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If you go to a church that teaches tithing...


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... and there was NO WAY you could give 10% of your income WWYD?

 

I feel guilty. I don't personally even believe in a strict interpretation of the tithing teaching, however the congregation in question does support a traditional understanding of the tithe.

 

Now I feel bad because I can't give very much without putting us in the red and harming my family. But, I also don't like feeling like a "taker."

 

I've thought about not going as much so my kids and I don't take too much of the church's time or resources. Yes, I know how twisted and lame that thinking is! But, it's where my mind is at right now.

 

SO, um, assuming that - unlike me - you are reasonably sane when it comes to church issues, WWYD?

 

(why does church have to be so hard? :( )

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Give what you can with a cheerful heart. That's what God asks for. Church law is not always God's law.

I dont give a 10% tithe because we are clawing our way out of debt. God knows this, but those at church do no need to know. Our intent is to pay tithe when we do not owe.

Does this church track what your give? Give cash.

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We have paid tithing when it made no financial sense. At times like that, we have been blessed in other unexpected ways. Our church teaches that tithing is a commandment. In fact, one of the first requirements given to those who are requesting aide from the church is that they pay tithing of money and time.

 

ETA: I would also say not to stop attending if you don't pay tithing. I would ask about possible financial assistance if needed.

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Just give what you can right now and set a goal of tithing. Definitely DON'T stop attending regularly.:grouphug:

:iagree:

 

this. exactly this. Going to church should be about worship. I don't mean to be crass, but you shouldn't have to buy your way in. I firmly believe you give what you can with a cheerful heart. Sometimes that may be 10%. Sometimes it may be more than 10%. And sometimes, it's less.

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If this is a what would *I* do question, I would pay a full 10% tithe, and then I would go discuss our financial situation with our bishop, who would be able to assist us with paying our family's living expenses from a "fast offering fund" that's set aside by the church for just such circumstances. I've contributed enough to the fund over the years that I would not feel at all guilty about using some of it myself. I might also meet with the ward employment specialist to see what kind of training or assistance my husband or I might be able to get to help improve our income situation. And I'd pray a lot. And probably cry a little. What a stressful situation to find yourself in!

 

If this is a what should *you* do question...I'm afraid I don't feel in a position to offer advice, since I suspect you don't have the same fall-back resources, and I probably don't understand the cultural expectations of your faith community. So I'll just offer :grouphug:, and hope you are able to find a good solution for your family and faith.

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God knows your income and the state of your heart.

 

Don't stop going to church. Don't stop taking part in activities. Tithing is not an admission fee to church!

 

Does your church leadership have access to your financial information? I assume not. It's none of their business.

 

Church should not be so hard! Maybe you need a different church. Of course there is no perfect church but this seems a little over the top to me.

 

BTW I do believe in tithing. I don't believe in churches that lay financial guilt on people!

 

:grouphug:

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If this is a what would *I* do question, I would pay a full 10% tithe, and then I would go discuss our financial situation with our bishop, who would be able to assist us with paying our family's living expenses from a "fast offering fund" that's set aside by the church for just such circumstances. I've contributed enough to the fund over the years that I would not feel at all guilty about using some of it myself. I might also meet with the ward employment specialist to see what kind of training or assistance my husband or I might be able to get to help improve our income situation. And I'd pray a lot. And probably cry a little. What a stressful situation to find yourself in!

 

If this is a what should *you* do question...I'm afraid I don't feel in a position to offer advice, since I suspect you don't have the same fall-back resources, and I probably don't understand the cultural expectations of your faith community. So I'll just offer :grouphug:, and hope you are able to find a good solution for your family and faith.

 

:iagree:

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If this is a what would *I* do question, I would pay a full 10% tithe, and then I would go discuss our financial situation with our bishop, who would be able to assist us with paying our family's living expenses from a "fast offering fund" that's set aside by the church for just such circumstances. I've contributed enough to the fund over the years that I would not feel at all guilty about using some of it myself. I might also meet with the ward employment specialist to see what kind of training or assistance my husband or I might be able to get to help improve our income situation. And I'd pray a lot. And probably cry a little. What a stressful situation to find yourself in!

 

If this is a what should *you* do question...I'm afraid I don't feel in a position to offer advice, since I suspect you don't have the same fall-back resources, and I probably don't understand the cultural expectations of your faith community. So I'll just offer :grouphug:, and hope you are able to find a good solution for your family and faith.

