6 Must-Know Tips for Managing Your Church’s Finances
March 9, 2018
God talks an awful lot about money in the Bible.
In fact, there are more than 2,000 scriptures on giving, money, and possessions in the Old and New Testaments. If you’re doing the math, God spoke more often about money than he did about faith and prayer combined.Needless to say, there is no shortage of tithing scriptures in the Bible.
As far as we know, no one argues if Christians should be generous. However, many people have discussed whether or not Christians are required to tithe.
Before tackling the response to this question, let’s take a moment to answer a foundational question to this conversation.
What is a tithe?
When was the last time you used the word “tithe” in a conversation?
If I were a gambling man, I’d bet never.
The word “tithe” isn’t often thrown around in everyday conversations. But this doesn’t mean it’s not a significant concept to understand as a Christian. Don’t let the "old" sound of the word throw you off. It’s straightforward to understand.
Here's the definition: A “tithe” is a tenth.
Now, when you hear the Church talk about “tithing,” they make be talking about giving in general, but they’re usually referring to donating a tenth of your income. And this is where things get… messy.
When you hear the Church talk about tithing, you might react like many do—unless you grew up in the Church—who naturally ask, “Do I need to tithe?”
This is a fair question, and unless someone is pointing a gun at you, it’s okay to ask. I mean, it’s not every day you give someone or an organization 10% of your income. So, what is a tithe according to the Bible?
Are Christians required to tithe?
Several responses have been developed to this question over the years. But most Christians believe one of these two responses below.
1. Christians are commanded to tithe
The argument: The tithe began in the Old Testament and carried on by Jesus Christ.
The foundation of this argument stands on two pillars:
First, the argument is made that the requirement to tithe was made before the Mosaic covenant (Gen. 14; 28; Heb. 7:1). If this true, then this means the tithe was not abolished in Christ and is still in force today.
Second, this position argues that Jesus affirmed the continuation of the tithe (Matt. 23:23). If Jesus upheld the tithe, then Christians are commanded to tithe today.
People who believe this position do not believe that Christians should not give more than a tithe or to other causes outside of the local church. The people who believe this position generally believe in the continuation of the tithe from the Old Testament.
2. Christians are commanded to give generously
The argument: Christians are called to give generously, but they’re not commanded to tithe.
This position boils down to two main points:
First, the tithes that were given by Abraham (Gen. 14) and Jacob (Gen. 28) are descriptions; not prescriptions. In other words, there is no additional evidence that Abraham and Jacob continued to tithe or that their actions were binding for others then or today.
Second, the New Testament does not command Christians to tithe. When giving is referenced in the New Testament, Christians are commanded to give generously (2 Cor. 8–9), but they are not commanded to tithe.
What am I supposed to do?
There are strengths and weaknesses in the two positions above, and the length of this blog post is not sufficient to cover them all. Hopwfully you will understand what is a tithe according to the Bible by the time you leave, but know that you'll likely spend more time researching, talking, and praying before you come to your own conclusion.
Regardless if you believe you’re commanded to tithe or give generously, we pray you follow the Lord with a clear conscience, give generously, and support your local church and other causes as you’re able.
When you place your faith in Christ, you will—in time–be transformed into a generous giver. This doesn’t mean you'll always be in a position to give 10 percent of your income. But it does mean that you’ll be transformed into a giver.
After you read this post, prayerfully consider your situation. Read the verses below. Study the different scriptures about giving and generosity. Reach out to your pastor or Christian community to answer your questions or to seek accountability.
106 Scriptures about tithing in the Bible, giving, and generosity
Do you need verses on tithing in the Bible to make the offering in your church more meaningful? Or maybe you’re looking to use scriptures on giving and generosity in your daily devotions? What about Bible verses you can use as part of a Bible study you release in your church app?
Regardless of what you’re looking for, here are over 100 scriptures on tithing in the Bible.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), but sometimes just knowing it isn't enough. We need our hearts to be moved. We need to hear stories and see examples. We need God's Word, the Bible, to inspire us. We need to learn what God says about tithing in the Bible.
Old Testament scriptures on tithing in the Bible
Genesis 14:19–20: (The first tithe) And he blessed him and said,“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Genesis 28:20–22: (Jacob offers a tithe) Jacob made a vow (to God), "If God will be with me and will watch over me…all that You give me I will give You a tenth.”
Exodus 35:5: From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering.
Exodus 35:21: Everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work.
