Recently on my Small Church Pastor Group Page on Facebook, I said, “We have this idea that if you teach on tithing you’ll get tithers. When has that ever really happened?” I forgot how passionate some pastors can feel about tithing, whether they be pro or con. I didn’t intend the thread to go down that road but it did and I should have known better. Anyway…this is the first in a five part series about why teaching on tithing doesn’t work. And, in keeping with my (frustrating to some of you) policy of not stating publicly my position on certain controversial issues, I will try not to show my hand in regard to the topic of tithing.
Before I get to my first reason, let’s remember that Christians can read the same Bible and come to different conclusions about tithing. Some believe that the Bible does teach tithing for Christians today and some disagree. Same Bible, different conclusions. Both love the word of God but both have different positions on this. So…if you don’t teach tithing then simply substitute ‘giving’ or ‘stewardship’ and this series will still relate. Having said that…
The first reason why teaching on tithing doesn’t work is because teaching on tithing doesn’t happen all that often. Oh I know this is why some people don’t like the church, i.e. ‘they’re always talking about money’, and I’m sure there are plenty of those churches out there, but usually when I am talking to a pastor they confess that they don’t like to talk about money/tithing and therefore don’t do so as often as they think they should.
Pastor Bill: Dave, our giving is down. I don’t know what to do. Can we talk about that?
Me: Sure. Is this a three month or a six month trend or something that has been happening for a few weeks or maybe a month?
Pastor Bill: This started the end of last year and has continued to today.
Me: When was the last time you taught on tithing/giving?
Pastor Bill: Oh…let me think about that…Um…it’s been a while.
If you believe in tithing (or stewardship, or whatever word best describes what you think the Bible has to say about giving) but seldom teach on it, how do you expect one sermon a year to do the trick? If tithing (or stewardship, or whatever word best describes what you think the Bible has to say about giving) is such a big deal then why do we teach on it so infrequently? I think one reason is, possibly the number one reason is, fear. That’s what I’ll touch upon in part two, but let me sum up by saying…if you only teach on tithing (or stewardship, or whatever word best describes what you think the Bible has to say about giving) once in a blue moon, don’t expect that sermon, or series, no matter how good it is, to do the trick. My experience has shown me that most churches need to talk more about tithing rather than less and that they can do so without becoming ‘one of those churches that are always talking about money.’