 

:iagree:

 

Our church doesn't require that you pay tithes in order to receive assistance nor does it keep track of the tithes that members give except for tax purposes. In fact, we give only cash in unmarked envelopes because my DH doesn't believe in using our tithes to get a tax deduction, so there isn't anyway for our church to know what we give although they do teach that tithing is a commandment.

 

We've been in really really hard financial times and for us, we've found that when we chose not to tithe, things didn't work out and when we did tithe in spite of our circumstances, we were blessed in many ways. That's just us though.

 

Honestly, I think you and your DH should pray about it and see what God tells you. :)

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... and there was NO WAY you could give 10% of your income WWYD?

 

I feel guilty. I don't personally even believe in a strict interpretation of the tithing teaching, however the congregation in question does support a traditional understanding of the tithe.

 

Now I feel bad because I can't give very much without putting us in the red and harming my family. But, I also don't like feeling like a "taker."

 

I've thought about not going as much so my kids and I don't take too much of the church's time or resources. Yes, I know how twisted and lame that thinking is! But, it's where my mind is at right now.

 

SO, um, assuming that - unlike me - you are reasonably sane when it comes to church issues, WWYD?

 

(why does church have to be so hard? :( )

 

 

For me tithing is a measure of my faith. We've tithed for close to 20 years. Seldom is those 20 years did it "make sense" to tithe. Our bills are consistently more than our income. However, we always tithe first before we even consider how to pay the bills. We simply trust God to provide what we in our humanness cannot. And it has ALWAYS worked out. Never the way we think it will but yet in the end it is fine. But it is in HIS timing not mine.

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We used to follow a strict interpretation of tithing, and God always saw us through many hard financial times.

 

That said, I don't think it's a commandment the way some churches teach it. What is it that makes tithing more important than other OT laws that we still must follow tithing to the letter today (but not the others)? Even in the OT, I believe they took every 7th year off from the tithe.

 

The NT tells us to give cheerfully, and technically we are free from the law. Actually, as NT believers everything we have should belong to the Lord, not just the first 10%. On that note, we should be ready to give according to the conviction of our hearts, whether that means 1%, 10%, 90%, etc. The amount might be different for different seasons in our lives.

 

Guilt is not from God, so bathe yourself in prayer and give cheerfully :001_smile:

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I don't personally even believe in a strict interpretation of the tithing teaching, however the congregation in question does support a traditional understanding of the tithe.

 

 

Are they insistent on this issue, or has it just been mentioned that the church membership believes in the 10% "rule?" For me, I would not want to attend a church that espoused values inconsistent with my own and would look elsewhere. But I'm not sure from your post how much inconsistency there is. Are you feeling guilty due to real external pressure (sermons, etc.) or because of some internal conflict.

 

God tells us to test Him and see, that He will fill our storehouses. But, He also asks us to be a cheerful giver. We should give from the heart, not from a sense of obligation. So I guess my issue would be whether the church encourages giving or seeks to obligate it through guilt.

Edited by MomatHWTK
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1. God wants a cheerful giver - so give what you can with a cheerful heart and then go from there.

2. If this church has different beliefs than yours, is this the right church for you?

3. The 10% rule was created at a time when the church took care of orphans, widows, etc... which the church does not do anymore (yes they help, but they are not solely(sp) responsible, the government does more), and for that reason I also focus on giving to other arenas.

4. Also, giving of time is another consideration - if you feel you cannot give 10% of your income, can you give some of your income and some of your time? I know in some churches (especially small ones) the giving of time is of equal importance.

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I believe in tithing. I believe the church should teach on tithing. I do NOT believe that the church members' tithes should be judged by anyone but God. In fact, if there is anyone in the church keeping accounts and holding people accountable for tithes, I'd run far far far away and find another church.

 

 

Go to church. Don't feel guilty about taking part in whatever classes and activities minister to your family. Give what and where and when you can. It may be that you can give more of your time, if you are feeling led to give more. Pray for opportunities to be a blessing.

 

 

Jesus never told anyone that they couldn't come to him b/c they didn't give enough $. He did show righteous anger when worship was overshadowed by the love of money (overturning the money changing tables). Go and worship. Give as you feel led.

 

 

ETA: Most churches have benevolence funds and a system in place to help people in hard financial times. Do not be ashamed to ask for help if you need it. I know in our church, it's a fairly private thing. There are only about 3 people who know who gets what...and it's always very confidential and gracious. (We have a relationship with the gas/electric/water companies in the area - we help a lot by paying those types of bills. I know our church benevolence functions similar to others...so I'd ask if it's a need...and when things are tight enough that 10% tithe is not possible it only takes one.little.setback to put you in a real bind.)

