I fished through some articles and some statistics and compiled the most interesting statistics in one post. These statistics will make you think, question, and doubt the responsibility of your leaders. I will admit, these giving statistics are not pretty, but I hope they make you rethink some things about stewardship in the Church today.
“in its 2008 report found 33.4% of estimated total giving, $103.32 billion, went to houses of worship and denominational organizations in 2007” (source).
Right off the bat, the first question is what is the Church doing with the money we have already? This is 103 billion were talking about here? Are we conquering world hunger? Do all the hidden tribes in Africa have printed bibles in their language? Are we taking care of the widows? Sure, there is pressure to give more and more, but are we fiscally responsible and efficient with the resources we are receiving already?
“85 percent of all church activity and funds is directed toward the internal operations of the congregation”. Add in another 2% going to overseas missions to support their budget costs. (1) (quote)
In the end, this leaves 13% that possibly might be used for practical purposes. Figuratively speaking, this also means that 85 billion dollars is used primarily to keep the lights on!
WOW! 85 billion dollars, that’s a lot of money, especially when you look at the new testament and see how money was used. From Acts through Revelation, you won’t find a single example where money was given or asked to meet anything besides basic needs, such as food, shelter, and health.
Granted, ministers’ salaries/needs are included in the 85 billion we spend internally, but as you can see there’s very little sacrifice for churches to give outside of their own needs. I see it as, “selfish”, but I’m sure others define it as, “sacrificial”
I think we need to separate churches from the term “ministry” because 13% of the church’s resources actually go towards administering needs.
“”Americans who earn less than $10,000 gave 2.3 percent of their income to religious organizations,” Smith, Emerson, and Snell write, “whereas those who earn $70,000 or more gave only 1.2 percent.” While the actual percentages are slightly higher for Christians who regularly attend church, the pattern is similar. Households of committed Christians making less than $12,500 per year give away roughly 7 percent of their income, a figure no other income bracket beats until incomes rise above $90,000 (they give away 8.8 percent).
In fact, in absolute terms, the poorest Christians give away more dollars than all but the wealthiest Christians.” (source)
Some things never change. The story of the widow and her mite still lives today.
“If members of historically Christian churches in the United States had raised their giving to the Old Testament’s minimum standard of giving (10% of income) in 2000, an additional $139,000,000,000 a year would become available assist in Christian based mission work.” (source)
Well let’s see after all the overhead is paid, and we have enough to run the machine, that leaves about 18 billion out of the 139 billion going towards practical needs. If you think that 139 billion is a lot of money, and we could use the tithe to do greater good, just hold your thoughts and listen to this next statistic.
In 2007, total charitable giving topped 300 billion (source)
Please . . . OH PLEASE! Tell me what a meager extra 139 billion would do. Christian stewards have received 370 BILLION dollars to do missions, spread the gospel, clothe the poor, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and provide ministry; and all we can do is cry about everyone tithing an extra 139 billion. Is 370 billion not enough?
“”Relatively little donated money actually moves much of a distance away from the contributors,” Smith, Emerson, and Snell write. The money given by the people in the pews, it turns out, is largely spent on the people in the pews. Only about 3 percent of money donated to churches and ministries went to aiding or ministering to non-Christians.” (source)
I have said this long before these statistics came out. Do you wonder why people struggle with selfishness? It’s because they are following their church’s example of giving. As a matter of fact, I said that we were “selfish” just above. I said that before I even read this giving statistic. Of course, I thought our external giving came to about 13%, but it looks as if I was off by 10%. We only use 3% towards practical ways of reaching the unsaved! Once again we spend only 3% of our budget to show the unsaved how generous our God is!
These giving statistics are sobering, saddening, and sickening. My giving is nothing to be proud of. What about you? How has your giving been? How does your church give? How much do you spend on your own church for yourselves, and how much do you spend on others? What do you think about these giving statistics?
- John L. Ronsvalle and Sylvia Ronsvalle, The State of Church Giving through 2000(Champaign, Ill.: Empty Tomb, 2002), 13
Al Sydney says
Dear Freewillgiver,I have tithed for almost 10rs until I asked the Lord to help me study His word concerning tithing about Febuary this year.