Exodus 35:5: From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering.
From what you have, take an offering for the lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the lord an offering.
Exodus 35:22: All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the LORD.
Exodus 35:29: All the men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD…had commanded them to do.
Leviticus 27:30: (The tithe is introduced into law) A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.
Leviticus 27:32: The entire tithe of the herd and flock-- every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rod-- will be holy to the LORD.
Numbers 18:21: I give to the Levites (ministers) all the tithes…in return for the work they do while serving (the Lord).
Numbers 18:26: (The Levites tithe) Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, “When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe.”
Deuteronomy 12:5–7: Rather, you must seek the Lord your God at the place of worship he himself will choose from among all the tribes—the place where his name will be honored. There you will bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your sacred offerings, your offerings to fulfill a vow, your voluntary offerings, and your offerings of the firstborn animals of your herds and flocks. There you and your families will feast in the presence of the Lord your God, and you will rejoice in all you have accomplished because the Lord your God has blessed you.
Deuteronomy 14:22–23: You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.
Deuteronomy 14:27–29: At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.
Amos 4:4–5: (God requires more than the tithe) “Come to Bethel, and transgress; to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days; offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!” declares the Lord God.
2 Chronicles 31:4–5: And he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the Lord. As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the first fruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field. And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.
2 Chronicles 31:6: The men…brought a tithe of their herds and flocks and a tithe of the holy things dedicated to the LORD their God, and they piled them in heaps…When King Hezekiah and his officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the LORD and blessed God’s people.
2 Chronicles 31:12: God’s people faithfully brought in the contributions, tithes and dedicated gifts.
Nehemiah 10:35–37: We obligate ourselves to bring the first fruits of our ground and the first fruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the Lord; also to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God, the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks; and to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring to the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor.
Nehemiah 12:43–44: (God’s people) offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing…could be heard far away. Men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, first fruits and tithes.
Nehemiah 12:47: All (of God’s people) contributed the daily portions for the singers, gatekeepers…Levites (ministers).
Nehemiah 13:11–12: I rebuked the officials and asked them, "Why is the house of God neglected?" Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts. All (God’s people) brought the tithes…into the storerooms.
Malachi 3:7–9: Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to return?' "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse-- the whole nation of you-- because you are robbing me.
Malachi 3:10–12: Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
Malachi 3:11–12: (God says to those who bring him tithes and offerings) “I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land.”
1 Kings 17:13, 8–16: Elijah said to (the starving widow woman), "Don't be afraid…first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the LORD says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry’…She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
Exodus 36:3–6: The people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work and said to Moses, "The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done." Then Moses gave an order…"No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary." And so the people were restrained from bringing more.
Malachi 1:6–7: "A son honors his father, a servant honors his master. I am your Father and Master, yet you don't honor me…you despise my name." "Who? Us?" you say. "When did we ever despise your name?" "When you offer polluted sacrifices on my altar." "Polluted sacrifices? When have we ever done a thing like that?" "Every time you say, 'Don't bother bringing anything very valuable to offer to God!'”
Malachi 1:8–10: (God’s ministers tell people) 'Lame animals are all right to offer on the altar of the Lord-- yes, even the sick and the blind ones.' And you claim this isn't evil? Try it on your governor sometime-- give him gifts like that-- and see how pleased he is!… I have no pleasure in you," says the Lord Almighty, "and I will not accept your offerings.”
Malachi 1:11: “My name will be honored…from morning till night. All around the world people will offer…pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name shall be great among the nations," says the Lord Almighty.
Malachi 1:12–13: (Ministers dishonor God by telling people) God’s altar is not important and encouraging people to bring cheap, sick animals to offer to God. "You say, 'Oh, it's too difficult to serve the Lord and do what he asks.' And you turn up your noses at the rules he has given you to obey. Think of it! Stolen animals, lame and sick-- as offerings to God! Should I accept such offerings as these?" asks the Lord.
Malachi 1:14: “Cursed is that man who promises a fine ram from his flock and substitutes a sick one to sacrifice to God. For I am a Great King," says the Lord Almighty, "and my name is to be mightily revered among the people of the world."
Haggai 1:4: "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while (God’s) house remains a ruin?"
Haggai 1:5–8: This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways…build (My) house…so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored.”
Haggai 1:9–11: "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands."
Proverbs 11:24–25: One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Proverbs 3:9–10: Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 18:9: One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
Proverbs 22:9: A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.