Edited by 3blessingmom
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My church teaches cheerful giving. Our pastor became a certified financial advisor to help families with their finances, if they need it. He says if a family is in heavy debt, get out of it, even if it means no giving at that time. When out from under heavy debt, then give what you can. The amount is between them and God.

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The idea of 10% tithes comes from the old testament. The jews were required to give back 10% of EVERYTHING, including harvests, herbs, animals, and so on. It was not just 10% of money.

 

That being said, I believe that when Christ died on the cross, the old laws died with him and that we live now under the new covenant. In the new convenant, God is much more concerned with our attitudes, our heart than he is in a precision following of dictates. He commands in the new testament to be a cheerful giver, and to set aside as we are prospered. When we have unexpected expenses, we just make sure we donate more of our time, or other resources to the church instead.

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If this is a what would *I* do question, I would pay a full 10% tithe, and then I would go discuss our financial situation with our bishop, who would be able to assist us with paying our family's living expenses from a "fast offering fund" that's set aside by the church for just such circumstances.

 

This kind of confuses me. You make a donation to the church and then go to the church to ask them to help pay for things that you can't manage right now because you've made a donation to the church? Aren't you just basically getting back the money you've just tithed?

 

Is it to reinforce the tithing practice?

 

Sincerely,

The lady looking at this strictly from a financial/math perspective

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Are they insistent on this issue, or has it just been mentioned that the church membership believes in the 10% "rule." For me, I would not want to attend a church that espoused values inconsistent with my own and would look elsewhere. But I'm not sure from your post how much inconsistency there is. Are you feeling guilty due to real external pressure (sermons, etc.) or because of some internal conflict.

 

 

They haven't made a huge deal out of it, but it has been mentioned to the congregation. I doubt I'll ever find a church that fits me, so I go with "nice people, mainstream doctrine and - most important - my kids like it."

 

Last spring we switched from a very large church (1,200/weekend) where I felt like my money was neither needed nor missed. Giving was more about what was going on in my heart between me and God. But, the current church is small and so I feel more of an obligation to try to support it because there aren't a lot of extra people to take up the slack, kwim? So now there's this internal pressure and I haven't decided how to proceed. :tongue_smilie:

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(why does church have to be so hard? :( )

 

It doesn't. And it shouldn't. Find another church.

 

(That probably doesn't help, sorry. But that was my first reaction.)

 

I've never gone to a church that was "in your face" about how much to give. I imagine a church that does this would find it hard to attract unbelievers or new Christians.

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The idea of 10% tithes comes from the old testament. The jews were required to give back 10% of EVERYTHING, including harvests, herbs, animals, and so on. It was not just 10% of money.

 

That being said, I believe that when Christ died on the cross, the old laws died with him and that we live now under the new covenant. In the new convenant, God is much more concerned with our attitudes, our heart than he is in a precision following of dictates. He commands in the new testament to be a cheerful giver, and to set aside as we are prospered. When we have unexpected expenses, we just make sure we donate more of our time, or other resources to the church instead.

 

This is how I read it also. It seems that most of the churches around me don't agree though.

 

This kind of confuses me. You make a donation to the church and then go to the church to ask them to help pay for things that you can't manage right now because you've made a donation to the church? Aren't you just basically getting back the money you've just tithed?

 

Is it to reinforce the tithing practice?

 

Sincerely,

The lady looking at this strictly from a financial/math perspective

 

I was wondering about that, too.

-------------

My random thoughts as I'm doped up on cold medicine. We are in the same situation. It really bothers me how much finances are focused on at church. If we are to give cheerfully, as the Bible says, continuing to lay guilt on people week after week doesn't seem to be very Biblical. And if people are expected to give and trust in the Lord, perhaps the church should trust in the Lord also and stop the guilt trip. We are no longer writing checks or using envelopes either. We give as we are able, cheerfully and privately.

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In the OT, the Levites weren't given any land. One of the main purposes of the tithe was to support them. Since we don't have a tribe of Levites to support, tithing is no longer needed or required. Instead, we are to give cheerfully to those in need.

