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December 02, 2007


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Around Atlanta, large "Prosperity" Church (the kind where the pastor prospers with Bentleys, mansions, private jet, etc., and the members receive false doctrine of getting wealthy if they buy these things for him) is well-known for requiring W-2's and tax returns of members. "Dollars for Dollar." Of course, there is a difference, in that your example did not necessarily raise issues of the money being misused or part of a scam.

I just read your blog for the first time.I will be back .

Our Pastor does NOT know anything about the personal giving of members unless the members tell him directly. He wants as little to do with that type of thing because it can only create bitterness or animosity for him to know that when he interact with people. He also wants no appearance of conflict of interest when ministering to people or to do anything that might look like he is favoring somebody who is giving more.

I guess it would be OK if he did, but I personally think that he needs not to know for the reasons listed above. He often will look at "macro" numbers for the church and giving to see where we are, but for specific donors, he has no need to know their names.

I went to a church for a couple of months that did track the giving (person w/ clipboard). This was early in my faith when I didn't know what the Word of God said really. The issue I have with someone (pastor or pastor's assistant) doing that during the service is that God wants a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), not a legalistic giver.

I'll leave with one last quote that gives the reason the pastor should not:

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. - Mathew 6:1-4

My opinion is that any house of worship should try to reduce individual judgement as much as possible. A pastor needs to be free of any potential conflict of interest.

God knows what I do with my money and how I give...this is OK with me because God will not look at me differently than the guy next to me no matter what. My pastor might (and probably will...even if subconsciously).

God is a perfect is not.

Well, I guess even if my pastor does check (I really don't know and don't care to ask him) the point is that he doesn't know my gross monthly income so it would be impossible for him to pass any judgement (good or bad) on what I give right? Just a thought.

It isn't necessarily bad that the pastor knows in general terms (we all know who the rich and poor people are in our church to some degree), but could be horrible if he knows specifics. As a fund-raiser in the non-profit world, I know the importance of knowing how much donors give, but mostly because those who give more are treated differently than others. We provide extra gifts and incentives for them based on their giving level. A church shouldn't be structured that way, the widow's mite was more valued than the pharisees' $$.

It is important for a church to be able to track the donations but that should be done at the office and only a minimal number of people should have access to it. It is important for tax (and budgeting) purposes and could be valuable for capital campaigns.

Well -- I wouldn't belong to any church where the pastor checked up on my giving record. That goes double for any church that required a financial commitment or copies of a W-2, etc. That sort of church will just have to do without me as a member.

There is no way my church could track anyway. My giving is strictly limited to cash that I slip anonymously into the basket they pass around, and the amount that goes in there is strictly between me and God.

Pastor's salary indirectly comes from the offering. There can be a conflict of interest.

Why people mind others know how much their offering is? Average Christians follow the "10%" offering guideline, it can easily tell if you follow it or how much you make.

I belong to a church of about 3,000 people. Obviously, it's large enough that we have an employee who is in charge of all of the finances at the church. This person is not the pastor. The pastor gets the big picture of what the church body as a whole is giving, but I'm pretty positive that he's never looked at an individual's giving. Also, as previously stated, no one at the church knows what each member makes, so they wouldn't know whether or not we're giving 10%.

I heard that in Utah, the Morman church will do your taxes for free. But now they know how much you make and so you're obliged to cough up the customary 10% tithe.

[note: this is hearsay and by no means verified]

I've not attended church regularly since I was a small child. My parents were faithful Catholics who gave 10% for years - my older siblings went to the catholic schools, etc. For whatever reason, my parents decided to leave the church.

Rather than giving to a church or religious organization, I give to other non-profits - The Ronald McDonald House, Breast Cancer, etc.

More than 10% of my take home pay goes towards medications that keep me alive. (and that amount is based upon the discounted co-pays). I give what I can afford in the way I feel most comfortable.

