Speaking of tithing

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by TexasSky, May 27, 2005.

  1. TexasSky

    TexasSky
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    Is anyone else really worried by how closely some churches track who gives what and when?

    I really took the admonision not to do things for the approval of men to heart. I freely admit, I have not always tithed as I should, but even when I tithe like I should, I tithe cash about 90% of the time, and I don't use those little envelopes. It is between me and the Lord. My daughter ALWAYS tithes, and does it the same way. No checks, no envelopes. Its between her and God.

    And it has caused church gossip in one church I attended. I just happened to walk into the right room at the wrong time and hear someone make the comment that I don't tithe. I said, "Actually I do. I just don't feel the need to deduct God off my taxes like He is a dependent."

    Also - I'm a little miffed at the people in the church who think if they write a large check they don't have to tithe their time or talents.
     
  2. Brian30755

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    I do almost always write a check, just so I CAN deduct it. I don't feel like that makes God my "dependent".....but as long as the IRS is going to willingly give me a break, I'm going to take it.

    I still agree with you, that what we give is entirely between us and God. It's just unfortunate that other people have to see what we give if we want to take a legal tax deduction.
     
  3. TexasSky

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    Brian,

    I don't fault those who do deduct their tithe, I fault those who think if it doesn't show up on an IRS form it wasn't made.
     
  4. Artimaeus

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    At my church, I am the treasurer. I count the offering and make the deposits. I am the only one who knows who gives what (in checks). I never discuss this with ANYONE. If someone gives looking for a pat on the back or influence they are sadly disappointed. I keep no record of who gives what and if you are going to depend on my memory then you are REALLY going to be disappointed.
     
  5. Deacon

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    We had a similar policy until lately when we decided that the pastor, who holds the responsibility for the health of his congregation, should also know the financial information.

    "...where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 NAS

    The treasurer reports to the pastor any sudden changes in giving, including failure to give after a season of giving, large gifts given (so the pastor can personally thank and encourage further giving), and a number of other special situations.

    "Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
    storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed."
    1 Timothy 6:18 NAS

    It seemed silly not to trust the pastor of the congregation with this information just because we think he will abuse it and unduly honor the rich.

    Rob
     
  6. Ben W

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    When I belonged to the Salvation Army church, they had a thing called "Planned Giving" where each year you made a promisary type note to the church and promised to give a sum weekly or monthy as you were paid, naturally the reccomended contributon was a tenth of your gross wage. Every quarter you recieved a note to show you where you were up to, and if you did fall behind, yes you would be sent a "reminder note" which could be taken as a bill.

    The Assemblies of God church came out in the media on this subject here in Australia and it was pointed out that they teach their congregation that they are to live by faith, and they believe that the church has to live by faith also, hence no records are kept of who gives what to the church, there is a weekly offering and people place cash, cheque or Visa stubbs into it. There is no tax credit in Australia for gifts to churches, although you can get tax recipts for gifts to different Christian missions that come under the banner of charity.

    For me, I agree with keeping no records, it is between the member of the congregation and the Lord what they give, I am not sure that it is good for the church to rely on proposed financial plans for the year, rather looking at what they do have and how best to use it.
     
  7. Soulman

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    Posted by Deacon: It seemed silly not to trust the pastor of the congregation with this information just because we think he will abuse it and unduly honor the rich.

    Many do just that Deacon. Wether it seems silly or not to trust the pastor, biblically he is not privy to that information. Giving is between you and God.
     
  8. Deacon

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    Soulman, you write,"...biblically he is not privy to that information." ????

    I'm just guessing you base this on Matthew 6:1-4?

    "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them." vs.1, NKJV

    Biblically my giving correlates closely with my spiritual health.