 

Giving doesn't necessarily have to be done through the church. Jesus said whatever you do "to the least of these," such as food, clothes, or water, you do for him. We know of one house church where the members set aside whatever they want to give. When they hear of a need, in or outside of their church, families can decide if they want to give or not. Since the church has few expenses, the money isn't run through the church.

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If this is a what would *I* do question, I would pay a full 10% tithe, and then I would go discuss our financial situation with our bishop, who would be able to assist us with paying our family's living expenses from a "fast offering fund" that's set aside by the church for just such circumstances. I've contributed enough to the fund over the years that I would not feel at all guilty about using some of it myself. I might also meet with the ward employment specialist to see what kind of training or assistance my husband or I might be able to get to help improve our income situation. And I'd pray a lot. And probably cry a little. What a stressful situation to find yourself in!

 

If this is a what should *you* do question...I'm afraid I don't feel in a position to offer advice, since I suspect you don't have the same fall-back resources, and I probably don't understand the cultural expectations of your faith community. So I'll just offer :grouphug:, and hope you are able to find a good solution for your family and faith.

 

:iagree: I have seen miracles happen in my life when I've paid my full tithing and literally not known where the next dime to pay my bills would come from. Paying my tithing has ALWAYS brought blessings into my life. Some that were so extraordinary that they bring me to tears thinking about them even today.

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This kind of confuses me. You make a donation to the church and then go to the church to ask them to help pay for things that you can't manage right now because you've made a donation to the church? Aren't you just basically getting back the money you've just tithed?

 

Is it to reinforce the tithing practice?

 

Sincerely,

The lady looking at this strictly from a financial/math perspective

 

Although tithing is paid with money, for me tithing isn't ABOUT money as much as it is about faith. If I pay my tithing, I feel that I have expressed my faith in God. If I don't pay my tithing because I can't see how I can make ends meet if I do, then I feel like I am placing my faith, such as it is, in myself instead of in God. I feel that for me, it would be an expression of doubt toward God not to pay my tithing--saying I have to keep the money because I doubt His ability to provide for me, and I know better than He what the money is needed for. If, on the other hand, I go ahead and pay my tithing, I feel that I have maintained my integrity and loyalty to God. And I know that God has set up, through His church, a way to provide for my needs when my own resources fall short--kind of a tangible form of grace. By giving my donation to the church, and then humbling myself to receive needed assistance from the church, I would be expressing my confidence in God's providence, and then receiving said providence from God. By just keeping the money myself, I would be expressing doubt in God's providence, and arrogantly declaring that I know better than God what to do with the resources He has provided for me. So even if it came out the same mathematically, there would be different things going on character-wise for me, internally.

 

Of course, there's a strong possibility that if I were in those straits, the money I received back from the church would be greater than the amount I was able to pay in as tithing, which even makes sense from a mathematical standpoint.

 

And if you want to get really technical, from a practical standpoint the money I pay as tithing actually goes into a different fund than the money I would be receiving comes from. I would be receiving money through the fast offering fund, which comes from a different kind of donation. Each month members of our church worldwide fast two meals and donate the money they would have used for food (or whatever other generous amount they would like to donate). The money from those donations is specifically set aside to meet the needs of church members in the local congregation. If there is extra, it goes into a fund at a higher jurisdictional level to be used to help those in need in a slightly larger geographic area. And so forth. But it is ONLY to be used for that purpose, not to pay other church expenses--which are covered with tithing.

 

But mathematically speaking, I think money goes a little further for us than for some churches, since the local church leadership and staff are unpaid volunteers, which cuts down on some of the overhead.

 

Does that answer your question at all?

 

ETA: I think I should also say that although this is how I would feel if *I* did not pay my tithing, I don't generalize that and judge other people according to this standard. I figure that's between each individual and God, and not for me to judge. This is just how it shakes out for *me*.

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Last spring we switched from a very large church (1,200/weekend) where I felt like my money was neither needed nor missed. Giving was more about what was going on in my heart between me and God. But, the current church is small and so I feel more of an obligation to try to support it because there aren't a lot of extra people to take up the slack, kwim? So now there's this internal pressure and I haven't decided how to proceed. :tongue_smilie:

 

My personal feeling (and I know it's not particularly popular here,) is that I would not make my own family go without what they need in order to donate money to a church.

 

I do not believe that tithing is a "commandment."

 

I don't think it's worth giving up your own family's financial security in order to give a designated percentage of your income to the church (or to anyone else, for that matter.) If you can contribute, give what you feel able to comfortably afford. If you can't, I think you should attend church anyway, and give whenever you can, even if it's just a dollar or two.

