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I hear complaints and questions like these from Christians frequently:
    Church Offering
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  • "Churches today only care about money."
  • "There is too much abuse and misuse of church funds. Why should I give?"
  • "How do I know the money will go to a good cause?"
Bill N., a site reader wrote:
    "The church's concern is one's income. I have been to several and they always ask about income. I tell them I will give what I can and their response is, 'You have to give at least ten percent of your income.' I understand that the church needs funds to operate, but to tell someone that they need to give ten percent is not right ... In my area alone there are what I call 'Super Dome Churches' where the pastor drives a Bentley and has a home three times the size of mine. Is this what is preached in the Bible? I don't think so!"
Several research groups including The Barna Group have reported a decreasing trend in church giving during recent years. Surveys show that the practice of tithing has become uncommon among American Christians today. In this 2005 update on "Why People Do Not Give More," the Barna Group's director, George Barna, said the declining trend in giving to churches is influenced by five factors. I've summarized those factors below, but you can read them in full detail in my article, What Does the Bible Say About Giving?
Why People Do Not Give More:
  1. Lack of motivation. The church hasn't shown that it will make a difference in the world.
  2. An inability to see sufficient return on their investment.
  3. An inability to see that the church needs money to be effective.
  4. An ignorance as to what the Bible teaches about giving.
  5. Selfishness.
For the sake of this study, I'd like to focus on the fourth group of people, those who've never looked at what the Bible says about giving:
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September 22, 2010 at 8:49 pm
(1) desertgirl says:

The church I went to purchased a 4,000 square foot house for the pastor. I didn’t feel that was appropriate. How can that be justified when the congregation is told to give, give, give?

September 22, 2010 at 9:42 pm
(2) Brad says:

My view is that when I give, I do it without strings. Once WE have obeyed the Word, the stewardship responsibility of that gift is now passed to others. It is no longer yours to control. If you feel the leadership of the church is not being good stewards, you should move on and let God deal with them if it is going to build bitterness in your heart. God loves a CHEERFUL giver and He always honors a freely given gift.

September 28, 2010 at 11:53 am
(3) Gary says:

I think stewardship isn’t necessarily passed on to the recipient. I think that God expects us to give wisely and there is certainly no shortage of people or organizations in need. I don’t think that God expects us to give to the excess of others but we can’t expect pastorial staff to live in poverty either. I think we’re responsible for good judgement in how we give. I’m just another imperfect Christian and I stuggle with giving. No judgement on my part, just an opinion.

September 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm
(4) Michael Moseley, Sr. says:

I have been in church most of my life. There is a attitude from many members that the pastor is supposed to be poor. I can’t find one Bible verse that says this. Too many of our pastors are kept at below the poverty line. Being a pastor is one of the hardest job that most of us wouldn’t be able to handle. There is no reason not to give your pastor a nice place to live and a salary where he can pay the bills. To do otherwise is shameful.

October 3, 2010 at 7:55 am
(5) Art says:

We are to be cheerfulgivers, but we are also to be accountable to each other. If someone thinks money is spent unwisely, attend the church business meeting. I agree the pastoral staff should receive a reasonable wage, butnot a rockstar salary. All christians should appear approachable by “the lost”. Christ did not dress lavishly or have designer sandals. Many churches do emphasize giving of money over giving God’s love. If you feel your leadership is spending money unwisely, pray for them not to fall to the treasures of the world, but work for the treasures of “God’s kingdom”. Keep the faith

November 22, 2010 at 6:33 am
(6) angelina says:

i have seen all of these so-called christians that goes to church and praise God,all dress lavishly,drives luxurious cars.pastors and their crew church members dress lavishly with all jewelries on them.i see them all on tbn tv and then there are flashes on screens that says please call for donation….is this what christianity is all about now?

May 23, 2012 at 10:46 am
(7) Emily says:

My family has been hit hard by the bad economy. I have stood in front of a bare cabinet many times wondering how I would find enough food to prepare dinner. And yet we have continued to give generously to our church. Recently my husband and I learned of church plans to spend an incredible amount of money on pew pads, videocameras, and the development of a church app. There are even plans to get an expensive electronic bulletin board for the lobby because the church down the road has one so we should too! We are members of a small church, not a megachurch. We do not need these things. In fact, the church is located in a poor area where many people are hurting. Instead of helping the food bank, setting up a soup kitchen, or other charitable acts, my church is focused on buying expensive gadgets simply because other churches have them. It is very frustrating and we are now looking at other churches.

August 27, 2012 at 11:48 am
(8) Edwin Au Yeung says:

You know it’s weird how spreading God’s words has become a JOB. You now have to get PAID to spread God’s words. Nobody wants to do it for free. What I’ve experienced in life is that. ‘Most’ of the time a job kills the passion of whatever you’re doing. Jesus came down on this earth to save and share to us the word of God doing it for free. Back in the days sadducees and pharisees were the ‘godly’ people who spread God’s words for fame and money, unforunately the world has not changed at all and it remains the same.

And com on, pastors driving Bentleys? Remember, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

I say go ahead, love your Bentleys and your money. For our time is short here on earth compared to what’s coming :)

August 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm
(9) Edwin Au Yeung says:

To Emily,
I have been to many churches. Unfortunately from what I have experienced, they are all the same! As I try to serve God through playing guitar and singing, I realized people are just trying to use the church for their own ambitions. I see too many people trying to get up the ranks and ladders of the church. Trying to voice out THEIR opinions instead of God’s. I’m talking about Alliance and Baptist churches here. I know the bible also teaches us to obey authority, but this has to stop! Anyway, I now donate money NOT to the churches, but to foundations that actually help people of the world.

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