    Who is responsible for my spiritual health in my congregation? ....My pastor/shepherd
    Acts 20:28 1 Peter 5:1-3

    Rob
     
  9. Soulman

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    You can let whosoever you decide to let know how much you give. It is not up to the pastor or anyone else on earth to tell me I need to let them know how much or how often I give. I will give as God leads. God knows your spiritual health. Even when in the darkness of backsliding I knew my spiritual condition. You don't have to cave to peoples unbiblical demands to have spiritual health. :rolleyes:
     
  10. superdave

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    Accountability is about relationships, not about position. Your pastor has enough to worry about without needing to do financial analysis of each member and use that to determine their spiritual condition. That is a very dangerous place to go. Plus there are plenty of folks who give out of their abundance and are not sacrificing, nor are they giving of anything other than money. offerings are a poor poor method for determining someones spiritual condition.

    And I agree with some of the sentiments above. I have a real problem with those who assume that because I didn't write a check or place a big fat envelope with my name on it in the plate that I didn't give. It really is a personal spiritual issue, only the individual knows the sacrifices they are making or not making, and only they can be led by the Spirit to give. There is no magic percentage that represents a starting point or a finishing line. Paul clearly teaches sacrificial giving, not ritual tithing. As each one has purposed in his heart, so let him give.
     
  11. exscentric

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    1. Tax deductions are provided, so we as good stewards ought to take advantage. Those that don't aren't more spiritual than those who do I don't think.

    2. When counting offerings there ought to be at least two people present for the safety of the ones counting and it will stop any possible rumor of wrong doing.

    3. Keeping record used to be part of the deal so that at the end of the year the church could give a reciept to the giver for tax purposes. This not only gives reciept but it gives a very adequate check to the giver of how they have done that year with the Lord's money.

    4. Pastors need to know totals so they can judge the overall financial strength or weakness, but has no business knowing individual givers activity. Some pastors abuse that knowledge.

    5. Promisory notes: I talked to a good friend that was a Catholic. They were building a new building and took pledges. He fell on hard times and couldn't give. He recieved a bill from the church with interest added for his delinquency. They threatened him with a collection agency. He was quite open to the Gospel and finally through the ministry of another accepted the Lord [​IMG]
     
  12. TexasSky

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    Deacon,

    You wrote: Who is responsible for my spiritual health in my congregation? ....My pastor/shepherd

    That statement worries me. No human being is actually responsible for someone else's spiritual health. The Lord really is our shepherd. Yes, we uplift one another, yes, we sometimes chastise one another, but a man's spiritual health is not the responsibility of his Pastor.
     
  13. TexasSky

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    exscentric,

    There is a church here in town that will not allow anyone to join unless they write a check for $200 to the church and sign a pledge card for some "agreed to amount" after letting the elders examine their tax returns to decide if it is "the right amount." What amazes me is that it is one of the largest churches in town. (Non-denominational). I guess buying your way into a church makes it seem more like a country club, and is easier than actually doing the Lord's work in a church that only requires you serve the Lord with gladness.
     
  14. LarryN

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    As a former treasurer of a Baptist church (not the one which I currently am a member of), I'm witnessed firsthand the potential pastoral abuse of knowing how much individual attenders give to the church.

    The senior pastor (24 years tenure at that time) walked up to me prior to a Sunday evening service & asked me "How much have the 'Smiths' (not their real names) given in the offering this past month?" [He'd never before asked how much any individual had given; and in fact had specifically previously stated from the pulpit that he didn't know how much anyone in the church gave, and didn't want to know.]

    Being uncomfortable therefore with the question, I asked him why he wanted to know. He told me that they were staying in his house [This was public knowledge: the family had just moved into town, and the pastor & his wife had offered to temporarily shelter them.] and that since he wasn't charging them to stay there [more information that I needed to know], that he expected them to be tithing during their stay.

    I knew that the 'Smiths' had given little during their time at the church, but I didn't feel it was my place under the circumstances to inform the pastor of this, so I replied something to the effect that "I think that's something you should be asking the 'Smiths'."

