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One of the biggest challenges pastors face during their weekend services is how to collect tithes and offerings in a way that’s compelling, effective, and biblical. Churches rely on donations to fulfill their missions, but appealing for financial support can be uncomfortable and difficult to approach.
Fortunately, the Bible has a lot to say about money, and there are plenty of tithing and offering verses that pastors should consider when encouraging generosity. In fact, there are over 2,000 Bible scriptures on money, tithing, possessions, and giving—twice the amount of Bible verses about faith and prayer combined!
Let’s take a closer look at tithes and offerings in the Bible, and how these passages can improve our understanding of money, stewardship, and giving.
Tithes represent 10% of a person’s income and are typically given to their local church. The word tithe (or tithing) in the Bible is based on the Hebrew word ma’aser and the Greek word dekate, both of which mean a “tenth” of something. The act of tithing is deeply rooted in the Bible—in the Old Testament, it was obligatory—and it is still practiced by Christians today.
Offerings, on the other hand, are simply gifts that are not part of a tithe. Unlike tithes, offerings were given voluntarily to express gratitude to God. Offerings first appeared in scripture when Cain and Abel brought sacrifices to the Lord.
Tithes are a critical part of a church’s financial ability to fulfill their mission. However, how many Christians tithe? According to recent studies, only about 5% of Christians regularly tithe. In fact, people tithe less of their income to churches today than they did during the Great Depression.
The good news is that modern technology is making tithing easier with online giving. For example, because donors can set up recurring digital gifts, your community no longer needs to remember to write a check every week or every month. Churches who add online giving options through their church websites and custom mobile apps see an average increase of 32% in their overall giving!
There are numerous Bible verses about tithes and offerings. Abraham presented the first tithe when he gave the priest Melchizedek a tenth of all of his possessions. It wasn’t until later that the practice of tithing became a requirement for the people of Israel.
After their exodus from Egypt, Moses gave the Hebrew people the tithing requirement as part of God’s law. These tithes were used to support the temple priests, provide for widows and orphans, and to help finance religious festivals that were held throughout the year.
God told his people that not tithing was equivalent to stealing from him. However, he also promised to pour out his blessings upon those who tithe.
Jesus only spoke a few times specifically about tithing in the New Testament. However, Jesus consistently taught that a person’s generosity reflects their personal values and heart attitudes.
Jesus warned that the love of money can distort priorities and actually pull people away from loving God.
Jesus did not teach that people should stop tithing. He condemned the religious leaders for selectively obeying the laws of their choosing.
Jesus also told the following parable to illustrate that tithing in itself does not make a person more righteous than anyone else.
Instead of tithing to impress others, Jesus taught that people should not seek any recognition when giving.
Jesus explained that earthly treasures will decay and fade away. Instead of using money for perishable possessions here on earth, it is better to invest in things that are eternal.
It’s easier for someone to give when they know they’ll be repaid. However, Jesus taught that a person should give freely without expecting anything in return.
Another Biblical principle is that we should treat others how we want to be treated. Jesus preached that this also applies to our giving principles.
While there are a few specific tithe and offerings scriptures in the New Testament, it is full of verses that discuss giving and how to manage money.
Giving is meaningless unless it is done out of love.
Nobody enjoys receiving a gift given from a reluctant giver—least of all God! Likewise, we should give freely and cheerfully, not because we have to.
People need money to live, and churches need money to continue to serve their communities. However, the love of money is greed, and greed is a powerful and destructive vice.
Have you ever bought a present for someone that you couldn’t wait to give? Anyone can receive a gift, but the act of giving from the heart brings blessings beyond just the gift itself.
Sharing tithe and offering messages about why we give, not just what and when to give, will help your congregation become more joyful givers. Another important step to having engaged donors is to make the process of giving tithes and offerings as simple as possible.
People prefer the convenience of making purchases and payments online, so adding an online giving solution makes giving effortless for your congregation. Check out our online giving guide to see how simple it is to get online giving for your church. Beyond providing a wonderful experience for your donors, digital giving also makes donation tracking and reporting much simpler for your church staff.
Ready to learn how your church can simplify tithing and encourage generosity to fuel your mission? [.blog-contact-cta]Contact us today![.blog-contact-cta]
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