Well, I am the recording secretary for our church. I am the only person who actually could know how much each person is giving - but I make it a point to intentionally not remember each member's offering each week. And I will not judge anyone for the amount they give; I have no way of knowing what their circumstances are, and I wouldn't want to know their income either. I would also tend to be wary of a pastor who demanded to know individual giving amounts.

I have held this position under two pastors, and neither has asked about member giving except in broad terms (like total offerings for the fiscal year, or the amount given by the top ten members not identified by name). There is one solid reason for members to use identified envelopes now; starting this year, you can no longer claim a charitable contribution deduction unless you have a receipt from the recipient or bank/credit card records showing the name of the charity (like cancelled checks, credit card or bank statements that identify by name etc). So anyone who gives cash, in particular, needs to be sure that their offering is identified and recorded to get the advantage of deductibility at tax time.

Living Off Dividends:

I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) and as far as I know your comment is indeed hearsay, lol.

In our church, being a full tithe payer does mean contributing 10% of your income. I recently went to "tithing settlement", which is a voluntary meeting where you sit down with the bishop, by yourself, and declare yourself a full tithe payer, or not a full tithe payer. The church does NOT know how much you make, only you do. So if you say you're a full tithe payer, then in the eyes of the church, you are. Only you and God know if you're really paying 10% or not.

At our church, the treasurer and the counter are the only 2 people who actually see the checks. Of course, we are a small congregation, and many people give cash. The pastor will, from time-to-time, be given a donation, say for the cemetery, and he might "see" the check then, but he'll just give it to the treasurer.


Probably not, I go to a large church.

The pastor does not want to know what any one person/family gives. Our church actually has two different men who operate as "treasurer" - one man is in charge of the budget and outgoing money for expenses, the other tracks all the incoming money, and creates receipts for those people who either write checks or use the church-provided envelopes. Neither of these men are in leadership positions outside of the financial area.

Personally, I wouldn't have a problem if more people in the church knew what I give; but I'd rather it remain private so that I don't know what others give - it would be too tempting to become bitter at people who expect certain services from the church but don't give generously out of their finances.

I belong to the LDS church and because we pay tithing in a way where they keep track of what we contribute we can write off the money as a charitable contribution. I think that makes more sense, afterall it is charitable giving.

Why do you refer to it as "giving" when you obviously believe that monetary contributions to one's church should not be considered optional?

Living off dividends,
I too am a member of the "Mormon" church, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The church DOES NOT do your taxes for free. As Cory said, we believe in tithing 10% of ones income, but the church doesn't know what a person's income is, and they don't make any efforts to find out. As a matter of fact, they won't even specify if 10% is off your gross or net income. We are told that that decision is between us and the Lord. Just wanted to clear that up before that rumor went any further.

IMO, *no one* should know what you are donating to the church or any other cause.

By donating to any cause, you are formalizing your values, whether it be the environment or your religion, etc. You are saying "I care about this". Some people like to show off that they care about that thing by wearing a tshirt or a bumper sticker, while others like to be more "behind the scenes". Either is okay: the showoff people (for lack of a better term) will advertise that cause and promote some awareness while the behind the scenes folks are maybe more humble.

But I think no one should know. After all, if I give $25 and the next guy gives $1000, someone might make a judgement about me based on that donation. But $25 might be a lot of money to me, whereas $1000 is nothing to the next guy. A pastor (or anyone else) should not know or care about the absoulte amount that is given and, being human, is almost certainly bound to make some sort of value judgement about the person giving if he/she knew the amount.

(Hey...isn't there a bible story about the little old lady who gave a few pennies while the priest made a big stink about his donation? The moral was that only god will care about the amount you give...)

I laugh when I read all the fuss about people knowing about how much others are giving to their church. Could there not be a better example of how money is the real taboo topic in Christian culture and that we truly don't live the communio principles that we've all read about in Acts?

The truth is, most of us know we are giving less than we can and should.

I think there are two lessons to take away: If I'm uncomfortable with the idea of my pastor knowing my finances, why? Does the reason suggest some change or action on my part. Maybe, maybe not.

