What is a Tithe?
Tithing is giving 10% of your income. Within the Old Testament, the Israelites gave 10% of their earnings to the work of God. Tithing is a way of saying, “God, I believe that everything I have is a gift from you, and I trust you with all that I have.” When you tithe, you are expressing faith that God will continue to provide for you. And the good news is: He will! The Bible says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
Giving to God is not just a donation; it is recognizing that God has given to us first and everything is His. The Bible says, “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). We give because He owns everything, and He first gave to us.
The 90-Day Challenge
Tithing is a faith step. It’s like planting seeds for a harvest. You sow. You wait ten or twelve weeks. Then you reap. You don’t reap the day you sow, there’s an interval in between. In Malachi 3:9-11 we find the only place in Scripture where God invites people to test him:
“‘You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
Based on the principles in this Scripture, if you will tithe faithfully, from every paycheck for the next ninety days, if, at the end of those ninety days you do not feel blessed by God in whatever way you define a blessing (which could be monetary or otherwise), as long as you’ve documented your giving by doing it online, by check, or filled in your information on your giving envelope so we can verify what you’ve given, we will refund your full tithe.
Are you taking the challenge? Let us know!
About Our Faith Budget
A faith budget attempts to reflect God’s vision and direction for the ministry, rather than simply planning for “business as usual.” In the business world, a fiscally conservative budget plans for what is reasonably possible for us to accomplish. In a faith-based endeavor, we prayerfully construct a budget that requires us to trust God for the resources for what He is leading us to do. In doing so, we’re saying, “Lord, we believe you’re calling us to accomplish these things, so we’re exercising our faith by walking with you towards this goal.”
For New Song Church, the question is: do we develop a budget based on the tithes and offerings we are reasonably confident we will receive, or based on what we believe God is calling us to do? We choose a faith budget.
We don’t want to budget presumptively. But we do want to budget carefully, prayerfully, and with faith in God to stretch us and supply for us.
All non-profit organizations rely on charitable contributions, which means that the budget is inherently filled with risks and faith. You might called our budget a carefully crafted, “working draft.” As such, we monitor and manage it throughout the year to be sure we’re stewarding well what God and His people have entrusted to us.
With a church budget, every dollar is used for ministry. The more dollars that come in, the more ministry can get done. This is why cutting the budget because is always our last resort. Cutting the budget means reducing the amount of ministry we do for people in the church, in the neighborhood, and around the world. The world’s needs are increasing, not diminishing, so we would rather not cut the budget unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Every spring, the church’s Leadership Board develops a faith budget in consultation with the staff members who will be overseeing each area of the budget. We take this ministry of budget-setting very seriously.
We hold three convictions on this: First, we believe that God-sized dreams stimulate spiritual growth in all of us. God hands us an extra-large vision by design. He is not just interested in what we can accomplish for him, but in who we are becoming along the way. As we wrestle with growing into what and who God calls us to do and be, we are shaped more and more into the likeness of Christ.
Our second conviction is that (2) God-sized dreams require us to invite others into His story. The gap between God’s calling and our ability forces us to rely on Him and include new members of the body of Christ who then experience with us the wonders of partnering with God in ministry. One result is that we’ve seen over 20,000 new believers come to Jesus, on a modest church budget. This is beyond what any one of us could accomplish on our own.
Our third conviction is that God-sized dreams give God glory. God is up to something big when He plants His dreams in our hearts, and it’s much bigger than any or all of us. If we were able to achieve our calling in our own strength, we would be tempted to take the credit for ourselves. But when we stand at the base of an impossible mountain, knowing our legs cannot carry us to the summit, we are forced to rely on God and praise Him for every step he enables us to take along the way.
So, what happens if we don’t meet the faith budget? A church’s revenues come primarily from the tithes and offerings of its members. While the church has monthly fixed costs, like salaries, supplies, insurance and mortgage; giving can fluctuate from month to month and season to season. If member-giving falls below what was projected, we prayerfully consider how to make adjustments to assure good stewardship, and we also let the congregation know about the financial shortfall so everyone is aware and can pray and participate in closing the gap.
On a practical level, if it comes to reducing expenses, things we consider include:
- Reducing ministry programs
- Deferring maintenance
- Utilizing reserve funds
- Cutting staff positions and
- Cutting staff benefits
When it’s all said and done, we budget on faith and spend on reason–that is, on what God and His people make available to invest in ministry through the church.