Proverbs 28:22: A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.
Proverbs 28:27: He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.
1 Chronicles 29:2–3: (King David said to God’s people) “With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God—gold…silver…bronze…iron…wood…onyx…turquoise…all kinds of fine stone and marble-- all of these in large quantities. In my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided.
1 Chronicles 29:5–8: (King David said to the leaders) “Who is willing to consecrate himself today to the LORD?" Then the leaders of families…officers…commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds…and the officials…gave willingly. They gave toward the work on the temple of God gold…silver…bronze…iron. Any who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the LORD.
1 Chronicles 29:9: The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.
1 Chronicles 29:11–12: Everything in heaven and earth is Yours, O LORD. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
1 Chronicles 29:13–14: (David prayed to God) “God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
1 Chronicles 29:16: LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.
I Chronicles 29:17: (David prayed to God) “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these (offerings) I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”
Ezra 2:68–69: Families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God. According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work.
Deuteronomy 28:12: The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.
Deuteronomy 28:13: The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
Psalm 50:10: Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills…the creatures of the field are mine… the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Deuteronomy 8:18: Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.
Deuteronomy 16:10: Celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you.
Deuteronomy 16:16: No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed.
Deuteronomy 16:17: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.
1 Samuel 30:24: The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.
Isaiah 32:8: The noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.
The noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.
Tithing in the New Testament
Matthew 23:23: "Woe to you, teachers of the law…You give a tenth…But you have neglected the more important matters-- justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
Luke 6:38: If you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give-- large or small-- will be used to measure what is given back to you.
Luke 6:38: Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Luke 18:9–14: He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Matthew 6:1–4: Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
2 Corinthians 8:2–2: Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
2 Corinthians 8:5: They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.
2 Corinthians 8:7: Just as you excel in everything-- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-- see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
2 Corinthians 8:9: You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:10–11: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.
2 Corinthians 8:12: If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
2 Corinthians 8:12
2 Corinthians 8:20–21: We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.
2 Corinthians 9:5: I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.
2 Corinthians 9:6: Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
2 Corinthians 9:7: Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:8: God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:10: Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
2 Corinthians 9:11: You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:12: This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
2 Corinthians 9:13: Men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
Matthew 6:25: (Jesus said) "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Matthew 6:26: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:27–31: Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
Matthew 6:33–34: Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (food, clothing, drink) will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Mark 12:41–44: Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-- all she had to live on."
1 Corinthians 16:2: On every Lord's Day each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week, and use it for this offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you earn.
1 Timothy 6:6–8: Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
1 Timothy 6:9: People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
1 Timothy 6:10: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1 Timothy 6:17–19: Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Matthew 6:19–21: (Jesus said) "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Hebrews 6:10: God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
Acts 2:44–45: All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Acts 4:34–35: There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
Acts 4:36: Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.
Romans 12:13: Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Hebrews 13:16: Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Hebrews 7:1–2: For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.
I John 3:17: If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
I John 3:17
Luke 18:22–25: When Jesus heard this, he said to the rich young ruler, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Luke 11:42: But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
Galatians 6:6:Those who are taught the Word of God should help their teachers by paying them.
Galatians 6:6: Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
Matthew 25:35–40: I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?’…"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Acts 20:35: (Remember Jesus’ words when he said) “It is more blessed to give than to receive.
There you have it. More info on what a tithe is according to the Bible along with plenty of scriptures to help you both understand tithing as well as generous giving based on Biblical principals and commands.
Over 100 Bible verses on tithing, giving, and generosity.
Remember, tithes were used by God to take care of his people in the Old Testament. But even in the New Testament, it's through generous giving that God continues to bless his people and advance his Kingdom as we remember the importance of giving to support the local church.
Love it or hate it, your church must manage money.
If your church has a more extensive staff, then managing church finances may not be a big problem. You most likely have the bandwidth to delegate this work to a trained staff member or outsource your needs to an accountant.
For many smaller churches, managing your church’s money can be a little trickier.
You might not know a lot about church finances best practices. You may have a volunteer, a reluctant member of your staff who does this part-time, or even the pastor or the pastor’s wife overseeing your church’s finances. Easier said than done, right?
Keeping track of donations and expenses, following church financial management best practices, and even knowing where to start or where you’re going as a church is challenging if you don’t have adequate time or the right training. Before you grab a paper bag or press the panic button, hang tight. We’ve got you covered. This article will cover how to effectively manage church finances.