I do worry about a pastor knowing this information, but not for my sake, but his. It's the same thing about confessions. A lot of people in the Catholic tradition will comment that they don't understand why people confess behind a screen. The truth is, it's to help the priest as much as the penitent. By not seeing the face of the person, there's less of a chance of that confession even accidentally influencing how the priest treats them outside of the confessional.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm just not sure why I'd really care if someone judges me by my contributions. Maybe this is a cultural difference, but I've been a part of plenty of churches where the typical thing is to throw 1-5 dollars in the bucket. I guess that makes me think there's a pretty unlikely chance that somehow there would be adverse consequences to someone knowing my actual giving.

Thank "god" I am not a believer. This is a crock of poo. I mean to think one that you have to give money to a church to be a "good standing" member is a load of double wammy.

I certainly wouldn't join an organization that you are a voluntary member of only to have the amount of money that I donate recorded and logged as some sort of business..

God is an imaginary figment of your deluded imaginations. You believe in Jesus because you were taught that way, not because Jesus is the son of a god who created the entire universe and all things within. If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you'd likely be a Muslim and your beliefs would be different. If you were born in India you'd have a fair chance of being a Hindi and there would be other rules far from your Christian beliefs...

The point is you are a product of your upbringing. There is no god, no heaven, and certainly no hell. Stop wasting your charitable giving to these sorts of organizations and instead spend the money on better organizations like UNICEF or Habitat for Humanity. Hell even would more than likely be a better place to give money rather than to some wacko pastor who takes notes of how much his "flock" are providing to "god".

The only reason individual contributions are an issue is because of the IRS and its demands for accountability from us as individuals. If not for that there would be no reason to keep track of an individual's contributions. Unless of course the pastor wanted to.

I recently left a church that refused to let me view the general budget prior to joining. The pastor knew how much giving was going on and by whom as his wife was the treasurer. How cozy.

I also sit on the board of a mission organization. I have absolutely no idea who gives what, and don't want to.

I know, I shouldn't feed a troll, but Atheist: if there is "no god, no heaven and certainly no hell", why on earth would I give to any charity? I mean that seriously and not to suggest some sort of a legalism as to why a Christian does these things. Simply put, what rests behind anyone being charitable?

But I suspect your not willing to engage that question in a serious way.

"But I suspect your not willing to engage that question in a serious way."

I'd guess the same.

"Simply put, what rests behind anyone being charitable?"

Good question and one not easily answered on a financial forum or in such a limited dialogue as a forum. But here goes anyway Jack. In short we are charitable because it's in our DNA. You take little kids before they have been polluted by parents or peers and who have no concept of religion and keenly look at how they act. Certainly they can be naughty little snots and are greedy and selfish. But then you look again and they are sharing and helping without reward. Why do they do this? Did "god" make them do it? Were they instructed by their parents to be that way?

I believe you give because it gives you some kind of reward... either internally you feel like you have assisted someone or externally because later on down the road you may need that same or similar assistance.. kind of like a pay-it-forward type thing. To say that we donate to charity because we are religious is folly. There are plenty of religious believers who do all sorts of evil things in the name of "god". Are they just wicked sinners who deserve second chances and if they do the right thing then "god" will accept them into the pearly gates of heaven?

I believe we help others for many reasons, some because they are religious, others because they get some sort of good feeling from the act, others because they are rich and can take a tax cut, and so on and so forth. An atheist or Christian can both be altruistic as well as evil. Religion doesn't own the rights to morality any more than atheism owns the rights to wickedness...

We are all a mixed breed, the difference between a theist and an atheist is that one believes in an imaginary being that created everything whilst the other doesn't.

Our pastor does not, by choice. He says it's none of his business and he believes it makes people more comfortable when they sit down with him that they know he does not know how much they give (unless, of course, they specifically told him).

