Going Old Testament with Your Tithe

When we think about tithing today, we often picture ourselves giving ten percent of our paycheck to a local church. Sometimes that involves making a donation through a mobile app, sometimes it’s dropping a check in the plate as it’s getting passed by.

Either way, we tend to think of tithing as a practice of giving money. But how did tithing work in the Old Testament, when it began? You might be surprised to know that:

  • People more often donated grain, wine, and animals than money. (They could give cash, but that was a little more expensive.)
  • Those donations didn’t just go to the clergy of the times—some went to the community, and some was eaten as a feast.
  • The people of Israel may have given anywhere from ten percent to twenty-three percent of their income!

There’s a lot we can learn about how tithing worked in Bible times, so we put together an infographic to illustrate. Check it out—and if you know anyone who would get a kick out of this information, please share!

HowTithingWorkedinOT

> Read more from Derek.


 Would you like to learn more about the tithe and generosity in your church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Gillette

My name is Derek Gillette and I am the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay. I like to use analogies and metaphors as a way to tell better stories. If you are a church, ministry, or non-profit leader, contact me to learn how eChurchGiving & Pushpay helps engage with young and first time givers to build lasting relationships.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

4 Ways to Use Your Giving Time to Extend an Invitation

I visited a church recently.

In between the worship and the Word, they did something called corporate prayer.  During this time, members of the church, from their seats, would pray aloud the things that were on their heart for the city, specifically the homeless ministry.  One by one they lifted their voices as we bore witness. It was incredibly moving.

As a first time attendee at the church, no one asked me to give. They of course placed no such expectations on me. But in the moment, as I listened to those prayers, my heart was stirred. I wanted to support the work they were doing in the city.

In fact, it would have been great if my gift also opted me into the church’s email system so that I could stay updated on the homeless ministry.  While it wasn’t my home church, I could see myself giving additional volunteer time or funds as the need arose in the future.

Events such as Easter, Christmas, and other special events bring in new visitors, and I’m sure asking these first time attendees to give is the last thing on your mind.

But what if, like me, their heart is stirred.  Do you have a giving solution in place that’s simple, mobile friendly, and offers an immediate email reply to say thank you and we’d love to spend more time with you?

Here are four best practices of churches that know how to use their giving time to extend an invitation:

1. Cast the Vision

Just like in my experience, the thing that most moved me was hearing the passion behind the vision of the church.  I listened to first hand stories and prayers from church members.  This wasn’t an idea or wishful thinking, it was church on the move and my financial contributions would have an immediate impact.

2. Utilize Technology

As with many people these days, I just don’t carry cash or own checkbooks.  We’re also subject to the terrible statistic that says we each have about an 8-second attention span.  Distractions are plenty.  In fact, one study showed that if an online transaction took more than 3 minutes, 85% of people gave up.

This is where a mobile friendly giving solution can help make the barrier to a first time gift extremely low, especially if the gift doesn’t require the giver to create a login.

As well, make sure your donor database is connected with an email tool like Mailchimp, so that givers can stay up to date on the progress you’re making with your church’s vision and the impact their gift is having.

3. Have an On-Going Communication Strategy

I read recently that 74% of online adults use social media.  This isn’t just for young people anymore.  Conversations are happening online, as well as in person, over coffee, in small groups, etc.  A comprehensive communication strategy addresses each of these formats and makes sure that your church is as much a part of the conversation as possible.

Do you have someone monitoring your social media accounts?  Do you have a regular email newsletter going out?  Do you have small group resources and a special email list just for small group leaders?  What training are you giving your welcoming team about introducing visitors to the vision of your church?  All of these elements should be covered in your communication strategy.

4. Giving without Borders

Statistics tell us that people are coming to church only 1.7x a month now, so how do we connect with people outside of the church building? With the rise in online services, digital content, and small groups throughout the week, attending church on Sunday isn’t the same as it used to be.  There’s many more ways to connect with the church body and receive teaching other than coming to the building.  This isn’t right or wrong, it’s just the new reality that we face.

There are a couple of considerations here.  First, when your church members are on the go, do they have a mobile friendly way to respond generously when they feel led, rather than having to wait until next Sunday?  Second, do you have a discipleship plan in place that reaches people where they are?  This could include volunteering opportunities, mentoring, digital curriculum, and online recordings of services.