Our God is a real gentleman, if we dont ask him specific questions He wont bother us.Please I strongly recomend that you do not just take anybodys teaching or preaching without checking what the bible says.
The scriptures clearly teaches us that we are not allowed to use the gospel for PROFIT or a MONEY MAKING BUSINESS,not even a MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD. (1Timothy 6:5 AMP)Many pastors,evangelist,teachers that I know, beleive that they are allowed to make a living from the gospel,they beleive God wants them to be rich and have all the material things that the world are lusting for.Paul received all his revelations from the Holy Spirit and the Lord put it in the bible for us to learn from.Please do not ignore Pauls instructions they were given to protect us from the enemy.
Jesus taught His disciple to discern everyone by examining their fruit and what comes out of their mouths.He also warned us about the DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES.
Our faith is the key to Gods blessings not old covenant laws that the Jews found impossible to keep.The law was given by Moses to Jews that were not even born again.Please understand this,THE NEW COVENANT IS BASED ON GRACE,THE OLD COVENANT WAS BASED ON THE JEWS OBEDIENCE.
Jesus enables us to give and support His work on earth financially with the power of the Holy Spirit through His GRACE ONLY LEST ANY MAY GLORY IN THE FLESH. The Jews tried to keep the law of Moses in their own strength.
Peace and Rest to you all
Wealth is one thing… and I am against the “Prosperity Doctrine” I will say that many of those wealthy people are people that sell their materials. But even there look at Rick Waren. He was paid a salary for 20 years AS HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN. But when his book “A purpose Driven life” became the phenomena that it is he paid back every year of salary he was given AND he gives away 90% of the income from the book he wrote.
Now to those that say a Preacher shouldn’t get paid and that all OT principles of giving are not to be followed I submit the following.
1 CORINTHIANS 9:4-14 NKJ
4 Do we have no right to eat and drink?
5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?
7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?
8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?
9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about?
10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.
11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?
12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.
13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?
14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
The key phrase is “even so” in verse 14. This refers to the way it worked under the Old Testament.
GALATIANS 6:6 NKJ
6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
ROMANS 15:27 NKJ
27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.
1 TIMOTHY 5:17-18 NKJ
17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
1 TIMOTHY 5:17 TEV
17 The elders who do good work as leaders should be considered worthy of receiving double pay, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
Wow Al what you said about not using the Gospel as a means for livelyhood, profit or a money making operation is strong stuff. Jared there are so many middle men the more highly a church is organized most of the time.
The giving stats are mind boggling. Al I may be more leinient on getting paid but you seem to use the word tithes as acceptable and that is fine in Jesus. Your words sound like those of John the babtist “He must increace but I must decrease.” And I test the docrines that I encounter and the last thing I give to any Christian Speaker is my money. That goes to my home ministries first and then out from my home. Sending ones kids to Christian School and taking care of family members is taxing. I love that I can help praise Jesus.
The raw numbers of over 100 billion given to Christian ministries and orgainzations is astouding!So little ends up in the hands of the poor. I too am not much of a giver due to my large debt load and I have not gone bankrupt yet. However today I gave to a young man standing in front of a store he asked for fifty cents. I told him to wait. I came back and gave him a dollar with a smile and I said “This is in the name of Jesus!” Now that person may choose to squander my money but considering that so many Christian orgianizations foster entitlments amongst so called leadership my message to the young man was cost effective.
When I give to my broke realitives friends and family, the homless or pan handlers 20 or 30 times a year I always try to mention the name of Jesus to make it a commertial for Jesus. If Jesus tells you to do the same pleas do not give silent. Give in the name of Jesus to the folks that ask.
May Jesus make us all less selfish this year. Happy new year friends.
Christ in Us.
Generic Christian says
The pathetic level of giving we see in the Church is a symptom of something much worse – passion-less, unbelieving, relation-less religion. It is clear that many who fill pews and chairs on Sunday mornings are Church-ians, not Christians.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord ,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26)
“…a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33)
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works ? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Revelation 3:14-18)
Friend Generic Christian and everyone.