Christians are 'not required' to tithe, that is give 1/10 of their income. That was a stipulation of the Mosaic Law the 'old law' covenant God gave to the Nation of Israel. (99% of Christians today are not Israelites/Jews or share a recorded blood line to such people.) Since we are 'Under Christ' and not under law (1 Cor. 9:21), the whole bunk of 1/10 is not at all applicable. NOR am I saying giving is wrong or creating an excuse to not be generous, but in harmony with scripture the amount or tracking are both out of harmony with the Holy Writings. The Mosaic Law was inherent of many other commands to the Israelites which when considered are also irrelevant to the Christian Congregation. Hebrews Chapter 9, 10 was intended to assist Christians who were former practicer's of Judaism to see the difference and superiority of the 'law of the Christ' and that it trumped if you will the body of laws and regulations of the 'former law'. If you WANT to give 10%, if your circumstances allow for it you can, if you can't then the scriptures, as far as Christians are concerned show that such 'exacting' and 'accounting' on an individual basis goes eschew the letter and spirit of the scriptures. I have in addition posted two more scriptures that clearly show this to be so.

2 Cor. 2:17 "We are not peddlers [solicitors, other synonyms in other English translations] of the word."

Another words - Christian Ministry is a profession, but not a "trade" in the mercantile sense of the word [trade].

2 Cor. 9:7 " Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver"

Another words - If I am a family head and it takes 98% of my income to take care of wife and baby, I should feel belittled because I can only give 2% of my remaining income. I should be happy to do what ever I can.

To finalize this, let's consider the observation of our Lord and Master himself.
Mark 12:41-44
41 And he sat down with the treasury chests in view and began observing how the crowd was dropping money into the treasury chests; and many rich people were dropping in many coins. 42 Now a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins, which have very little value. 43 So he called his disciples to him and said to them: “Truly I say to YOU that this poor widow dropped in more than all those dropping money into the treasury chests; 44 for they all dropped in out of their surplus, but she, out of her want, dropped in all of what she had, her whole living.”

Concluding Point - The viewpoint of "amount" and "value" of what we give to God is weighed in the realm and jurisdiction of God and not in the sight of human 'observers'.

Any Biblical questions Email me any time:

[email protected]

I would have a problem if the pastor walked around and watched. I'll be honest here. I tithe 10% and I make about 100k/yr. So after being someone who didn't tithe 10% (30-50 a week prior to reconsidering in the past year) I don't want anyone to know what I give. I mean I do it in the form of a check and I do claim the tax benefit (and give 10% of my refund also, so it actually allows me to give more).

My problem is not because I would be worried about being seen as stingy but (and here is where the honesty comes in) I have a problem with pride. I sometimes feel myself feeling proud of myself. I think most of us have some problem with pride. I would hate to have that ego puffed up anymore than I can do all by myself with knowing that folks know what I am giving. We don't give for ourselves to look good, we give to worship the Lord and to say that the whole 100% is from Him and we are giving such a small amount back. It's almost like our salvation. Our salvation is His, it is from Him and our attempts to worship him, praise him and follow him are such a small percentage of the gift we received by grace.

So I sit on a fine line between finding myself being proud of what I give and I would hate to have any help from outside influences.

Does anyone else know what I mean?


There is some truth to what you say. Certainly not your views on God. Please continue your lower case letters when spelling the type of gods you are speaking of, that is accurate. It is terribly unfortunate that most people who claim to be christian are really just doing that. They are a terrible witness for Christ because of there limited knowledge of Him and of scripture. That being said, please don't define a holy God by quite unholy false professing christians. I choose to be a follower, not yet arrived but doing what I can each day to love God and all those around me. Yeh, your right, there is some whacky stuff out there and I am sorry that it has had such a terrible impact on your view of Christ. There will be accountability one day for all.

Yea good in us, well we read and see horrible acts everyday from those who have lost or do not have any moral code. Record states, that God made it all good in the beginning, there was rebellion, death and wickedness entered as a result, death and sin has spread to all men. The good news, there is a covering for that sin, just as there was for Adam/Eve in the garden, Christ is the covering and He has the power when we truly believe to transform lives. I hope one day you truly meet an authentic follower, and witness the love that can only be through the understanding of grace.