> Read more from Derek.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Gillette

My name is Derek Gillette and I am the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay. I like to use analogies and metaphors as a way to tell better stories. If you are a church, ministry, or non-profit leader, contact me to learn how eChurchGiving & Pushpay helps engage with young and first time givers to build lasting relationships.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

When Our Calling Isn’t Enough

Recently we had the privilege of participating in several church planting events, including ARC, Exponential East, and Stadia.

The level of passion and enthusiasm we saw was unparalleled.  I can’t tell you how many pastors spoke to me about their calling.  They left no doubt that this was the decision God had asked them to make.

Meeting these expectant pastors reminded me of an article I had read several months before in the Christian Post.  The article referenced research done by Warren Bird and Ed Stetzer claiming that U.S. churches were no longer in decline.

Their primary metric to prove this was that, according to their research done in 2010, 4,000 new churches were being planted each year, compared to 3,500 that close their doors.  Essentially working out to a positive net 500 churches.

A secondary data source, from the Barna Group and mentioned by Pastor James McDonald in a 2013 article, claimed that there are now 4,000 churches that close each year, equal to the number of church plants.

In summary, anywhere from 3,500-4,000 churches close each year, while approximately the same number are planted in their place.

There’s positives and negatives to take from this data, but the simple fact remains that the average American church has an attendance of 75 people, and approximately 80% of all churches are either stagnant or declining in terms of attendance growth.

Advice from popular pastor Tim Keller, quoted in the aforementioned Christian Post article, suggests one potential solution to the problem, “The only way to increase the number of Christians in a city is to plant thousands of new churches.”

But is this really the answer?

There must be a reason why some churches survive, grow, and thrive, while 4,000 others close each year.

Countless church consulting groups have identified the “stuck” nature of many churches, and are now creating programs specifically tailored to create growth.

Two of these programs in particular target the small church.  Tony Morgan’s Unstuck Group launched a program call GrowthSolutions with the goal of helping small churches, “take intentional steps towards growing their church to 500 in weekly attendance.”

The other group, simply titled Grow, is a ministry of Church of the Highlands, and since 2010 they’ve been pursuing a goal of, “helping 1,000 churches under 1,000 in weekly attendance break that barrier.”

The two initiatives represent comprehensive programs, led by industry experts, dedicated to helping churches find a way to survive, grow, and thrive.

At the end of the day though, if for a second we can remove spiritual elements such as faith and calling, church success comes down to a single word: participation.

As a church, your best ideas, most well thought out programs, and truest intentions cannot survive the absence of participation.

On the positive side, when we have participation, it allows for amazing growth and spiritual maturity through those very same discipleship programs.

Here are three ways churches can focus on increasing participation without sacrificing calling.

Increasing Participation Comes Down to Three Elements

1. Generate Excitement by Leading with Generosity

In our book, Be Prolific, Brad Leeper of Generis made this profound statement, “Generosity is now the best apologetic we as Christ followers have to a watching and needy world.”

His point is that generosity is now so counter-culture, that to see an individual or group practicing it in ridiculous excess is the one thing that catches people’s attention.  As a pastor, lead the charge.  When was the last time you publically gave financially to your church?  Or to another church or ministry?

During the holidays this last year, we matched the first Sunday offering of churches who signed on with Pushpay, up to $500, as a way to generate excitement from individual givers.  Find a way to create a matching moment in your church as an excitement generator!

2. Make First Time & On-Going Participation Easy

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the statistics still remain the same.  80% of church attendees do not give or volunteer on a regular basis.  I refuse to believe that these 80% are just extremely selfish individuals, seeking to take more than they give.  I imagine them to be not so different from myself: busy, slightly distracted, managing a family, and splitting time between work, church, a non-profit, side projects, hobbies, and quality time with my wife.

These aren’t excuses, they simply speak to the fast-moving and always-on culture that most of us find ourselves in everyday.  As a church that is serious about increasing participation, how do we interrupt that flow for a moment to encourage first time engagement?

Use technology to do three things really well: make giving & church communications available through apps on the mobile phone, collect and manage email addresses to send highly targeted invitations, and be proactive in creating on-going real-time conversations through social media.