 

I realize that many people here will think I'm a horrible person for telling you that I don't think you should feel obligated to pay an "admission charge" at church, but my beliefs are just that -- mine. I know that many other people believe differently, and I think everyone should do whatever feels right to them. I'm not saying that people shouldn't give what they can; I'm just saying that if you can't contribute a certain amount, I don't think it makes you any less worthy of attending church than if you gave more.

 

One idea, though -- if you want to support the church but don't feel you can afford to contribute much (or any) money, can you or your dh volunteer to help out with some sort of projects that need to be done at the church, or help organize a fundraiser? There are many ways to support a church that don't involve money.

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Does that answer your question at all?

 

ETA: I think I should also say that although this is how I would feel if *I* did not pay my tithing, I don't generalize that and judge other people according to this standard. I figure that's between each individual and God, and not for me to judge. This is just how it shakes out for *me*.

 

Yes, it answered my question. I appreciate that you answered it kindly. Hopefully you didn't think I was asking rudely - that wasn't intention. I really was just looking at it from a strictly mathematical POV.

 

As for your ETA, I've always found your comments on the board here to be polite and well thought-out. I enjoy reading them even though we don't share the same beliefs. I don't find them to be judgmental or rude.

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Yes, it answered my question. I appreciate that you answered it kindly. Hopefully you didn't think I was asking rudely - that wasn't intention. I really was just looking at it from a strictly mathematical POV.

 

As for your ETA, I've always found your comments on the board here to be polite and well thought-out. I enjoy reading them even though we don't share the same beliefs. I don't find them to be judgmental or rude.

 

No, I didn't think you were being at all rude. From a strictly mathematical point of view I can definitely see how it would look a little strange. I think it was a perfectly legitimate question.

 

And I appreciate your very kind compliment. :)

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Give what you can.

 

Not all gifts are monetary. You have talents and/or time and even if THESE are also in too short supply, please just don't worry about it.

 

Please don't stop attending. Even if the church asks for tithing, the fact is that most of what you are "taking" is freely offered out of love for Christ. Yes, they have to pay the rent. But the rent is the same whether or not you attend. Please just go. Offer your concern up to God.

 

And dig some weeds or vacuum a classroom sometime, as an offering of love.

 

((hugs))

 

I agree with Patty Joanna. We're not able to give a full tithe right now, but we do give in other ways. You know that figure about 20% of the people doing 80% of the work at church? We're in that 20% (so not bragging* -- just stating a fact); as we move forward, hopefully our financial giving will increase, too.

*Truth be told, I've been known to grump about that "lazy" 80%!! Lord have mercy. This post was good for me, thank you. I shouldn't grump about them any more than I'd want them grumping about our giving. God knows.

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Do not worry what percentage you can give. Just donate what you can give.

Do not worry about taking resources and "time" from the church. This is what a church is for. God knows your circumstances and he does not need your money specifically to make this church flourish. If, on the other hand, you could easily tithe 10%, then do it if you feel convicted to but only then.

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for me, tithing is an act of faith in keeping a commandment of God. the hardest thing God will ever ask us to do is step off that (figuritive) precipice to cross a bottomless chasm. but it's about developing faith, and if it was easy, we wouldn't need faith.

 

we had months where 10% was literally measured in cents, so I really do understand. i belong to a church that will help provide/cover those basic needs so tithing can be paid in full, but you won't go without food either. I know that's kind of simplistic, but it's late and I'm tired.

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I would start tithing when the church leadership starts obeying the rest of the Old Testament. It has always (and I mean from a very young age--12 or 13, maybe) bothered me that this is the one element from the Old Testament that many Protestant churches tout like it's the Gospel (literally).

 

Terri

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I would start tithing when the church leadership starts obeying the rest of the Old Testament. It has always (and I mean from a very young age--12 or 13, maybe) bothered me that this is the one element from the Old Testament that many Protestant churches tout like it's the Gospel (literally).

 

Terri

 

EXACTLY.

 

How very interesting that the one thing from the OT that churches like to take out of context and follow has to do with collecting funds for the church...hmmm interesting.....;)!

 

Let the Holy Spirit be your guide on everything in life, including how much to tithe. Go to church for the fellowship only :D.

