I attend two pastors’ groups that meet on a monthly basis. At one of the recent gatherings, the topic turned to giving in the church. One of the men said he asked his treasurer for information on how many people in the church gave financially and how many gave a tithe.
Being curious myself, I asked our Financial Secretary at First Central Bible Church to do some research and give me the same type of information. Here’s what she shared with me. (She shared the numbers, but not the names.)
We currently have 194 members. Our average weekly attendance is 219 people.
We have 120 giving units. A giving unit may be an individual, a couple, or a family. A giving unit may be a member or a regular attender. Of the 120 giving units,
- 2 gave $20K or more during 2016
- 11 gave $10-20K
- 15 gave $5-10K
- 45 gave $1-5K
- 47 gave less than $1K
The numbers reflect the Pareto Principle, that 80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the people, or in this case, 80 percent of the money is given by 20 percent of the people.
The results prompted Carol and I to talk about how much we give and where it goes. The bulk of our giving is to FCBC and a portion goes to support some missionaries we know.
The results also prompted me to review what Scripture says about money and generosity.
Biblical principles of giving
- It all belongs to God (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
- We give back to God what he has given us (1 Chronicles 29:14-16)
- We worship God with our first and best (Proverbs 3:9-10)
- Promise—If we give, God will meet our needs (Proverbs 3:9‑10; Malachi 3:10-12; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
- Sequence—We give to God first, then God meets our needs (Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:10-12; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
- Challenge—Give generously and see what God does (Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:10-12; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
- Rather than tithing (giving 10%), the New Testament teaches generosity (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
- While tithing may not be a requirement, it is a good guideline, since it was the pattern of godly people before the Law was given (Genesis 14:17-20; 28:10-22)
- Our giving should be periodic, personal, planned, proportionate, and properly protected (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
- Generosity is best determined by what we give when we have little, not when we have much (Mark 12:41-44)
- We have been blessed in order to be a blessing (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
- Use all you are and all you have for God’s glory (Matthew 25:14-30)
- Excel in the grace of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7)
Let me encourage you to review what Scripture says about giving. Ask God to search your heart to see if you are obedient in this area. Ask him to show you how much he would have you give in 2017. Ask him for the grace and strength to obey him and to trust him to provide for your needs.