One of my all-time favorite CLC’ers writes, “I have a question about tithing. What about people who faithfully tithe…but to ministries that are not good stewards of the funds. Are the people protected because of their obedience to tithe? Examples might include pastors who gamble, do not properly care for the needs of the church, pastors who have no accountability and use funds as they please. Would it be better if people found other ministries to attend or tithe to?”
Excellent question. It’s one that I’ve never addressed in public, but I know from previous conversations through the years that it’s one that many Christians have asked. Here are my thoughts:
- As a general rule, I do believe that God blesses the individual for their obedience in tithing, while the leaders of the ministry are held accountable for how they handle the funds received. The Biblical basis for that last statement is 1Cor. 9:8-10 where the Scripture is quite clear that ministers are to be financially rewarded for their service – but as my pastor back in my early days liked to point out, “if the oxen overeats, he gets the bellyache!”
- However, IF (and that’s a BIG ‘if’) the church member knows (that’s different from ‘heard a rumor’, or ‘suspects’) that the pastor and/or leaders of their church are guilty of any of the examples you gave (gambling, not caring for the needs of the church, not accountable, or misusing funds), then I would say it’s time to do one of two things: (1) respectfully bring this matter to the attention of the governing leaders of the congregation for their response; or (2) seek the Lord as to where He would have you be planted in another local church.
- Having said that, I do not believe that you need to ’cause problems’ or ‘seek to influence anyone else’ to leave the ministry with you, lest you become guilty before God - knowing that “two wrongs don’t make a right”! But neither do I believe any sincere believer should remain in a church where the Lord’s tithe is being misused by those in authority. I say that NOT just because of money mismanagement, but because that mismanagement is always an indication of more serious issues that would make it advisable for you to find another spiritual home.
- Oh, in regards to the wording of your question – I do NOT believe anyone should attend one church but tithe to another. The Scripture indicates that we ‘bring’ our tithes to the Lord, and part of the purpose is “so there will be food in my House” – so it wouldn’t make sense to tithe somewhere other than where you eat. (You don’t eat at McDonald’s & pay Burger King, right?)
- Since I’ve stated my opinions here, let me give you some Scriptures to read and consider: 1Samuel 2:12-17; Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34:1-10; Psalm 92:13; 1Timothy 5:17-18; 1Peter 5:1-4; 2Corinthians 8:18-21; Malachi 3:10.
- I suspect that someone reading this has a story to share about how the Lord led them to a healthy church after a bad experience with other churches who abused the financial gifts of the people. If so, please leave your comments below-
Hope that helps a bit. Now, what would YOU like to Ask the Pastor?