On Tithing and Christian Giving
Why God Wants Us to Give
God has given us everything—the least we can do is give back in His name and for His glory. Giving back to God is a privilege for those who have received the gift of eternal life, and it pleases the Lord when we invest in His work. Dr. Joey Anthony, lead pastor at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, says, “We love the Lord because He first loved us. He has done so much for us and given us so much... Giving is an act of worship, it’s an act of giving back to Him.”
Christian giving pays for lives to be transformed as God works through the offerings we make in His name. For example, churches may use financial gifts to support missionaries and fund outreach programs. Even the small percentage that’s used to pay everyday bills and expenses help “keep the lights on” so to speak, the enabling church leaders to reach the unreached and make disciples for God.
Giving is also good for the believer. “Giving with the right motives helps people grow in their faith,” says Dr. Anthony. “When you give, God blesses. He promised that in the Bible, and when you trust and give with a sacrificial and cheerful heart and see what God does with that gift, it grows your faith.”
We are stewards of this money—it doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the Lord—and as good stewards we must be faithful and obedient to God’s command that we give back. Unfortunately, statistics tell us another story about the state of giving in America.
The State of Christian Giving in America
According to a study of church member giving by Empty Tomb, Inc., a Christian research and service organization, total church contributions in 2014 were the lowest since 1968. Contributions to benevolent organizations and charities have also steadily declined between 1968 and 2014, although the study notes that observable increases in giving could be a function of disaster response opportunities. In other words, people are more likely to give after a devastating event.
Despite 2015 being America’s most generous year ever for charitable contributions, donations to churches and religious organizations only increased slightly (2.7 percent) from the previous year. For comparison, giving to education increased 8.9 percent in 2015, and giving to international affairs saw a significant increase of 17.5 percent, according to the Giving Institute.
These are devastating figures for the church and other religious organizations that rely on charitable contributions. According to the Philanthropy Roundtable, “Religious charities tend to have less access to supplemental funds than other nonprofits. Hospitals and colleges charge users fees to supplement their donated income; other nonprofits sell goods…Churches and religious charities, however, operate mostly on their donated funds.”
In other words, financial offerings tend to be the main source of supplemental income for churches and religious organizations. As charitable giving to religious institutions in the U.S. has shrunk over the last half century, so too has the church’s ability to reclaim the darkest and most lost parts of America.
Why Christians Don’t Give
Brian Kluth, founder and publisher of the annual State of the Plate church giving research report, has exhaustively studied the financial and giving practices of Christians in America. According to Kluth, the three main factors that keep non-tithing Christians from giving:
- 38% say they can’t afford it
- 33% say they have too much debt
- 18% say their spouse doesn’t agree with tithing
For those financially-struggling Christians who feel like they have too much debt and can’t afford to give, Dr. Anthony provides an inspiring message of hope. “God commands us to give, but in doing so He blesses obedience and faith by taking care of our needs. Trust the Lord and be obedient about what He says. God keeps his promises.”
God Loves a Cheerful Giver
When we give, it shows God that we believe His Word and that we place our trust in Him. And how does God use those gifts? Dr. Anthony says, “God uses our prosperity to advance His gospel throughout North America and around the world.” The North American Mission Board has the same mission: pushing back against lostness by mobilizing church planters, missionaries, and their families.
If you want to bring the gospel to the lost and help expand God’s Kingdom, consider a one-time or recurring gift to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, the fundraising arm of the North American Mission Board.
Tags: Funding The Mission
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