3 Challenges Tithing Won’t Solve

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Originally posted July 6, 2012 

If you’ve been in church leadership for any length of time, then at some point you’ve been in the “financial crunch” meeting; that gathering of leaders who meet to discuss the budget shortfall.

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Inevitably someone will say with almost prophetic resonance, “We must get everyone to tithe,” and in all likelihood many around the table will voice strong agreement.

How do you respond to this? This is when you must seize this teaching moment and help them see beyond the tithe.

Specifically, you must teach your leaders that there are at least three financial challenges that tithing will not solve.

1.   Tithing will not solve the inequality of giving challenge
As John Maxwell has pointed out, the Pareto Principle dictates that the 80-20 rule will always be present.

You must teach your leaders that even if every single person in your church were to tithe you would still find that 80% of your giving comes from 20% of the people, because 80% of the money in your church is held by 20% of the people.

2.   Tithing will not solve the Kingdom return challenge
There is a tremendous temptation to attribute decreased giving to disobedience to the biblical “rules” on tithing.

However, for many people, if they don’t believe their local church is providing an optimal Kingdom return, they may well slide some of that giving to other ministries.

Your leaders must learn that your people may well be tithing; but they may simply no longer tithing to your church.

3.   Tithing will not solve the culture of generosity challenge
In Exodus 36 God’s people were so lavishly giving to the work of the Lord they had to be told to stop; there was too much coming in.

You don’t get to that level of heart-felt generosity in your church by brow-beating your people into tithing. Help your leaders understand that this kind of generosity flows out of hearts that are fully devoted to Christ and fully sold-out to your church’s vision.

To change the financial trajectory of your church you need your key leaders on board, which is why it’s so important to seize these teaching moments.

Your first step may well be to help them see beyond the tithe.

What are the principles that you have taught when leading through a challenging financial season?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Willow Creek Association. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave & Willow and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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