Who is worse the Churchians or the proffessional leaders requiring the unbiblical money tithes from their fellow priest. Generic Chistians everywhere dose the New testement argue for manditory moneytithes for all Christians to their local ministries headed by proffessional paid speakers. I believe that the Greatest leaders in Christ should be the least expecting of other priest money and giving the most sacrifice to others as an exmple to be followed.
Generic friends I have many Questions in this long post. Who are the real pastors? Pastor means Sheppard. In John Jesus explains that Good Sheppard’s lay their lives down for the Sheep while the hirelings flee when they see the wolf come. In Hebrews it explains that all Christians are priest. Ye are a chosen generation a royal priesthood a holy nation a peculiar people. Paul in Corinthians and Galatians explains that the greatest ministers suffer the most. The New Testament explains that all priests and Christians are to expect persecution and suffering. Judas spoke of money for the poor but Jesus gave his life for the poor.
Nowhere can it be found in scriptures, that the Disciples expected a percentage of other priest Christians money as their entitled money tithes. The New Testament never advocated for comfortable Christian leadership with dependable salaries Christian. On the contrary the New Testament argues for the greatest Christians to be the least expecting of money. The Best were to be the most expecting to suffer for Jesus. U.S. Missionaries are generally much better in suffering for Christ than local professional speakers I call preachers in Christian U.S. fellowships today.
Why should one priest be a financial priority over another priest if that priest is not suffering like Paul and modern missionaries to dangerous or persecuted places? If a preacher is best at obtaining money tithes he becomes comfortable most of the time would you agree friend? Alms meant money for the poor in the New Testament. In Acts Christians gave alms for the poor on the first day they did not raise money primarily for buildings and salary like today. Why would an American local ministry with professional middleclass leadership be a priority over the poor or missionaries? Third world and persecuted, Peter, told tent making persecuted Paul, to remember the poor first. Jesus always had this priority. Paul blasted preachers who suffered least and expected the most money constantly. Paul and James who were mattered rejoiced in suffering like the tone of the New Testament.
Generic friends learning to love in Jesus, Don’t all Priests in Jesus have ministries? American Money tithing traditions to the local ministries headed by professional Christian speakers often takes away from American priest ministries to their homes. In Most Evangelical fellowshipping groups headed by professional preachers, money tithe traditions make financial obligations to buildings and preaching professional speakers a greater priority than supporting persecuted Christians, the poor and the lost. If a Charity spends most of its money on overhead it sounds as inefficient as US. Local and state governments. Enforced Money tithing promotes U.S. style waste fraud and abuse so characteristic of Television preachers. Alas, however most local professional preaches want to have stable incomes when their ministries become successful, although not as lavish.
Christian’s schools and Christian Marital counseling for troubled marriages present other dilemmas for Christians with Children who practice money tithing to the local ministries. Why send preachers kids to Christian schools and colleges with your money tithe if your own kid cannot go to Christian schools and Colleges. If ones marriage is failing why give to the professional speaker’s ministries whose marriages are probably in better shape. If one expects and spiritually requires 10% to the ministry that pays your salary then that person is more responsible to practice suffering. How can one expect from another priest 10% of their money and not be entitled? How can more independent priest of Jesus be raised up by preacher’s dependant on other priest ministry money? Only Jesus knows the real pastors from the mere paid professional Bible speakers.
Friends Hopfully we can love in a Generic ordiniary Jesus like way wich always suffers to help others.
Christ in U.S.
Generic Christian says
Well…uh…ahem…speaking for all generic Christians, I would like to say that – well, OK, just speaking for myself then…
My above post about churchians and Christians is not really directed towards the tithing issue. As I said, that is just a symptom of a much greater “disease” (and really, perhaps, a distraction from the real issue). I am not offering an opinion about tithing – God loves a cheerful giver!
What I am saying is that the Church is in great danger. If there was a real, vibrant, faith-led, loving Church in America, they would give (ABOVE A TITHE!) without arguing about it. And those who control the purse strings of churches would much more passionately seek to direct the money to true needs. The whole system would “work”. But as I said earlier, lack of giving is merely evidence of unbelief, self-centeredness, and cold hearts. I encourage everyone to spend less time arguing about such topics and get out and share the Gospel.