In this post, we’re going to walk you through tips you must-know for managingyour church’s finances, including:
Basic budgeting tips
How to track donations and expenses
Protecting your church’s integrity
So sit back, buckle up, and soak up these tips.
#1. Learn the basics of budgeting
The best way you can steward your church’s financial resources is to create (and follow) a budget.
Depending on the size of your church and your total annual donations, you may not have a dedicated staff member who is managing church finances, and you may feel overwhelmed by the thought of cracking open your church’s checkbook. If this is you, don’t worry about becoming financially savvy.
Unless you were trained as an accountant or have experience with managing budgets, as a pastor or volunteer, you don't need to worry about becoming a certified public accountant (CPA). Your goal is to know the basics of budgeting, which are reasonably simple and never changing.
To help you think through your church’s budget, assess the current state of your finances by reviewing the last 1-3 years of your financial statements.
During your review, you also want to take a look at the trends in your church’s attendance and giving. Keep an eye on whether or not your church is experiencing a gradual or sharp increase or decline in giving. It’s a good idea to know where you’re at before you move ahead with significant financial decisions.
For your budget, there are three crucial benchmarks your church need needs to measure. Knowing how your church’s budget compares with other churches will help you to understand how efficient your church is operating.
According to AG Financial Solutions, here are the three crucial benchmarks for church budgets:
Office Expenses: <10%
Within these categories, you will have many different line items. But overall, these are good numbers for your church to aim for in your budget.
Also, if you follow these guidelines, then this will leave your church with plenty of wiggle room for giving toward ministry and saving.
If you’re new new setting a church budget or just need some help seeing how other churches budget, here are some resources you can review:
Do you have a clear understanding of your church’s finances?
Well, let me ask you, do you nervously sweat at the end of the month? Or, does the end of your church’s financial fiscal year make your heart skip a beat?
If you answered anything other than “no" to these two questions, then you don’t have a clear understanding of your church’s financial situation, or you know too much, and it makes you nervous.
Church finances best practices require that, you, your staff, or a volunteer will need to keep track of how many donations your church receives (revenue) and how much money your church spends (expenses).
Another significant trend to track in your church is how much the average member donates. The easiest way you can measure your average member contributions is to divide your total donations by the number of giving units in your church, which sounds so robotic to say.
A giving unit is an individual, couple or family who gives to your church. It doesn’t matter how your church defines a giving unit. The main thing is that you pick a definition and consistently apply it in your financial analysis.
To help make this more practical, if your church received $120,000 in donations in 2017, and you have 100 giving units (who are members of your church), then your average giving per unit is $1,200 per year.
So, this means if your church’s membership increases by 10, then you can consider forecasting an additional $12,000 in your budget. Or, if your membership decreases by 10, then you will need to reduce your budget by $12,000.
#3. Set up recurring giving (like, yesterday)
What if you could know how much someone was going to give to your church every month? This would make your budgeting process and church financial planning significantly easier, right? We think so.
Basically, if you have more people who give to your church on an automatic, recurring basis, the better you can budget for current and future expenses. Think about it this way.
Picking up our example from above, say the average giving unit in your church donates $100 per month. Now, let’s say this person or family gets sick, forgets their checkbook, or goes on vacation and misses the opportunity to give three times during the year. If you’re following along with the math, that means their annual giving has dipped to $900.
A loss of $300 per year isn’t too big of a deal if we’re only talking about one giving unit. However, if you multiply this by 100 (from our example above), then your church’s budget has a deficit of $30,000, which is 25% of your total donations. If you can’t say “amen,” say “ouch.” This also makes church financial planning more difficult as you can't predictably plan and set your budget for the year.
To help you avoid this scenario or other common slumps in summer and holiday giving, and to better serve your members who desire to give a certain amount, lead givers to set up recurring giving. Doing this will help your givers fulfill their desires and it will help your church to know what to expect each month with giving.
“How does automated giving improve our church’s finances?”
Great question and I’m glad you asked.
In general, people who sign up for recurring giving donate more frequently and donate more per year. For your church, automated giving creates a steady and predictable source of donations. What is more, date from Network for Good shows that donors who set up recurring contributions give 42% more annually versus those who make one-time donations.
Your church will experience more consistent giving
Your church’s members will be encouraged
The easiest way for you to lead your church to automate their giving is to encourage members who regularly give a check to automate their giving. With Tithe.ly, your members can create an account and set up recurring giving with a few clicks.