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Those of you who tithe and say that your church will help you financially if you need it, would you still feel comfortable doing so if your church had no such program to help those in need? Perhaps that is my disconnect here? Our church has nothing to support parishioners in need. We have the weekly offering which goes to operating expenses, the building fund which goes to the new sanctuary they built, and monthly charity Sunday where they pick a community charity to collect for. Occasionally, they will ask for donations to help the Hispanic congregation. But, there is nothing in place to help the English-speaking congregation. We have wondered if we didn't wander into the wrong economic bracket when we chose a church.

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I would start tithing when the church leadership starts obeying the rest of the Old Testament. It has always (and I mean from a very young age--12 or 13, maybe) bothered me that this is the one element from the Old Testament that many Protestant churches tout like it's the Gospel (literally).

 

Terri

 

My personal feeling (and I know it's not particularly popular here,) is that I would not make my own family go without what they need in order to donate money to a church.

 

I do not believe that tithing is a "commandment."

 

I don't think it's worth giving up your own family's financial security in order to give a designated percentage of your income to the church (or to anyone else, for that matter.) If you can contribute, give what you feel able to comfortably afford. If you can't, I think you should attend church anyway, and give whenever you can, even if it's just a dollar or two.

 

I realize that many people here will think I'm a horrible person for telling you that I don't think you should feel obligated to pay an "admission charge" at church, but my beliefs are just that -- mine. I know that many other people believe differently, and I think everyone should do whatever feels right to them. I'm not saying that people shouldn't give what they can; I'm just saying that if you can't contribute a certain amount, I don't think it makes you any less worthy of attending church than if you gave more.

 

One idea, though -- if you want to support the church but don't feel you can afford to contribute much (or any) money, can you or your dh volunteer to help out with some sort of projects that need to be done at the church, or help organize a fundraiser? There are many ways to support a church that don't involve money.

 

EXACTLY.

 

How very interesting that the one thing from the OT that churches like to take out of context and follow has to do with collecting funds for the church...hmmm interesting.....;)!

 

Let the Holy Spirit be your guide on everything in life, including how much to tithe. Go to church for the fellowship only :D.

 

 

:iagree: Cat, I'll stand beside you and take the unpopular opinion (if it really is unpopular). And, I don't think you are a horrible person. :001_smile: I also don't think those who believe in tithing are horrible people either. :001_smile:

 

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We had a pastor once who preached about tithing often. In fact, his first sermon after becoming the pastor was on Malachi 3:8-10, and he made it a point to emphasize the part that says you are cursed with a curse because you robbed God. This was in a church that was doing very well financially, BTW. It's interesting that he takes his family of six on vacations to Disney World and other places quite often, drives new vehicles and lives in an very affluent neighborhood. We no longer attend that church for many reasons, but we did have a problem with giving our hard earned money (our 5 kids never went to Disney because we couldn't afford it) to support this man's lifestyle.

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... and there was NO WAY you could give 10% of your income WWYD?

 

I feel guilty. I don't personally even believe in a strict interpretation of the tithing teaching, however the congregation in question does support a traditional understanding of the tithe.

 

Now I feel bad because I can't give very much without putting us in the red and harming my family. But, I also don't like feeling like a "taker."

 

I've thought about not going as much so my kids and I don't take too much of the church's time or resources. Yes, I know how twisted and lame that thinking is! But, it's where my mind is at right now.

 

SO, um, assuming that - unlike me - you are reasonably sane when it comes to church issues, WWYD?

 

(why does church have to be so hard? :( )

 

We tithe as a personal decision. I would never attend a church though that made me feel guilty about tithing or made it seem like a requirement. I also wouldn’t want to be at a church where people had any idea of who tithed and who didn’t.

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They haven't made a huge deal out of it, but it has been mentioned to the congregation. I doubt I'll ever find a church that fits me, so I go with "nice people, mainstream doctrine and - most important - my kids like it."

 

Last spring we switched from a very large church (1,200/weekend) where I felt like my money was neither needed nor missed. Giving was more about what was going on in my heart between me and God. But, the current church is small and so I feel more of an obligation to try to support it because there aren't a lot of extra people to take up the slack, kwim? So now there's this internal pressure and I haven't decided how to proceed. :tongue_smilie:

 

At times we have tithed, at time we have not tithed. I've felt it was right at the time for both decisions, but my beliefs follow more of Cat's at this time.

 

As long as the church didn't pressure me to give and tithing wasn't a constant message, I'd continue to attend. The pastor, ideally, shouldn't know the giving habits of any individual member. I would expect the certain emphasis during giving or pledge season, but not as a general overall atmosphere.

