Pastor, do you call yours a "grace" church when it's really not? Do you tell you people that the bible does not require anything of them, but you still give them a high bar to clear in the area of giving?
Do you tell your folks that Christ is about relationships and not regulations, yet you still give them one last rule? Do you tell them that Jesus loves them no matter what, yet remind them every week of the one thing that might change God's treatment of them?
I'm talking about the tithe.
This post isn't a tithe rant. I deal with the subject more thoroughly elsewhere (see my 2,000 Gifts E-Paper). But what I am talking about is being straight with your people. You can't have your cake, and eat it too.
You can't boast that you're a church that avoids religion, while holding onto religious traditions. You can't tell people you're different than other churches because you've abandoned church rules, but then tell them they must tithe a tenth of their incomes. It's hypocrisy to cuddle up to folks with your grace words and then hold the tithe standard over their heads like it's somehow tied to God's happy smile.
It's time that churches start talking straight on this matter.
If the tithe is the only rule standing in your church, then let’s hear it - Folks, we have abandoned all the rules in the bible except one. And here's why.
Or if you truly believe in the all-grace message and wish to rethink your tithe posture, lets hear that - Folks, we're afraid we've been holding a certain standard over your heads while trying to preach a grace message. It's time we revisit this matter and all get on the same page.
You'll find just how supportive and understanding your folks will be. They appreciate honesty and humility. They're tired of the bait and switch with mixed messages - especially when it involves money!
When you tell people that there are no biblical rules, then you surprise them with the one-size-fits-all, ten percent clause, it's confusing. When you preach a heavy message of grace then make them feel guilty if they don't tithe, it just flies smack in the face of this idea that grace abounds with regard to our spiritual choices.
If you're a grace church, teach what the bible says about giving and put them in position to act on the grace. Or if you absolutely believe the tithe is the golden giving standard for everyone, then make sure you use the "grace" word selectively and appropriately.
You may think I'm hammering the tithe-teachers, but I'm not. I understand the tithe topic is a doozy and not everyone agrees about it the same way. I don't plan to settle that debate. All I want to do is encourage teachers, leaders, pastors to be thoughtful and clear with their words and messaging…and to show their true colors.
If you're on the read team, wear red uniforms. If the blue team, wear blue. Don't pretend to be on one team but wear another team's colors.
JEFF ANDERSON speaks and writes about walking with God, with an approach to discipleship that combines scripture and story. He’s the author of two books, Plastic Donuts and Divine Applause (January 2015).
Jeff began his career working as a CPA for a Big Six accounting firm, then became a day trader in the stock market. Following that, he joined Crown Financial Ministries as vice-president for North America Generosity Initiatives. He now speaks, writes, and consults with churches and ministries. Jeff and his wife, Stephanie have four children.www.DivineApplause.com