Should Church Leaders be Required to Tithe?

Welcome back! I was quick to post a follow-up article and this one will be much shorter (woot!). For those of you that read my articles frequently, you already know my opinion on tithing/giving (in part) found here:

So to quickly answer the question – no. They’re not required to tithe. Because I don’t believe in tithes. The better question is, “Should Church Leaders be Required to Give?” This can go in so many ways. What do they give? Do they give of their money? How about their time? What about their God-given skills? Obviously this article is aimed at addressing tithing/giving – but, I want to solicit that we also want to evaluate a leader based on their entire “giving portfolio” and not just their Sunday morning monetary giving.

In reality, say you have a church leader that works for Taco Bell and they have a family of four – oddly enough, I probably would think its fair to assume they cant give as much as the guy who is a VP of a bank. I do whole-heartedly believe that God entrusts certain individuals with more financial capital in order to steward and sow into the Kingdom. When someone is working at Taco Bell – they’re probably looking for the next job each and every day. Once again, we want to evaluate each leader in their context and their position, never in "what amount do they give?"

Personally, I am not a fan of Pastors/elders knowing exactly how much each member gives. I do believe that is a role of a deacon – deacons should: gather, count, and report. And when called upon, deacons should be able to report to elders who are “faithful givers.”

I really would like to get into some fine print here – because many of these articles are not even skimmed by my church family. I know there are a faithful 4-5 of you that read each and every one of these and almost always let me know your thoughts on the article. But here is going to be my official stance on this matter: Should not a church require that the hearts of those placed into leadership are with and for the church?

If you read my last article, you know that I believe New Covenant giving is a sign of: 1. Gratitude for the Gospel message and Christ’s sacrifice 2. Belief and support for the minister/elder(s) of that particular ministry 3. Belief that the church/ministry you are sowing in to is perpetuating the Gospel message. 4. The ministry is a good stewards with said finances to advance the Kingdom.

Certainly this is a short way to condense my beliefs on the matter, but it rings true in scripture. We give to the ministries that are making an impact. First to our local church which shepherds and guides us and second to ministries that are advancing the Gospel and/or taking care of the less fortunate. I have yet to write how I believe churches should manage their money, but that is because each church will be slightly different. The church I am a part of is much smaller than most – so our offerings are very minimal compared to most the churches in our city – let a lone America. So, what we do with the money is much more important because we don’t have as much of it.

Returning to my belief: Should not a church require that the hearts of those placed into leadership are with and for the church? Isn’t your immediate response to my question, “YES!” Because really, when you ask if leadership is required to give into the church they help lead – that is what you are asking me. Should the church require its leaders to believe in and support the church that which they are helping lead? Obviously. We know that where our treasure lies- there too is our heart. We know that scripturally speaking, we have to give weekly to our shepherding church.

How do you know? This question rings through my head. I am the Associate Pastor of my church and I have no idea who tithes and doesn’t tithe. I mean, I have an idea but that is mostly cause you hear murmurs and/or complaints from people sometimes when it comes to ‘rules’ about tithes. My example that comes to mind is our Worship Team manual states, “MUST BE A FAITHFUL TITHER.” I personally would have that removed and changed to say “FAITHFUL GIVER” – but that is because I believe Old Covenant tithes is closer to 20% and I don’t want to require everyone to give 20%.

Really this boils down to having deacons (who gather offerings, count offerings and report (total) offerings to the elders) you trust completely to report when someone is a strong giver or a minimal giver (once again, within context). If I had someone who came to me and said, “I want to be the next Youth Pastor, please consider me for the next opening.” I would likely have to pray, discuss amongst elders and then check-in with the deacons to see if they are faithful givers. Faithfully giving is all so hard to judge – but I think we all know if you have someone who is a single mother and struggling to make ends meet has much more grace than someone who has a job allowing a lavish American lifestyle (anti-scriptural, it turns out).

So, if I had my way (which I don’t all the time, believe it or not) – I would place deacons I trust over finances and allow them to speak into candidates for leadership positions based on giving (and giving alone). Deacons will not be involved in final decisions. They will not even be involved in elder’s conversations of character and/or qualifications. Ultimately, elders must pray, communicate with each other and then finally, ask the deacons if the certain individual seems to “believe in and support the church through giving.”

Let me know your thoughts on this! I have had so much fun studying about tithes and offerings and how different churches do different things. Some are run much more like a business – some are run by external companies! I believe the Biblical mandate would be that deacons are handlers of offerings and elders are the ones to decide what happens with the money. I likely will have a final article on giving – in which I will discuss how churches (in my opinion, there is much less scripture on this idea) should use their offerings.

This also boils down to my general belief that churches need to be more transparent with their money. Money is a tough thing to talk about. The last thing you want is for an elder to pull you aside and say, “Why are you not tithing? I am going to have to remove you from leadership.” Only to have the response, “My wife lost her hours– we actually have made $0.00 in two months and are living on the tiny savings we had left.” (or even credit cards in today’s culture) – we should be quick to give the benefit of the doubt and assume people’s hearts are for the ministry they are a part of – meaning, leaders should be giving whenever they are able because they love the ministry and believe in it. If they don’t, it will show in more than their giving. It will show in their time, their talents and their overall excitement about being a part of the church itself.

Finally – I know, I’m rambling at this point – churches should require leaders to give in money and in time, talents, gifting and in general, be self-sacrificial. After all, is that not the idea of serving in church leadership? It’s a much harder question to answer with a simple “yes” or “no” but I hope this helps.

Think on it.


Let me know what you think

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