 

My personal feeling (and I know it's not particularly popular here,) is that I would not make my own family go without what they need in order to donate money to a church.

 

I do not believe that tithing is a "commandment."

 

I don't think it's worth giving up your own family's financial security in order to give a designated percentage of your income to the church (or to anyone else, for that matter.) If you can contribute, give what you feel able to comfortably afford. If you can't, I think you should attend church anyway, and give whenever you can, even if it's just a dollar or two.

 

I realize that many people here will think I'm a horrible person for telling you that I don't think you should feel obligated to pay an "admission charge" at church, but my beliefs are just that -- mine. I know that many other people believe differently, and I think everyone should do whatever feels right to them. I'm not saying that people shouldn't give what they can; I'm just saying that if you can't contribute a certain amount, I don't think it makes you any less worthy of attending church than if you gave more.

 

One idea, though -- if you want to support the church but don't feel you can afford to contribute much (or any) money, can you or your dh volunteer to help out with some sort of projects that need to be done at the church, or help organize a fundraiser? There are many ways to support a church that don't involve money.

 

:iagree:

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Our former church taught tithing BUT made it clear NOT to give if doing so would take food off your table. If you are already below the poverty line even giving $5 per week is impossible. THat said our former church did not have the resources available to help much, it didn't even have a food pantry. I could not tkae the little I had for food to feed my family to tithe at church, I had to put the kids needs first. Out here that is even more so the case, where there is very few resources at all in the community let alone in the church. In my town the churches have congregations of less than 10 people. they don't get the kind of donations in to actually help anyone, and the town itself has very little help available.

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As a pastor in my former life (who went to seminary and everything :001_smile:) I don't really believe in tithing. To be a true Christ follower, we must give everything to God and truly understand that God gave us everything. Ten percent is getting off easy; God doesn't ask for ten percent of our money he asks for all that we have, all that we are to do His work and His will.

 

Modern tithing, IMO, is more about church survival and less about faithfulness. Because I don't see churches preaching radical giving. We had a friend in our Christian community give us, out of their faithfulness, the money to get out of foreclosure. Does that money count? Does that great act of trust and faithfulness count as tithing in their church's eyes? No, because it wasn't given to the church but I can tell you it came solely out of their desire to walk Christ's path. Or what about the fact that we seek to reach out to a woman in our community who is troubled and addicted to drugs? Is that tithing? Does it "count" for the church?

 

Don't get me wrong, I believe in giving money to my church and I do, but that is only a portion of what I give and how I give. God's call encompasses my whole life, not just my church life. So I let God direct me as to how to give.

 

So all this rambling is to say that I think you can let go of that need to give 10% strictly to the church. Now I recognize that this opinion might not be popular and I am not putting down anyone else's opinion - just wanting to share my $.02.

 

Tithing doesn't ask enough of us, I believe (and asks too much of others).

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Those of you who tithe and say that your church will help you financially if you need it, would you still feel comfortable doing so if your church had no such program to help those in need? Perhaps that is my disconnect here? Our church has nothing to support parishioners in need. We have the weekly offering which goes to operating expenses, the building fund which goes to the new sanctuary they built, and monthly charity Sunday where they pick a community charity to collect for. Occasionally, they will ask for donations to help the Hispanic congregation. But, there is nothing in place to help the English-speaking congregation. We have wondered if we didn't wander into the wrong economic bracket when we chose a church.

 

I do tithe and my church has helped me financially. I have a hard time answering your question though because I can't imagine a church that does not have some sort of diaconal fund to help people in need - within and outside of the congregation. Some churches may have more than others, but I can't even comprehend a church having nothing.

 

That just doesn't fit my understanding of the definition of a Christian church kwim?

 

BTW pastors should preach on tithing as that is part of the Bible and pastors are to preach the whole counsel of God. So if a pastor is preaching a series on a book that includes a discussion of tithing, the topic should come up. I'd be uncomfortable in a church that focused sermons on the topic of tithing outside the context of teaching a certain book.

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:iagree: Cat, I'll stand beside you and take the unpopular opinion (if it really is unpopular). And, I don't think you are a horrible person. :001_smile: I also don't think those who believe in tithing are horrible people either. :001_smile:

 

 

I'm with Shannon and Cat. :001_smile:

 

OP, don't leave the church. Volunteer service hours if and when you can, and give cheerfully what and when you can. Don't feel guilty about not buying into the institutional-church thought of tithing.