 3. Never Lose Sight of the True Goal

Rachel Held Evans wrote a spectacular commentary in the Washington Post this past week, titled, “Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church cool.”

Her point is that participation isn’t tied to flash or bang, but rather to authenticity and substance.  For example, “You can snag all sorts of free swag for brand loyalty online, but church is the only place where you are named a beloved child of God with a cold plunge into the water. You can share food with the hungry at any homeless shelter, but only the church teaches that a shared meal brings us into the very presence of God.”

Echoing her sentiment is blogger Amy Peterson, also mentioned in Evans’ article, “At church, I do not want to be entertained. I do not want to be the target of anyone’s marketing. I want to be asked to participate in the life of an ancient-future community.”

The true goal is not participation in our church, but rather participation in the life of being a disciple of Christ.  Keeping this front and center is essential as we move away from entertainment and towards true church growth.

I’ll leave you with a final line that I heard from one of my favorite worship leaders, Will Reagan of United Pursuit.  During a recent worship set he made this statement, “There’s a new development in Christianity where we’re beginning to see it as more of a participation and less of a club.”

Amen!

> Read more from Derek.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Gillette

My name is Derek Gillette and I am the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay. I like to use analogies and metaphors as a way to tell better stories. If you are a church, ministry, or non-profit leader, contact me to learn how eChurchGiving & Pushpay helps engage with young and first time givers to build lasting relationships.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Tension Between Technology and Faith

There’s a tension that exists sometimes when you talk about the relationship between technology and the church. A few months ago we wrote an article titled, “How Pastors Can Lead Their Church to Greater Year-End Giving.” One of the reader comments stuck out to me:

The title of this article shows the sad state of many churches today…I want to vomit when I see articles like this.

This commenter continued by saying:

When a congregation is walking with the Lord and the Holy Spirit is moving in peoples hearts and transforming them to be more like Christ, you do not need to ever preach on giving or come up with gimmicks and ideas to increase peoples giving. They will give because they are moved by the spirit to give.

Yes, the tension between technology and faith is very real.  

We wanted to dig more into the connection between faith, relevance, and technology and so we put together a short three-question study.  We then administered this study to some of the 2,500 attendees of at the recent Nazarene M15 Conference.

> Question 1:  On a scale of 1-5, how relevant do you feel your church is to your local community?

Church leaders, as a group, rated themselves a 3.5 out of 5 in terms of relevance.  This answer speaks to a feeling that their church is planted firmly in the middle between relevance and being out of touch.  Many of the pastors made comments to the effect of, “We’re close, but we’re just not quite there yet.”

> Question 2: On a scale of 1-5, how big of a role do you feel technology plays in staying relevant?

When we asked specifically about the role of technology, 78% of church leaders believe it plays a crucial or very important role in staying relevant.

> Question 3: What holds you back from being more relevant and effective in your local community: time, money, technology, or people catching the vision?

For this final question, we wanted to force church leaders to choose one of four potential lacks: time, money, technology, or people catching the vision.  We know that this is a bit of an impossible question, since they all play a part, and many pastors wanted to select all of the above.  However, when forced to choose one, 67% of church leaders chose people catching the vision.  And an underwhelming 5% chose technology as their primary lack.

What does this tell us?

While technology will never replace the importance of catching the vision, it plays a crucial role in helping churches stay relevant.

Keeping this in mind, it starts to make sense why some would feel so negative about promoting giving techniques and technology.  Technology, in place of a heart and vision connection, is never an acceptable substitute.  In fact, when responding to our original commenter, this is what I said:

What’s been really cool for us [Pushpay] is to see churches who partner with us, and after going live, see the amount of new givers increase by as much as 33%. That’s huge!

Now, were these people not obedient before, or was their heart not in the right place, or were they spiritually lacking?  I’m not sure how to answer that, but I do know that they are giving faithfully now and the church as a whole is benefitting.

How do we preserve the balance?

When we talk to churches about giving technology, we use the phrase, “Unlocking Generosity.”  This refers back to a statistic we collected several months ago on Facebook: 80% of people want to be more generous than they currently are, but 92% feel held back by a lack of money.  The desire to be generous exists; it’s just waiting to be unlocked.