This will be my last post. I am not seeking to promote myself, but just to encourage by example when I say that my wife and I regularly minister to the homeless and inner city poor children, as well as discipling a host of young adults. I encourage everyone to spend less time online and more time “out there”. LESS TALK, MORE ROCK!!! :o) Blessings!
Who are more pathetic the average Churchians who look to their preachers as leaders in giving and explaining how one should live by the cross of Jesus or their evangelical preaching leaders who expect these Churchian priest to give 10% of their cash to the ministries that pay money tithe preaching leaders.
Generic Christian Thank you and Bless Jesus for supporting the homeless! However fellow friend, I wish you had more answers for us all at this blog. Paul a new Christian outsider took the time to rebuke his brother Peter publically a great leader of the early church for leading many others to abstain from eating with Gentiles. Paul took doctrines as large matters.
Generic Christians, Most U.S. unbelievers when criticizing Christianity name issues surrounding money as evidence that Christianity is dubious to them. Since around 90% of evangelical non profit organization fellowships, headed by paid clergy, preach money tithing in America the issue is not small. . Would you support a minister expecting 10% of homeless people’s money to support the minister’s ministry? I suspect that you would not. I suspect that you Generic Christian believe that Jesus told us to give to the poor and Jesus did not tell us to tithe our money to professional speaker’s ministries because all priests have responsibilities to the poor. I guess I will never know if you refuse to enlighten us on this blog until we get to heaven.
This scripture is for you Generic priest friend Deuteronomy 14:26 Please explain it if Jesus leads you. Chapter 14 of Deuteronomy explains that giving should help bring celebration to the poor in the name of God and that givers had some giving control in the Old testament. Who should control the purse strings today: the cheerful giver or the paid professional leader? Generic friend you stated something about danger for American Christians. When was the church in America better than it is today? I am a student of history but I do not recall a time when American was not dealing with slavery, racism, bad doctrines, dubious wars, abortion or greedy professional leaders calling themselves pastors. However I praise Jesus you work with the homeless.
American faith practice has been both great and awful amongst those naming themselves Christians. However, only Jesus can tell fake from real 100% of the time. I sure cannot. Generic friends, what does above a tithe mean? Dose location has an effect on holy giving? Can Christians sending their kids to Christian schools equate to giving to Jesus? What is less talk and more Rock? Did not Paul warn the church about leaders who would make merchandise out of believers in Jesus and did not Jesus cleans the temple of those who made the fathers house a house of Merchandise? I do hope you post again friend Generic but in the future I hope you will not allow your rebukes or complements be vauge.
Generic Christians everywhere please suffer in love to have answers for the faith within you. Christ in us!
Brother Peter says
Hi! I live in Central Asia, 10/40 window, which is the most unreached place in the world with high concentration of muslims. I have been to EU and US, and was quite sad because of what came to my observation. You guys hold 2/3 of the wealth and I have seen a tremendous generosity in US nation. The problem is that most of you give money and never know how it is being used. Why would you keep sending millions to Mexico? Assembles of God and Southern Baptist churches collect money and decide where to send funds to. In Almaty, my hometown, there are many and many missionaries from Assembles of God and Southern Baptist churches as well as from other congregations, the funds are mainly used to buy cars and houses, maintain buildings and run Christian programs(camps, seminars etc.). There is not much getting to the poor and needy.
Interesting article but I think you don’t get the whole picture. Sure, tax deductions are given based on taking the burden off the shoulders of the govt but tax policy is very much about encouraging certain behavior. Why do you think you get a deduction for your kids, certainty not because they deserve it. To remove tax exemption from churches would set a very dangerous precedent in a society where religion is already under such heavy attack. Tax policy is all about social policy.
I would also take issue with your statistic, especially about the 85% there really is no information about where that is coming from. I will agree that there is mass abuse but at the end of the day, there is also a lot of good
Jared Brian says
You can see references to the statistics here https://www.tithing.com/blog/giving-statistics/
If there were no 403b’s or church buildings do you think there would be no religions? Do you think Christianity would disappear? I think your comment sheds some perspective on the general population’s definition of “Church”. Do we serve because of the existence of icons? If we don’t, then how can humanistic law extinguish the Church?