    At that point he became angry, and demanded that I give him an amount- raising his voice and yelling at me "I'M THE PASTOR!" Regretfully, I DID provide him the approximate amount at that point, but I immediately saw his inquiry as the bullying & intimidation which it was. He didn't want to know the amount of their giving as their "spiritual shepherd", but as an angry landlord with apparently unwelcome houseguests [as it turns out they had stayed on past the agreed upon length of time for them to find their own place: which was also more than I needed to know].
     
  15. exscentric

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    TexasSky
    :(

    That church would reject us in a moment :) and that would be great with me! One look at our tax return (not that I'd let them) and they'd laugh us out of the place :)

    Larry, yes, I have heard other not so nice stories. In many cases a pastor could know and there would be no harm (not that they should know), but in some of the dictatorial type churches I think it is dangerous.

    We visited a church a number of times on Sunday morning and the pastor followed us into the parking lot twisting my arm to attend evening services, not a you are welcome invitation, but a "you need to be here" invitation. I told him we probably would in the future and he kept telling me we needed to be there.

    That kind of pushy scares me for the people!
     
  16. Soulman

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    The last church I was at was like the one Larry was treasurer at. I was an adult Sunday school teacher, bus captain and asst. director of Reformers Unanimous. About three years ago we had a teachers meeting. The pastor stated that in order to serve in any leadership position we had to tithe. I didn't think much of it as I always gave more than 10% of my income anyways. The pastor had stated from the pulpit that he didn't know how much anyone in the church gave, and didn't want to know. He also stated they only kept records for tax reasons.

    About 18 months ago I was asked to meet with the pastor after the evening service. He said he asked the treasurer if all his teachers were tithing. He replied that I had never tithed. I told him that I give. He became infuriated. I asked him why this was a problem as I always gave? He said he had no way of knowing that. I asked why he relied on records strictly used for taxes. He said it was a way to guage the financial health of the church.

    I was removed from all my positions and publically embarrassed as the reasons why I wasn't serving leaked out. The pastor said we had to establish building blocks of restoration.

    I am 48 years old. Been saved for 34 years. I explained my position on tithing and apologized for not having told him of my position earlier beleiving it didn't matter. I told him that a man was not going to tell me that I cannot serve God. I left , went elsewhere where I serve God in a variety of ways. It is a tithing church, however I explained my views on biblical giving and that was fine with the new pastor.

    Over the years I saw people with families really struggling. They would tithe and when the electric was shut off the church had a policy not to pay peoples bills. I watched people grimace as they were told that if they didn't tithe they were robbing God and would explain it to Him when they meet. I heard him ask people if they were dying would their priority be to write a tithe check?

    Tithing in the old testament was done for the feeding of the people. Folks were helped out from the tithe. It wasn't meant to hoard for a building fund, savings accounts, retirement funds, etc.

    We are to give to support our local church. We are to do it from a cheerful heart. We should never allow anyone to beat us over the heads with the unbiblical standard of tithing as practised in churches today! :(
     
  17. Alcott

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    I have heard pastors say that too, almost verbatum, and it raises red flags. It's like when a person begins a statement by saying "I hate to say this, but...." They wouldn't say it if they hated to say it, so the opposite is true. In your case-- if what you say is true-- that pastor was lying, as I usually suspect when those words are uttered. But in most cases it won't be proven.

    And this brainwashing is deplorable. People having their utilities cut off because they've been duped into believing they are "robbing God" if they don't pay their tithe instead, and the pastor and church obviously ignore what they have almost definitely tried to convince them of also; that their financial needs will always be taken care of if they tithe faithfully. But, of course, if pressed, he could become one of 'Job's friends' and tell them they must have secret sins that keep them from their "blessings." ....just in the meantime, of course, don't add any more sins by not tithing, whether your kids have to sleep in freezing rooms or not.
     
  18. Soulman

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    I know! It is insane. It used to sound so true. I had alot of friends that will have nothing to do with me anymore because I don't tithe. I am not up to their standards. My daughter was told by her long time friend that she couldn't spend the night at my house because we don't tithe.

    Hogwash I say...Hogwash!
     

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