I like to use the analogy of working out.  We all know we need to do it, most of us want to do it, but the act of signing up for a gym membership and then driving there multiple times a week, it’s something that very few of us do consistently.  However, if a gym existed next door to my house and a personal trainer was there waiting for me, working out would become a lot more of a regular habit.

For some people, probably 20% of us, they will exercise consistently no matter the circumstances.  For the remaining 80%, we may exercise from time to time, but getting that extra boost is what’s needed to develop a healthy and regular routine.

We work hard to help churches engage those 80% of non-regular givers, knowing that the technology is just a tool to make the process easier, resulting in an outcome that gets us all excited: a changed heart and healthy habits that help transform us to be more like Christ.

> Read more from Derek.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Gillette

My name is Derek Gillette and I am the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay. I like to use analogies and metaphors as a way to tell better stories. If you are a church, ministry, or non-profit leader, contact me to learn how eChurchGiving & Pushpay helps engage with young and first time givers to build lasting relationships.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Stop Asking Millennials for Money

Drawing on the findings from research into giving by millennials here and here, I’ve compiled six traits of young givers that charities and non-profits would be wise to keep in mind as they look to engage with the $200b spending power of the Millennial generation:

1. We like to invest in ideas that actually make a difference

Photos of starving children don’t stir us to donate, rather they stir us to care about fixing the root of the problem. We want to donate toward something that will help prevent poverty, hunger and trafficking altogether. Have you noticed the term “social enterprise” is on the rise? As the discussion on development and market-based solutions is advancing, so is our interest in innovative ideas to donate to. Or rather invest in.

2. Our buying looks like our giving

Many creatives and entrepreneurs have recognized the opportunity to blend social impact with business. This competition has driven an increase in the quality of socially-benefitting goods, and they’re no longer just unworn beaded bracelets from Africa. Many of them are really cool and mainstream now. Check out Boll & Branch’s comfy fair trade and organic throw blankets, or these leather bags and jewelry from fashionABLE.

3. The experience is everything

The cost of traditional entertainment is through the roof these days. Since we go to the movies less these days (the cost of that alone rivals a nice meal out), we instead hope our donation experience will give us some level of satisfaction. Invitations to attend meet and greats, events, volunteer functions, and best yet, a seat at the table for decision-making, all of these engage the Millennial’s desire to create a memorable experience.

4. Smartphones are good for more than just social media

For years, charities have pushed social media campaigns on us, inviting us to share and tag and hashtag and what not. But we’re doing more on our smartphone than just social media. Propelled into the mainstream by the introduction of Apple Pay, more of us are not carrying around cash, and we’re definitely not carrying around checkbooks. We want the ease of payment through our phones, but only if it can be as simple and streamlined as a song download. At eChurchGiving we’ve found that 85 percent of users abandon mobile giving attempts if the transaction takes longer than 30 seconds. Average experiences for online giving can take up to three or more minutes. That’s a major lost opportunity for most charities and churches.

5. Embrace the Thrifty

As mentioned above, many Millennials are caught in this tension of feeling generous, wanting to be more generous, but being held back by thrifty habits. However, position a campaign in a way that taps into both thriftiness and generosity, and Millennials will jump on board. An example, Kickstarter’s Founder just started Dollar a Day, where you commit to donate a dollar each day, and they send you an email each morning with the story of the non-profit your dollar went to. That’s one thrifty way of donating $365.

6. It’s cool to care

I grew up in an era where it was cool not to care, about anything. Sagging pants, oversized hoodies, poor posture, and one word answers, these were the character traits of many popular figures. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. The rise of technology has made intellect a valued commodity. Combine that with the shared desire to leave the world a better place, it’s all of a sudden really really cool to care. And not just to care, but to do something about it.

How are you engaging the Millennials in your church in generosity?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Gillette

My name is Derek Gillette and I am the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay. I like to use analogies and metaphors as a way to tell better stories. If you are a church, ministry, or non-profit leader, contact me to learn how eChurchGiving & Pushpay helps engage with young and first time givers to build lasting relationships.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

clarkd52 — 05/13/15 2:14 pm

Or they could be taught that giving is not for us to feel good about, but to honor God with the resources He blessed us with.

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.