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Tithing and Giving at LivingRoom

17 January, 2005 12:45 PM

One of the questions that has been sitting in my inbox for a while now from a reader is on Tithing/Giving. A reader asks:

One thing that interests me is tithing. I've read some of your posts about money and the emerging church, and I wonder, how do you think tithing fits in the emerging church? If there's no building to maintain and no full-time staff, is a strict 10-per-cent-per-paycheck still the go? No quibbles that giving money per se is important practically as well as being an antidote to materialism, of course.... How does LivingRoom do things?

Good question. Actually giving is an area we're currently working on (and so the following is largely my own opinion and guesswork as to how we'll move forward). To this point its been very relaxed (perhaps too relaxed) and we've left it up to individuals to give as they feel led to do to whatever they want. If they want to give to LivingRoom we have an account that they can directly debit money into. But we rarely talk about it and we rarely spend it! I know individuals are very generous with other causes - giving to the LivingRoom account to this point has been quite small - probably because we have not pushed it at all.

I actually would like this year to have it higher on our priority list - not that we talk about it all the time or pressure people to give to LivingRoom but that we raise the profile of being a generous and giving group of people.

We don't and probably won't ever have a bowl that we pass around but I suspect that we will probably just talk about it more and talk about where we might give the money that is given more.

We don't actually have any expenses as a church - I don't draw a wage and we have few, if any overheads - as you say - no building, no staff, no expenses. This is exciting to me because it means that any money we get we are looking to give to other groups, ministries, community groups etc - especially missional stuff. This year we may use some of it to run some of our own missional projects.

So in answer to your question - its not a big deal for us and perhaps should be more of one (without becoming dominant).

My personal opinion on tithing is that 10% isn't really what God is after. He asks for everything and so we need to learn to live more in an attitude of that whether it be in our formal or informal giving/generosity. I'm not anti tithing or churches that practice it but would much prefer to see individuals seeking God as to how he wants them to use their resources (financial, time, possessions etc) and then responding to that. I'll keep you up to date here on the blog as to any decisions we end up making in the coming weeks/months on this area.



It really turns the whole tithing-to-your-church thing upside down when you realize that you're in charge of how the money is spent, and that often churches just spend the money on their members, which is kind of pointless in terms of kingdom effectiveness.

I do think there is a need for the well-to-do such as ourselves to give missionally or to the needy at a level at least equal to a tithe (even if God hadn't said anything about it).

Justin Baeder » 17 January, 2005 5:48 PM

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