Should You Tithe to Your Church?
Is it right for your pastor to expect you to give to the church?
For some of us, that isn’t a controversial question because we’ve already settled it in our hearts. “Of course I’m going to sow into my church—that’s what I do.”
But for others, that question sparks an instant, internal wrestling match. “Is my church actually asking for my money? Is that right? Whenever the pastor starts talking about money, I feel manipulated!”
As a “free range” teacher who is not on staff at any church, I feel I can share my conscience on this matter and tell you what I understand to be true without any bias. Here are my thoughts on a topic that’s commonly misunderstood these days.
The Sensitivity of Our Culture
The culture we live in has become so sensitive to offense that it’s like we have an exposed nerve. We are constantly aware of how we might be feeling. “Wow! Am I offended about this? Does this offend me?” In a way, it’s like we’ve become obsessed with offense.
Yes, it is possible we could find ourselves in a situation where a pastor is trying to manipulate us into giving. There might be a case like that somewhere, but when pastors say from the pulpit, “You need to be sowing,” we can’t automatically become offended and begin to suspect them of manipulation.
The apostle Paul addresses this exact situation in 1 Corinthians 9. He basically says, “I’ve been sowing spiritual food into you guys, and I’ve been teaching you spiritual truth. Is it right or wrong for me to reap a material reward from you? It is right.”
If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? (1 Cor. 9:11)
The Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. (1 Cor. 9:14)
Pastors need to be able to go out and buy groceries just like you and I do, but their interests stretch far beyond just making a living. They’re also looking at operating an organization that has multiple avenues of ministry; included in that operation are the costs required to fund and pay for the church’s existence.
The Spiritual Fountain We’re Drinking From
Pastors and other leaders don’t often get a chance to talk about this because the water quickly grows murky—plus our culture can be so frantic over offense. But pushing all of that aside, I would say this: if you’re in a church community where it is expected and hoped that you will support that community, do so.
Our pastors sow into us and our families with the hope of a return (1 Cor. 9:9–11). They work in our lives through their messages, vision, ministry, pastoring, counseling care, all the things they’re building, and their intentional work on the spiritual health of the community.
Your home church is a great thing for you to put your money into. We can put our money into lots of places, and we should certainly support the spiritual fountain we’re drinking from.
For more information on money and overcoming unhealthy mindsets, check out these other articles: