enslaved to excess. Our closets are jammed, we have to have every new electronic trinket that is produced, heaven forbid that our car is over five years of age. We live in houses that are large enough to raise a family of eight to ten and yet only have two children. All the while being strapped to that ridiculous mortgage.

    Here was a man who conservatively spent over 50,000 dollars on items strictly for his amusement. (That is not counting the boat and truck.) All of this while bemoaning the fact that the church's budget was slipping and is such a way that it was seriously hampering any sort of effective ministry. I am convinced that there is so much money being spent on temporal pleasures in our churches that there will be quite a few blazes of wood, hay, and stubble one day.
     
  23. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    As per your example, I don't think a church should ever have (even after 10 years) 1,000,000 to sit on.
    Should not the church give as well?
     
  24. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    Amen!

    -----Added 11/18/2009 at 01:57:52 EST-----

    Yes, absolutely.
     
  25. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    But you say he probably gave 10%. He was meeting what some say are his obligations. But I say that if he loved God's Church as a Christian will, and had not been taught that 10% was what was required, he would give more.

    Having been taught that, perhaps his thinking is that by giving more he'd be depriving others of the blessing they receive by giving, or that it is God's will that the Church, and the Pastor by extension, endure some straitening; after all, he's meeting the required percentage.
     
  26. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Y'all are missing the POINT. My point is not tithing. It is foolish stewardship. If you want to talk about obligations then take a close look at what the mandate was in the OT it is closer to 35% than it is to 10%. Someone who tithe to merely do his duty is not giving Biblically. Jesus chastised the Scribe and Pharisees for their meticulous tithing.
     
  27. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    It's interesting how we can justify keeping our money when we speak of the sovereignity of God. God uses us to bring the Gospel to others, whether next door or on the other side of the world. That's how He does it.

    So keep your money, that's your choice.
     
  28. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Oh, I agree with you wholeheartedly, Pastor. But I was making a different point. Some folks advocate teaching tithing as a requirement. If that's what this guy has learned, then he's meeting the requirement, and I have heard wealthy people say exactly what I posited, that if they gave more, then the other folks would not see the need to give their tithe and thus miss out on a blessing. Its twisted, I know, but I think its what comes of teaching a law of compulsion rather than the law of love.
     
  29. Webservant

    Webservant Puritan Board Sophomore

    Governments would be overthrown. The entire social order would be different. It would be awesome. Of course, there would also be a lot more Bentley-driving, monogrammed cuff-wearing charlatans.
     
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