Giving money, asking for money, pledging money--these are usually complicated issues for the church filled with ambivalence. But if there is one thing people really don't like to hear from the pulpit, it is the biblical truth of tithing. I do understand, because it's hard for me too. Although I have prayed about it a lot and have come a long way.
According to research, pastors and their families give a much higher percentage of income to the church than others. Most Americans give from 1 to 1.5%. In our church the percentage is higher, but my spouse has preached giving and our community has benefited from the fruit of our church's generosity. So we have a growing number of folks who tithe.
A related issue is should a pastor know what members give? Here there are legitimate concerns no matter what you think. Even in the church, people are people; and people who give more often think they are entitled to more--more of the pastor's time and attention--more leadership positions--more say in how things are done. Then there are the people who lead you to believe that they give a lot but don't. These folks often want the prestige or people to look up to them, but they don't have the spiritual fruit to pull it off without their pretense. But there are also the people who are generous with their money but remain humble and don't make a big show about what they give.
But how does the pastor know, if he or she doesn't see the financial records?
Jesus talked about money a lot, saying it is a spiritual issue. If the pastor is the spiritual leader, then shouldn't the pastor know what people give? Is what people give a spiritual barometer of the church's spiritual health? As you can tell, I have mixed feelings, but lean toward the pastor knowing.
What do you think? Do you know what people give?