“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:18 KJV)
When I say “the church” I don’t mean a particular denomination, minister, building or etc. I mean THE church.
The ecclesia. The called out ones. The ones with a hope after death.
So when I say the church sucks at giving I’m not just pointing fingers at “them.”
It’s a real harsh thing to say I know. It’s not a good sound byte: “THE CHURCH sucks at giving.” It’s not something you’d teach in Sunday school…well…at least I hope you wouldn’t!
But the facts are staring us in the face. For instance:
In one study, tithers make up 10-25% of a congregation. And these people contribute 50-80% of the funding required to keep the church (building) open. Thank God most of those who do tithe are Tithehackers–in that they give 11%-20% or more of their income, far more than the baseline of 10%.
Which make me wonder, where are the other 75%?
But there are more shocking stats than that: only 5% of the U.S. tithes. What about the remaining 95%? Well…
- 30% of the U.S. makes no charitable contributions
- 50% of the U.S. give more than 0% but less than 2% of their income to charity; and
- 15% give more than 2% but less than 10% of their income to charity
So basically 80% of Americans give less than 2% of their income. But then you might say:
“Well, Mike you don’t understand..it’s the economy. People would give more if they had more. But people have less, so they give less.”
That’s what I initially thought.
I said to myself, “Self, you really can’t say the ‘modern day church sucks at giving.’ How can people give what they don’t have??
Until I came across these stats:
Christians are giving at a 2.5% per capita. During the Great Depression, they gave at a 3.3% rate.
Ok…that ‘church of today sucks at giving’ argument is starting to hold a lot more weight.
But’s let imagine for second. Let’s say Bible believing people were to increase their giving to a minimum of…I don’t know…let’s say 10%?
Well…according to those stats there would be an additional $165 billion. To see the global impact, consider the following:
- $25 billion would relieve global hunger, starvation, and deaths from preventable diseases in 5 years.
- $12 billion would eliminate illiteracy in 5 years.
- $15 billion would solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically at places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.
- $1 billion would fully fund the Great Commission.
- $100 – $110 billion would still be left over for additional ministry expansion.
Although I’m not sure about the $1 billion fully funding the Great Commission…these are some interesting numbers.
So why do we the church suck at giving?
It’s not money–it’s the heart. Always has been, always will be.
When Paul spoke about the legendary giving of the Macedonian church he urged the Corinthian church to prove their love like the Macedonians proved theirs:
“Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.” (2 Corinthians 8:7-8 NLT)
What if we didn’t suck at giving
But let’s move beyond “them.” Let’s imagine for a second what we could do if we didn’t suck at giving. How many more lives we could change?
Just think about what a factor spontaneous-generous-Holy-Spirit-led-giving could be in this life.
The possibilities are endless.
Billy Graham felt the same way. When asked his advice on giving he said:
“In the Old Testament, tithing was an important part of the worship of God’s people, and God promised to bless them if they obeyed His command to tithe. The Bible says, ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse … and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’ (Malachi 3:10). Think how much greater our impact on the world would be if every Christian followed this injunction.”
But what do you think: what can we do to as the church to stop sucking in our giving? Are there any practical plans to implement?
What do you think?