Church Tithing: Who, What, Where, When and Why
When it comes to keeping a house of worship running, few things are as important as church tithing. You could have some of the most devoted followers in the world, but if your congregation’s financial situation isn’t solid, you’ll find it difficult to continue doing God’s work.
Of course, many people have questions about tithing at the church. These questions are often linked to the 5 W’s (i.e. who, what, where, when and why), and if you can’t offer informed responses, you may have difficulty explaining to parishioners why they should give. After reading this guide, though, you’ll have the answers to their questions.
Who is Supposed to Tithe?
Giving to the church is mentioned throughout the Bible, but it’s not only a Christian mandate. The practice of church tithing is first laid out in Genesis 14:19-20, and since this is part of the Torah, Jewish worshipers are also commanded to tithe a portion of their income. Members of the Islamic faith also tithe through what is known as Zakat.
When looking at various religions, it becomes apparent that everyone is supposed to tithe. This is beneficial to houses of worship since 98 percent of church revenue comes directly from tithes and donations. Fortunately, church tithing isn’t simply giving without reward. This is spelled out clearly in the Bible:
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10).
Even Christians who do not attend church are required to tithe. The Bible provides its directive towards the followers of God – not merely those who come to traditional services. With an increasing amount of people foregoing services throughout the week, offering digital giving tools is one of the few ways to ensure they can still tithe as instructed.
When reaching out to worshipers who don’t typically attend services, ensuring appropriate church tithing comes down to communication. Check out the DonorWerx Framework to learn how to effectively communicate with various types of givers.
What Do I Tithe?
If you’re wondering what you should tithe, you’ll find various verses throughout the Bible that say 10 percent. This is a great place to start, but it’s important to remember that this is just a baseline. This is the minimum that parishioners should be giving to the church. Most people who tithe actually give between 11 and 20 percent of their income.
The reason so many people go above and beyond with church tithing becomes obvious when reading the scripture:
“One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:24-25).
God wants his followers to be generous, and the more generosity they show, the more rewards they receive. Church leaders also occasionally have parishioners ask if they can tithe without money. After all, the Bible mentions that tithers gave “herds and flocks” (Leviticus 27:32), “the tithe of your grain” (Deuteronomy 14:22), and “the produce of the field” (2 Chronicles 31:5).
The important thing to remember is that – back when the Bible was written – these items were the income of followers. There is no alternative given to church tithing, but parishioners are encouraged to give more than just their tithe. Providing your time or ideas, for instance, is seen as generous in the eyes of God.
Where Can I Tithe?
One of the biggest questions related to church tithing is whether all of a tithe must go to the ministry. After all, isn’t donating to charities focused on homelessness or ending childhood hunger doing God’s work? Unfortunately, there is a bit of debate over this point. And as seen in Malachi, there is no definite answer provided biblically:
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Malachi 3:10).
There is disagreement over whether “storehouse” refers to the local church or giving to do God’s work in general. Among ministry leaders, though, 76 percent agree that it’s fine to spread out your church tithing. It’s okay to give part of a tithe to other organizations, but giving in addition to your normal contribution is ideal.
More Christians are giving outside the church, so it’s important to make changes that increase tithing overall. Contact the donor specialists at DonorWerx today to learn how to make this a reality.
When Do I Tithe?
Many CEO Christians (i.e. “Church and Easter Only) fail in their duty by only giving during certain parts of the year. In reality, the Bible tells us that church tithing is the first thing we should do with our money. Giving should take place before any money is spent elsewhere, as conveyed in Nehemiah:
“And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the Lord. Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God” (Nehemiah 10:35-36).
This is why devoted followers include their church tithing in their monthly budgets. Many parishioners set up automatic recurring tithes to ensure they don’t forget their biblical duty during any given month. Check out the DonorWerx digital giving software to learn how to implement recurring giving at your church.
Why Should I Tithe?
When someone asks why they should tithe, it seems simple enough to say “Because the Bible says so.” Of course, this isn’t how you engage a generous spirit. If you want people to willfully and joyously put money in the collection plate – even if it’s a virtual collection plate – think of these lessons from the Bible:
We’re Working With God
“Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:7-10).
Our church tithing isn’t based on God’s need. It’s based on doing God’s work here on earth. When we give joyfully, we are working directly with God by giving the ministry the ability to do his will.
Obedience Leads to Blessings
“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
We show our love to God by performing our biblical duties. By keeping His commandments, we are showing ourselves to be true followers. This leads to blessings. In fact, receiving blessings is one of the most consistent outcomes of tithing mentioned in the Bible.
Show God Money Doesn’t Rule Us
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
More than just doing God’s work, church tithing also shows Him that money is not our ruler. You cannot serve two gods, and therefore you cannot put money before God. Giving generously and joyously shows that nothing comes before Him in our eyes.
Keep Your Ministry Healthy via Church Tithing
Keeping your ministry financially healthy is about more than simply asking for contributions. You must be able to communicate with your congregation about the importance of a generous spirit. If you cant answer parishioners’ questions when they arise, they’re unlikely to understand how vital their donations are for continuing God’s work.
At DonorWerx, we offer more than just a variety of digital giving solutions. Our framework is focused on helping you better communicate with your congregation in a way that increases church tithing. Schedule a free Discovery Call with us today, and we’ll help you find the solutions for maintaining a financially viable ministry.