 

I went through the same thing as you for many years and it made it very hard to focus on growing my relationship with my Lord. I unintentionally ended up doing a very deep study into tithing only to realize that OT people never directly tithed money. They tithed harvests, oils, animals, but never money. Money, precious metals, and gems were always offered voluntarily as they were able. Plus, under the New Covenant, we're not held to those old laws anymore, despite what the church institution in general might think.

 

Once I reached that conclusion and felt it confirmed by the Holy Spirit, all my guilt has been gone and nothing my pastor says brings it back. For now I'll give offerings when our finances permit us to do so. Once I get an overflowing garden and chicken coop and start making some money off it, *those funds* will have tithes taken from it.

 

And just for the record, we are not any less blessed for not tithing the traditional way. :D

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I would start tithing when the church leadership starts obeying the rest of the Old Testament. It has always (and I mean from a very young age--12 or 13, maybe) bothered me that this is the one element from the Old Testament that many Protestant churches tout like it's the Gospel (literally).

 

Terri

 

:iagree:

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My church teaches cheerful giving. Our pastor became a certified financial advisor to help families with their finances, if they need it. He says if a family is in heavy debt, get out of it, even if it means no giving at that time. When out from under heavy debt, then give what you can. The amount is between them and God.

 

OTB, you know I'm not a fan of the institutional church structure; but your pastor sounds pretty neat-o to me. :D

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Those of you who tithe and say that your church will help you financially if you need it, would you still feel comfortable doing so if your church had no such program to help those in need? Perhaps that is my disconnect here? Our church has nothing to support parishioners in need. We have the weekly offering which goes to operating expenses, the building fund which goes to the new sanctuary they built, and monthly charity Sunday where they pick a community charity to collect for. Occasionally, they will ask for donations to help the Hispanic congregation. But, there is nothing in place to help the English-speaking congregation. We have wondered if we didn't wander into the wrong economic bracket when we chose a church.

 

I would not go to a church that expected 10% of my income and only/mainly used it to maintain the "building".

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A somewhat related story. I have a good friend whose grandparents were regular church attendees. When she was younger, her grandparents tithed using those envelopes provided by the church (with numbers and then the numbers are assigned to people, or your write your name on them so there is some record of your offerings). At some point the church decided to start posting IN THE BULLETIN what everyone had put in the plate the week before (with the list also posted in the church). After that, Grandpa switched to cash in the offering plate - that his giving was no one's business but his and God or whatever.

 

I'm now curious if there are still churches that do this (post tithing amounts publically).

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... and there was NO WAY you could give 10% of your income WWYD?

 

I feel guilty. I don't personally even believe in a strict interpretation of the tithing teaching, however the congregation in question does support a traditional understanding of the tithe.

 

Now I feel bad because I can't give very much without putting us in the red and harming my family. But, I also don't like feeling like a "taker."

 

I've been there. We set a percentage that worked for our family, after much prayer. And we paid that percentage faithfully, first thing out of every paycheck. When we got raises, we applied it first toward the tithe until we worked our way up.

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A somewhat related story. I have a good friend whose grandparents were regular church attendees. When she was younger, her grandparents tithed using those envelopes provided by the church (with numbers and then the numbers are assigned to people, or your write your name on them so there is some record of your offerings). At some point the church decided to start posting IN THE BULLETIN what everyone had put in the plate the week before (with the list also posted in the church). After that, Grandpa switched to cash in the offering plate - that his giving was no one's business but his and God or whatever.

 

I'm now curious if there are still churches that do this (post tithing amounts publically).

 

Wow! That is SO WRONG!

 

Only a few people in the church should know who is giving what. The pastor should not be one of them. Certainly the entire congregation shouldn't be among them either.

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Give what you can with a cheerful heart.
:iagree:

 

Dave Ramsey once said that God asks us to tithe to help us become like Christ who gave everything. He wants to change our hearts. It really changed the way I thought about tithing...not that I always do it cheerfully. I do understand the practical need of giving, though. I would hate for our pastor and elders to have to worry about meeting the church's financial obligations, or to not be able to help those who are in real need of financial help. We give a particular amount each month with the hopes that God will indeed use it to make me a cheerful giver.

 

We also have to be careful about giving to the church in order to "get" back. That's just another form of selfishness.

 

P.S. By tithing, I'm talking about giving from your income to the church, not a particular amount or percentage. I have heard good Biblical arguments either way, but the goal is still the same.

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