Now if you would like to dialogue further I would be happy to respond too. I especially enjoy conversations regarding creation/evolution. My guess is you might hold to the religeon of evolution so that would be cool to talk through.

I am a cheerful giver. Although not 10% of my gross, and, although not all to my local church (I give separately to support missionaries and other christian charities), I feel my $570 per month is quite enough. No, I am not giving until it hurts, but I doubt Abramham gave till it hurt either. We are not all called to be martyrs, and we are not all called to live in poverty. Still, my family goes without driving new cars and we take very affordable vacations. My point is that I give enough and am cheerful about it.

Now having established that, let me say my heart sinks whenever my pastor talks to the ministry board (on which I serve) about his dissappointment in various people who are not giving or giving enough. And when people join the church, he seems more concerned about when they will start giving than when they will come to accept Christ (he cares about that too, but does not talk about it as much).

I found this blog looking for insight on if a pastor should know who gives and how much. Reading some of these posts, I found my answer.

I also think about the example of Jesus, assigning Judas as this Treasurer -- He cared so little of money that he gave it to the one who He knew would betray him.

When are all of you guys going to wise up and realize that no matter what church you belong to, you are supporting a corrupt (or eventually corrupt) theocratic government that has no place in modern society?

I'll start by stating I disagree with most here, and here's why. A pastor is responsible for the care of his flock, and as part of that responsibility he needs to be able to know how healthy they are. In practice this means he should know how spiritually healthy they and one good (not the only) method of this is the measure of one's giving. While I agree that we are no longer under the Mosaic law of being required to give 1/10 of the first fruit, we are under the new covenant. If you look at all of the other examples that Jesus talked about when making this transition, the requirement became 'more difficult' if you will. No longer is it 'do not murder', but it is 'do not be angry'; no longer is it 'do not commit adultery', it is 'do not even look at another in lust'. We would be foolish to think this does not also apply to His finances that He has entrusted us to manage. Also, if it was 1/10 when under the old law, how much more should it be now that we are under the law of grace which is much more valuable? The truth of the new covenant is that 10% of gross (first fruit) is the STARTING point. This should be what we give to our local church. On top of that should be our other offerings, regular or one-offs, to missionaries, other organisations etc.

So, the reason a pastor should have an idea of one's giving is that it should be an indicator of where one is spiritually as that is his responsibility. Not that he should take the information and if it's low come see you and ask you why, but that he needs to get to know you better because you are likely to be in need of growth and maturity, or are struggling in some area.

I understand the difficulties in this, he is just a man after all. And for the mega churches (+400) it's even more difficult, but it is an essential ingredient.

It also doesn't surprise me that many here will disagree. This is likely due to the fact that on average 75% of all giving is given by 25% of the givers. I don't mean to come across as judgmental, because I spent many years in the wrong camp. If you're in the large group that does not give appropriately I highly suggest you read "The Treasure Principle" by Randy Alcorn. Don't just read it though, pray over it and you will likely find that God will open your eyes to what you are missing. Yes, what you are missing, because when you do not honour God with how you manage the money He gives you, it is you that loses the blessings.

Interesting comments. I just heard today that my pastor has started looking at financial giving records before he supports someone to be on a committee or in a position of leadership. He however, does not look into those records for people who provide childcare or minister by preparing meals for church events. Not sure what I think of all situations but I'm uncomfortable with this one and it's having negative impacts throughout our body right now. As you're readying, if you would please pray for our little Baptist church in Dalhart Texas. Thanks

Matthew 6:1-4

1 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Our Pastor does check our giving and it does not bother Me much that He knows what i give but there are some people in our church that think HE {the Pastor} is using it for minipulation in some cases. I know if i were a pastor i would want to know as little as possible about who gives what in the Church.

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