There are some who believe that tithing is a legalistic approach to giving. But I believe that God has called us to bring our tithes and offerings to Him on a regular basis. It’s a physical act that demonstrates that He is the Lord of our life. The New Testament didn’t lower the expectations of giving. If anything it actually increased it to the point that we should be willing to sacrificially give to glorify God and further His Kingdom. We should teach regularly on the biblical perspective of giving using both the Old and New Testament as our guide. Jesus talked more about money than he did any other subject while He was here on earth. He knew that if we were going to learn to trust in Him, we would have to learn to let go of our main object of trust, our money.
I have found that once or twice a year as you are teaching a series on giving or one Sunday on giving, you can use the tithe challenge to jump people from initial givers and systematic givers to tithers. It’s just as easy to ask for a 30 day commitment as it is to ask for a 3 month tithe challenge. If your asking for a 3 month challenge, you can also modify it to a 4 month challenge. In Malachi, God says test me. Encourage people to test God. ”For the next 4 months I want to encourage you to take this challenge and see what God does in your life.” Along with this challenge, you could give out copies of the treasure principle to those who take the challenge. Either hand it out that day or mail it to them. Mailing it could be better because in the packet with the treasure principle you can include a letter from the pastor with info about the challenge and a mail in envelope and even ask them to use auto debit. After the challenge Sunday, send an email from the pastor encouraging them about their commitment. Then one month in, send another encouraging email, “Right now your being challenged and are wondering what is going on and you are considering taking back what is God’s…” Again at half way through the challenge, send another email requesting stories about what has happened since they took the challenge. (Tangible or Intangible) Do they feel better, have inward peace, seen financial blessings, seen financial struggles, etc… And one month before the challenge ends, send out all of the stories you received to encourage others and invite more stories from those in the challenge. If you’re ambitious, you can also do a daily devotion dealing with money to people who took the tithe challenge.
Note: Know that there will be some people that will not continue tithing after the challenge is over. But there will be a good percentage of those who took the challenge who will realize the value of giving and continue to do it on a regular basis.
Times of change are good times to start a tithe challenge. These would be the months January or Feburary and then again in August or September.
A Side Note on Tithing
Malachi 3 is the basis for tithing. The best time to teach on giving is when things are going good. It should be a part of the normal routine. If you taught on money as much as Jesus taught on money … it would be every third week. A third of Jesus’ teaching is on money. You should challenge people to give more so they can grow more. When you are not tithing, God is not proactively against you. But at the same time, He is not proactively for you. The curse from not tithing is the absence of God’s blessings in your life. Partial obedience in the tithe is complete disobedience. Genesis 4 is another good passage where it talks about Cain and Able. Cain gave what was left over … it says he gave some of his fruit (not his best fruit).
A common excuse for not giving is debt. But, the way to get out of debt is to pay God first and let him manage the debt, not to pay down the debt and ignore God. Proverbs 3:9&10 tells us to honor the Lord with our wealth. Additionally, the tithe should be given to the church not other organizations. The church belongs to Jesus Christ. It is the organization He left behind.