When Church Giving Comes With Strings Attached
Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer

It is amazing to hear how church members view their tithes and offerings to their local churches. Though it’s cliché to say, the attitudes of their hearts reflect the nature of their contributions to the church.

I recently looked at hundreds of comments on this issue on this blog and on Church Answers. The attitudes in which church members gave were easily divided into two categories: church giving and church dues. In simplest term, church giving is an act where the member lets go of the funds with no reservations. He or she truly gives the money to God through the church. Church dues, though, have strings attached. They are not as much gifts as they are membership dues to receive certain rights and perks.

Look at each of these sets of eight characteristics. You will likely identify most of your givers versus dues payers in your church.

Church Giving

  1. Gifts are given with a heart of gratitude.
  2. The giver never speaks of the funds as “my money.”
  3. The giver has zero expectation of personal benefits from the church in exchange for the funds.
  4. The gifts are viewed by the giver as part of his or her walk of discipleship with Christ.
  5. The giver seeks no recognition, plaques, or naming privileges for the funds.
  6. The giver gives with joy.
  7. If the giver has any regrets about the funds, it is that he or she really wants to give more.
  8. The funds are “first fruits.” They are the first amounts taken out of paychecks and other sources of income.

Church Dues

  1. Funds are viewed as membership dues with entitlement benefits.
  2. The giver loves recognition for the funds donated.
  3. The donor withholds funds when something does not go his or her way. Indeed, the person will often attempt to persuade others to do the same.
  4. Money is almost always given with expectations. It is “my money.”
  5. Funds are often given from what is left over rather than first fruits.
  6. Donor sees money as a right to determine church spending without regard for the rest of the membership.
  7. These donors love to give designated funds since they have more control over “my money.”
  8. Giving to the church is a source of pride for the donor.

What would you add to these lists? Do you have more church giving or church dues?


This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on September 12. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer

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