Less Than Ten Percent Tithe

Oh, the irony: Less than ten percent of adults in the United States tithe. The latest report from the Barna Group focuses on Trends in Tithing and Donating. Here are some of the results:

In 2007, the research revealed that just 5% of adults tithed. Not surprisingly, some population groups were more likely than others to have given away at least ten percent of their income. Among the most generous segments were evangelicals (24% of whom tithed); conservatives (12%); people who had prayed, read the Bible and attended a church service during the past week (12%); charismatic or Pentecostal Christians (11%); and registered Republicans (10%).

Interestingly, Christians gave the most of any one group of donors, and evangelical Christians gave the most of any Christian group.

Christians tend to be the most generous group of donors. An examination of the three dominant subgroups within the Christian community showed that evangelicals, the 7% of the population who are most committed to the Christian faith, donated a mean of $4260 to all non-profit entities in 2007. Non-evangelical born again Christians, who represent another 37% of the public, donated a mean of $1581. The other 42% of the Christian population, who are aligned with a Christian church but are not born again, donated a mean of $865. Overall, the three segments of the Christian community averaged donations of $1426.

3 Comments

  1. Victoria says:

    I have been tithing 10% of my income for most of 2008, as I fully understand that God is our sole provider of all things. I should also point out that I am the sole provider of a four person household (two boys under 10). We are doing well with regards of having our NEEDS met, and thank God for my job with benefits and our affordable home; but there is not an abundence of money for lifes little extras. Keep in mind, I am quite content and thankful for all we have. I also am proactive in managing our expenses with a planned personal expense budget. In light of the economic crisis, I have been trying to put all “extras” (which isn’t much) into our line of credit (LOC), just in-case we are forced to use the LOC to help us get through this year — we have no savings. In doing so, I now tithe less than 10% and sometimes don’t tithe at all, because I would have to take money out of my LOC. I read/hear mixed messages about paying off debt as it relates to tithing. I have been praying and reading His word for God’s direction with this. I would also like to hear other perspectives from a Christ centered viewpoint — should I reduce the dollar amount I am using to pay off the LOC in order to give God 10% of my income?

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Victoria – Thank you for visiting and posting your question. These are difficult times financially, and it sounds like you are doing your best to navigate them well. I applaud you for putting your trust in God as your provider, for being thankful and content with what you have, for using a budget to manage expenses, and for giving to the Lord as an act of worship.

    As far as choosing between paying off debt or giving to God, I firmly believe we should still give to the Lord first, and then take care of our other obligations. The Bible teaches regular, proportional giving in keeping with our income. (1 Corinthians 16:2) I believe this starts with a tithe. But you need to work this out between you and the Lord. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says that “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

    Here are a couple of messages I have preached on giving that you may find helpful as you work through these issues.

    Christian Finances in Troubled Times
    Called to Contribute

    All the best!
    Ray Fowler

  3. Kevin says:

    I have let what preachers and television evangelists say about tithing go through one ear and out the other for years, just ignoring their invented doctrine. The burdens that they put on Christians have become more a problem than the answers to a blessed life. Through all my studying the Bible and the professors at my University I believe very strongly that some Churches are turning into a business instead of the House of Prayer when we start forcing members to give under the pretense that they are giving to God. When in fact, they are supporting the church, and other ministries assisting in the preaching of the Gospel; God does not need our money. We live under Grace the New Testator Jesus blood sacrifice not the High Priests to pray to Yahweh the Old Testator blood of animals. Sowing a seed, please, the preachers rearranges God’s word to meet their needs, when in fact the seed has nothing to do with money, but the Word of God sown into the heart.

    Nowhere in the New Testament are we commanded to tithe, Jesus fulfilled the law which means He was our tithe. Please understand I feel as 1 Corinthians. 16:1-3 reads,
    1) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
    2) Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
    3) And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.

    Paul did not mention the tithe, yet he did teach that we are to give as God prospers us, and for many this amount could easily result in much more than 10 percent. It should be noted that Paul labeled this kind of giving as our liberality. “Liberality” can only mean our freedom from the law, or more specifically in this case, freedom from the tithe or set percentages.

    I wish I could give thousands of dollars a month, because of my financial hardship I struggle every pay check to pay the bills. I feel most people stay away from church because they are not able to give, and the embarrassment of poor choices hinders a potential church member to not want to go to church. I do not think I am the only one that feels this way, and someone saying how God blessed them because of their giving can produce a false sense of hope to someone. Bad choices and sin can be the cause of no blessings or maybe the Christian could be going through a valley that God is trying to do a work in them. I could go forever on this subject, but I think you get the idea. We are in perilous times and I can no longer let what I feel is incorrect doctrine go away unanswered. Please understand I feel God will bless what He wills, and tithing is a good guideline but not the absolute. My prayer for all Christians that we give with a purpose not just because someone said so, and surely not when someone said “your bills do not get paid first”. Who will pay my bills when I get behind? I asked my pastor that and he would not answer me. I will not let anyone judge or condemn me. My thoughts on giving are very fundamental, but it requires faith in God to do the increase not preaching tithing in every service. There is too much religious tradition today that I think needs revamping. I do not want to disappoint you, or you to be angry with me, but I know why I believe the way I do. Your Brother in Christ.

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