I asked a question on Twitter about what motivates everyone’s giving to the church and how do they do it? A friend replied, “Why do we tithe to the ‘church?’ It mostly goes to the building. Why not give your money to people that really need it?”
Honestly that’s a great question. I think there is something the church can learn from this and something we, as givers, can learn.
First, the church. Pastors, when people look at your church do they see God moving? Do they see God creating people that are focused on loving him for his mercy and grace? People that do that will help change the world around them. So if people look and don’t find this to be the case, why would they give? It’s a hard question to answer if we are honest. We should search God’s face and beg him to be merciful to us that people would see his mighty work in our church. Money drives a lot in this world, but there is no reason we cannot be raising up theologically rich lovers of God even with very few funds.
Now to the giver. I’ve been on the ministry side of things for the better part of 15 years. If mighty things aren’t happening in the church, it could be the leadership. Or, just as easily, it could be the people. No ministry hopes that God won’t do mighty things. In fact, most ministries struggle monetarily because their people refuse to let God lead their lives in every way. If you don’t feel your church is worthy to receive part of what God has given to you, why is that? Is there anything you can do to help fix that. As a part of a church, it is just as much the member’s job to work and fix things as it is the leadership’s. I believe in helping the poor on an individual basis, apart from the church. The problem is if we never give to the church, it’s very easy to become a congregation of consumers. If we don’t give either time or money to the church, it’s very easy to just walk in to the church every week and say “ok, what do you have for me now?” That attitude is what is wrong with most of the Evangelical world right now in my opinion. If every dime of the offering is going to the building, is it because the church is in a building they can’t really afford or because the people aren’t giving to enable the church to do things outside of just pay rent? Where is your place in God’s plan for your church? Is it to just come and consume week after week without giving anything?
Ideally a Christian will give to the church and God will use that to multiply the church, to save people and to spread his word. The church is referred to as the “Bride of Christ” in the scriptures. There is love for the church on God’s part and it is his appointed tool to help spread the Gospel on Earth. Apart from that, the Christian will also be obedient and helping everyone God tells them to. The relationship between a Christian and the church should be a partnership. We should work together as God calls us to reach the world. If it truly is all God’s money anyway, we should freely give anywhere God calls us. In my own giving I’ve just never hit a place where I felt like God wanted me to avoid giving to a church. I try to do both, give to churches and individuals, as best I can.