#4. Protect your church’s integrity
Here’s the unfortunate reality we live in: Stealing is a problem inside and outside of the church. As a church, your leadership is called to stay above reproach (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6-7). So, it’s essential for your church to have a variety of safeguards in place to protect the integrity of your church and leadership.
Here are a few things for you to consider:
Require dual signatures
Limit access to bank information
Reconcile your ledger
Encourage volunteer rotation
Coordinate an external audit
For additional financial security, Aubrey Malphurs and Steve Stroope recommend removing your church’s senior leadership from being directly involved with the church’s finances. This idea may not be possible for your church. But if you can make this move, it will provide you with an added level of financial integrity, and this arrangement will also give your members peace of mind knowing that your pastor and staff are not involved in their life based on whether or not they donate to your church.
#5. Save for a rainy day
It’s a good idea for your church to have a financial cushion. As you know, your church will have unexpected expenses or your church may experience an extended decrease in giving.
Based on a survey conducted by Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax Group, the average church set aside 2% of their annual toward building their cash reserves, which is another good benchmark for you to keep in mind.
As you build your cash reserves, aim to save enough for your church to cover 3-6 months of expenses.
As a church leader, you have to walk a fine line when it comes to talking about money—you can talk too much or too little about your church’s finances.
In your church, there are two groups of people you need to keep in mind when sharing financial information: your congregation and your leadership.
Regarding to your congregation, it’s hard to say how much is too much or too little to share. For some churches, they have a history of sharing weekly updates, whereas other churches may share a financial update once per month, quarter, or year. So, how often you choose to update your church is up to you. Just aim to be consistent with your frequency.
Now, if your church has a financial emergency, then it may be a good idea to inform your congregation. Before you spill the beans, consider talking through the situation and what you’re going to say with your church's leadership first. Talking with your leadership early will give them the information they need, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
For regularly sharing financial information with your leadership, consider including a financial update in your regular business meetings. You don’t need to go through every line item in your budget necessarily. But you should consider discussing the three crucial benchmarks listed above and your church’s trends in giving and attendance.
Time to manage your church’s finances
That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Yes, managing your church’s finances can be stressful. But following these seven must-know tips will help you to navigate your way through all of the numbers.
As a recap, here are the tips for managing your church’s finances we recommend:
Learn the basics of budgeting
Keep track of your expenses and donations
Set up recurring giving (like, yesterday)
Protect your church’s integrity
Save for a rainy day
Talk about money with your church
What tips would you add to this list? Is there something, in particular, you find helpful? Let’s chat in the comments below!
Expert Tips on How to Effectively Launch a New Online Giving Tool
I always tell people, "you need to clean your house before you invite friends over". It's crucial that your giving platform is easily found, whether it's on the web or in the church.
On the web, making sure that your website is mobile friendly (Google and Bing both recommend mobile responsive design) can be a huge help. You can also incorporate bots from Facebook or a service like Intercom to help walk people through online giving on your website. When necessary, a human can jump in and help too. This helps complete the process from being found online to completing the online giving.
Tell them the real reasons. Giving members are concerned with what's best for the church and not just what they individually prefer. Transparency.
"This platform will allow us to better manage finances and spend less staff time on the books and more on people." etc. The temptation is to treat members like consumers who we need to impress instead of team members. Treat them like equals who you assume are interested in what's best for the church/ mission and people will likely rise to it.
Launch a $3.16 campaign. Ask people to all give just $3.16 to a weekly or bi-weekly blessing fund. Then, pick one person or cause to bless IN TOWN and go give that person all the money collected.
It could be the all volunteer firefighter squad in town. "We'll take all the $3.16's collected and go buy a meal or treat and drop off for the firefighters who volunteer."
It could be a widow the church knows about - bless her with something new for her home or hobby or pets.
Single mothers - supply them with a night out. Or pay for a house cleaner or a handyman for a couple of hours.
Special needs families - pay for evening out for the parents and child care for the special needs kids so the parents get a break.
You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
This works incredibly well because you are teaching generosity / outward posture to your people on a consistent basis and getting people to give on mobile- while making it about PARTICIPATION vs AMOUNT. You'll have people regularly trying out the mobile option as well as pre-register them in the system.
There you have it! Some amazing tips, right?
Which tip stood out the most to you … or looked to be the craziest?! Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!
Tithe.ly powers mobile, text, and web giving for churches and ministries.