(RNS) Report Says Tithing, Church Spending Hit Record Low

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tithing to mainline Protestant churches as a percentage of income is at its lowest level in at least 41 years, according to a new report, and churches are keeping a greater share of those donations for their own needs.

Parishioners gave about 2.38 percent of their income to their church, according to “The State of Church Giving through 2009,” a new report being released Friday (Oct. 14) by Empty Tomb inc., a Christian research agency in Champaign, Ill.

Just over 2 percent of income went toward congregational finances, such as operating costs and building expenses. Only 0.34 percent of parishioner income went to what Empty Tomb calls “benevolences,” such as charities and seminary training beyond the four walls of the church.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

3 Comments
Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:05 am

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1. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Does tithing just consist of a ‘dedicated giving’ to one’s parish?

I ask this question because many Christians also ‘dedicate’ their giving to needy/disabled family members, to support young Christian children in Third World countries, etc.

In addition, those of us who do pay federal, state and local taxes, also have a portion of those taxes used for social welfare purposes by the taxing governments.

So, it can be said that many people pay much more than 10% of their income to meet the needs of others.

So where does the tithe begin and where does it end?

In order to meet my diocese’s tithing request, should I decrease my charitable assistance to needy family members or to children in need in Third World countries?

October 14, 5:15 pm | [comment link]
2. francis wrote:

Well, very few are making a legalistic discipline out of the tithe!

October 15, 12:37 pm | [comment link]
3. AnglicanFirst wrote:

“Well, very few are making a legalistic discipline out of the tithe!”

What does this statement mean?

A tithe to the temple in Jerusalem was an Old Testament requirement.

Does the New Testament require both a tithe to the parish and meeting the requirement of giving to those in need?  If so, then basic arithmetic tells me that our basic requirement for tithing plus giving to the needy can well exceed the 10% requirement of the tithe.

And, when a person has limited resources and can’t meet both the needs of the needy and the tithe requirement, something has to give.

Does one turn his back on the needy in order to meet the tithe requirement?

Doesn’t a parishoner have a ‘free choice’ based upon his conscience?

Remember what Jesus told the Pharisees regarding their accepting gifts from individuals who made those gifts at the expense of those individuals not “honoring their parents” by helping their parents with that money rather than gifting it to the temple?

October 15, 1:49 pm | [comment link]


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