“Tithe” means ten percent. And lots of people still believe in the tithe, in giving ten percent of their income. In fact, according to LifeWay Research, more churchgoers believe tithing is for today than pastors believe it. Some believe tithing was an Old Testament command and in the New Testament we are simply told to be generous because Christ is continually generous to us. Of course, if the law required 10%, would His grace compel us to give less? But not all givers tithe, and not all tithers give their whole tithe to their churches. Here are five types of givers in the church:
Just as you only tip a server at a restaurant when you visit that restaurant, tippers are only compelled to give when they attend church. Their income doesn’t drive their giving to the church as much as their attendance at church drives it. Their income level doesn’t impact how much they tip at a restaurant; it’s the quality of the meal and the service they received that does. If they like what the church is doing, that’s when they will tip the church.
2. Consistent Givers
Consistent givers give regularly and in a disciplined manner. They may set up recurring giving online or give each time they receive a paycheck. They may be giving a percent of their income with the hope to increase that over time, as their incomes increase. Effective and significant ministries have been built through their regular and disciplined giving. Budgets are much easier to plan when large numbers of people regularly and consistently give.
3. Not-Only-to-the-Church Tithers
When I was first serving in ministry, nearly twenty-five years ago, when people spoke of tithing, they spoke of what the older preachers I heard called “storehouse tithing,” or bringing your tithe to the church. And giving to causes and ministries outside the church was considered to be “giving above the tithe.” Today this is less and less true for people in our churches. In fact, only 47% of churchgoers believe tithing is limited to their church. So more than half of those who give 10% of their income spread their giving to multiple sources, including but not limited to their churches. This is a growing reality for ministry leaders and one that has far-reaching implications.
4. Church Tithers
There are still, however, those who consistently and regularly give ten percent of their income to the church they attend. Those who watch over the finances of the church know that even though 83% of people believe tithing is a biblical command, not nearly as many practice what they say is a mandate from God.
5. Above 10% Givers
Not all people who say, “Tithing isn’t for us today,” say so because they want to justify giving being beneath ten percent. While they believe “tithing” can be a helpful starting point, they are committed to giving as generously as possible because of Christ’s generosity to them. They excel in the grace of giving because their hearts have been overwhelmed with Christ’s generosity.