Carl T. Williams,II says
My heart is burden by the individual believers. The bottom line is the vast majority are not living according to the biblical mandate to give at LEAST 10% of our income. We cannot expect the Body Of Christ to reach the unsaved and unchurched when our primary focus is internal. That sounds like the The Church of Corinth rather than The Church of Ephesus. The $$ amount is not the concern it is our heart motivation and is it in line with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must evaluate ourselves as individuals.
Please read your bible again properly, Giving is a gift same as prophesy, speaking in unknown tongues, performing miracles, etc . To say that christians shoul be giving more is the same as saying prophets should prophesy more or pastors should sheperd more christians .
Its unbiblical for any christians to complain why christians are not giving unless you want to manipulate or defraud people to give to their own man made visions
God does not force anyone to give or to support the gospel ,that is the Holy Spirits work is to instruct and lead christians to give to any ministry God intents to finance .
Carl ,many pastors and christians are out there to defraud and steal from christians to finance their own greed and coveteousness , they twist and lie about scriptures to build their own wealth rather than Gods kingdom .
I’ve got 1 verse for you all!
2 Corinthians 9:7
Has it ever occurred to any of you not to ask any man what to give, but TO ASK GOD HIMSELF? P.S. This is NT :) God bless you all, and please stop fussing over money. God isn’t pleased with that, and that’s definitely NOT what He’s about! Greatest commandments are to love Him with all your heart and love others.
Only 1 way to change these statistics, and that’s to change ourselves.
Robert Yocom says
I do not want to support a man who talks to the congregation 1 hour in the mornong Sun and one hour in the evening and maybe 1 hour for Wed buble study and maybe does 10 hours to prepare. The rest is just PR. Aint going to support somebody like that.
Christian Bosah says
We should read the scripture and follow the contexts in which tithing is presented. It is so clear that the totality of it amounts to giving with love of God and humanity at heart and faith in Christ our redeemer, for the propagation of the Kingdom agenda and purposes. The critical essentials therein is LOVE and FAITH. In love and faith matters there is never any element of compulsion but always freewill. If any reference should be made of Malachi 3 , it should be as a guide or suggestion and never as compulsion and therefore law. BUT we all know we are in the dispensation of grace for Christ already fulfilled all the laws which no man was able to fulfill. Going back to lawful giving would in fact amount to Christ dying in vain. ABOVE all, we must think of giving for kingdom purposes beyond the confines of our houses of worship or fellowship. It must include in the plural sense our neighbors- family, needy, beggars, home churches, other charities etc. In totality, we must give much more than 10% on an annual basis. We should give generously and without compulsion for that is the real measure of true love.
e thomas says
If Christians are required to tithe, when do we get our year of jubilee? That was part of the old testament system as well as the tithe. New testament giving is, give as you prosper and purpose in your heart. We are not under law, but grace in the new testament. The jews in the OT, were under a theocracy where the government was the religious organization the tithe supported the government, until they were taken over by a foreign power. The tithe was for the poor, support of feast days and to support the priest. Who are the priest in the Christian church? The believers are the priest today. We are joint heirs with Christ, what is His is ours. Give as you prosper, he who gives sparingly will reap sparingly, that is New Testament giving. No set. Percentage.
Stewart Good says
The first issue one has to decide is whose money is it? Who gives you the health, mind, opportunity.
The Scripture clearly sets forth financial principles including being a wise steward which answers the first issue in my opinion.
You don’t have to be a believer to benefit from scriptural principles and being a believer won’t exempt you from scriptural principles.
If your church is not doing its job then find one that is. Of course that assumes the people attending are doing their job.
Ray Gentry says
Thank you again for all your hard work, and for giving me permission to use some of your information for the website I hope to start, to show people the Truth in Scripture. My question is, I’m having trouble verifying that “85% is kept in the local church,” and that “only 3% is given to the poor.” The link to 3% requires that I pay to see it. If possible, would you be able to email me the full article? Also, what was the source for “85%.” Thank you, and may God bless you for the service you are doing to allow people to truly know what God expects of us.
Jared Brian says
Had to do some digging, but found it in archive.org. Added a link to the quote from there. At the bottom of the article is a footnote that contains the research article “state of church giving”. I linked to that as well.
Ray Gentry says
Thank you brother