The Church in America is not so great at giving. What would happen if that changed? What would happen if all Christians in the US tithed?
Now, I know the tithe, a 10% offering, is not mandated in the New Testament. I have been hearing that argument for years. And it’s true it’s not mentioned. However, if you use that as your excuse as to why you don’t give you might what to go check your heart and your reason for not giving. While the 10% is not mentioned, giving is talked about over and over again in 2 Corinthians 9:7, Acts 2:44-47, Matthew 6:19-24, and Mark 12:41-44. In fact Jesus talks about money more than an other subject. The tithe is no longer required, but generosity is.
However this is not an article on why you should tithe, rather what would happen if we all did.
First, let’s start off with some statistics.
- Currently Christians are giving at a 2.5% per capita/tithe. Compared to the Great Depression Christians gave 3.3%. (Source)
- If Christians tithed the full 10% (and nothing more) between $139-$146 billion would become available for ministry work.
- Only 3-5% of Americans give regularly to the Church. (Source)
If the Church in America tithed there would be an extra $140(+/-) billion to fund ministry work locally and globally. So what are some of the things we could do with that money?
Let’s start locally.
Launch Outreach Ministries
- $75 Million to add 500 new prison ministries
- $1.1 Billion to add 5,500 new family counseling centers
- $150 Million to provide debt and financial management training
- $100 Million to provide job training for unemployed people
We don’t need to head overseas to find people in need. There are plenty right here in our back yard. With everyone tithing the Church would have more than enough money to care for the needs of people in their church and in their community.
Fully Staff the Church
- $500 Million to Train 10,000 new pastors
- $500 Million to Raise the median salary for current pastors
Many Churches are under staffed and many more pastors are under paid. With a full tithe we could train new pastors to fill the current church roles that are left empty and fill new roles created by church plants. We could also raise the median salary from $44k to $54k. (Source)
Maybe you are wondering why we need to pay pastors. Why can’t they just get a second job? The median work week for a pastor is 50 hours. That means more than 50% of pastors are putting in more than 50 hours a week. Less than 3% of pastors work less then 40 hours a week. (Source) Pastor’s have high demands on their schedule. They simply don’t have time to have another job and care for their families. And a large amount of pastors are underpaid due to the finical strains of the Church.
Bottom line, we could fully staff the current church and the church of the future.
Let’s shift gears for a moment and look at what impact the Church in America could have across seas.
Relieve Hunger, Cure Preventable Diseases, and Provide Clean Water… For the WORLD
- Estimated price tag: $52 Billion and 5 years to fix the problems listed. (Source)
The world is filled with people dying from lack of food, water, and preventable diseases. And we can fix that. I’m not talking about making everyone rich or leveling the economic playing field. There will still be rich and poor and people in-between. But it is within our reach to stop these preventable things and raise the quality of life for people born into poverty.
We have the money and the resources to fix this. All we need to do is make the sacrifice.
Fully Fund the Great Commission
- Estimated price tag: $2.5 Billion. (Source)
An estimated 1 in 5 people in this world have never heard about Jesus. Of the 6,800 living languages about 1,800 do not have the Bible translated into their native tongue. (Source) Think about that for a second. Think of all the people that do not know about Jesus in the world. Woe to us who have the resources to tell everyone but instead sit on our hands.
We have the resources to accomplish this. It will take many years, but we can do it. We have the resources to put a Bible in everyone’s hands and literally tell the world about Jesus. Think of the impact a small sacrifice from everyone could make.
It Will Change You
I have tried every excuse in the book as to why I should not be generous; it comes down to me wanting to hold onto “my” money. But time and time again God challenges me to give more. At first I resist, but after some prodding I step out in faith. With each step I take my faith increases, my relationship with God changes, and I become more compassionate, more caring. When I give it changes me.
If the Church were to tithe it would change us. You cannot give and not change. Often our money is tied to our hearts, and when we give our money to God we are actually giving our heart to God. The hearts of the Church would dramatically change if it was generous.
The purpose of this article is not to give a detailed plan of what every church should do with money tithed. I’m not really interested in debating the numbers or exactly what money should be spent on. What I am trying to show is that we could literally change the world if we all gave a little. Major world changes are within our reach; it would just take a little sacrifice from us.
Here’s my challenge, prayerfully consider this question: What would it look like for you to start honoring God with you money? How can you use what God has given you to care for others?
Maybe for you that’s to start giving $10 a week. Maybe it’s tithing 10%. Maybe you can do even more. The point isn’t to reach some number, the goal is to be generous with what God has given us. We are a very wealthy nation, and we have the potential to literally change the world.
I’ve written on my person struggle with money here: Money and God (A Honest Look at the Struggle)
What do you think could happen if the church was generous?