FAQ’s on Tithing
Q: How often should I give?
A: You should plan your giving through prayer and give regularly. 1 Corinthians 16:2 states, “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.” Giving weekly is a good habit for you to get into as it forms part
Q: Should I give from my net income or from my gross?
A: Deuteronomy 18:4 states “You shall give him the first fruits of your grain, your new wine, and your oil, and the first shearing of your sheep.” GOD calls us to return a portion of our income at the time we receive it, not with what’s left after we have paid our taxes, bills or discretionary expenditures. But we shouldn’t be too legalistic about this. The New Testament principle is generosity, not a percentage.
Q: What if I think St. Augustine’s is putting too much emphasis on money?
A: The Scriptures are very clear that the love of money is one of the major hindrances to our obedience to Christ (1 Timothy 6:10), yet we have seen clearly that the proper use of money is a topic on which Jesus placed great emphasis. A local church has a responsibility to GOD and its members to teach biblical principles about money and stewardship.
Q: Isn’t my giving just my “business?”
A: Actually it is your business and GOD’s business. The church has a responsibility to teach Biblical truth, which includes the topic of stewardship. The Bible teaches that members have a responsibility to support their local church financially. At St. Augustine’s, individual giving records are maintained for income tax purposes and are held in strict confidence.
Q: Isn’t tithing an Old Testament concept that doesn’t apply anymore?
A: Yes and no. Nowhere in the New Testament is there a commandment from Christ or anyone else that believers should give a certain percentage of their income. But that is not to say the New Testament does not promote giving. It promotes a new principle of giving: generous giving from a heart fully surrendered to Jesus Christ (see Matt 23:23; 2 Corinthians 8-9).
Q: Does GOD need my money?
A: No. GOD requires us to give because He wants our heart. He doesn’t need anything from us; He created us and owns everything already. It is a question of faithful stewardship; we give generously through our faith in Christ. GOD uses our offerings to meet the needs and accomplish the work of the Church. (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)
Q: Does GOD care about the amount I give?
A: The amount is important to GOD only because it demonstrates our commitment, faith, obedience and love. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Scripture also teaches that those who give generously will receive a greater reward (not necessarily financial) in GOD’s economy now and for eternity. (2 Corinthians 9:6-11, Matthew 6:20)
Q: What if I have questions about how St. Augustine’s spends money?
A: Regular attenders and members should discuss any of these concerns with the minister or staff person. Giving is a tangible expression of the relationship between GOD and the believer, not the church and the believer. We give out of love, awe, respect, and responsibility to GOD. We will all be held accountable to GOD for our stewardship of His funds; the church’s leaders will be held accountable for their stewardship of His local body and its use of funds. (Hebrews 13:7,17)
Q: Is it OK to give one lump sum rather than try to keep track of regular giving?
A: Yes. Regular giving does however make it easier for the church leadership to plan more effectively.
Q: Money is tight. Can’t I just catch up on giving later?
A: The Lord is the provider of all, including our material wealth. We are often most able to see His provision when money is tight. This provides us with an opportunity to continue to trust in GOD for our provision and give back to Him in recognition of this provision. For example, consider the account of the Christians in the Church at Macedonia found in 2 Corinthians 8:2-3, “that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord.” Additionally, very rarely does a person ever “catch up” on his or her giving. Most likely there will always be something to make our budgets tighter than we like.
Q: Can I split my giving between several Christian organizations that minister to me, not just my church?
A: The primary organization that God uses to accomplish His plan is the local church. While we don’t discount the effectiveness of many other Christian organizations and individuals, we firmly believe God’s clear calling is for believers to direct their giving primarily through the local church. Pastors and elders are accountable first to GOD and then to the congregation to be wise stewards of these funds and to direct them toward the biblically mandated areas of the needy, church leadership/staff, and the spread of the gospel.
Q: What if I do not have enough money to be able to give to the church?
A: It’s important to remember that giving is an act of faith and worship. The amount given during difficult financial times no matter how small is significant in GOD’s economy. The poor widow (Mark 12:42-44) is a good example of how a small amount given demonstrated a spirit of great faith and worship.
Q: How is St. Augustine’s supported?
A: St. Augustine’s is supported through the generous giving of it’s members. At least 80% of our income is from tithes and offerings of our people. We receive no money from St. Hilary’s or the Diocese except for some occasional grants. In fact, as of 2015 we will pay St. Hilary’s ‘Central’ a small percentage of our budget to look after a lot of our administration and we pay the Diocese of Melbourne over 7% to support their various operations and ministries.