Friday, March 10, 2006

Tithing Dispute

(from FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

The majority of Protestant ministers (56%) believe that Christians should tithe 10 percent of their income to their local church while only 36 percent of church members hold that view, according to a new study conducted by Ellison Research and released last week by Facts & Trends. Almost one-in-four churchgoers (23%) believe that the Bible commands them to tithe, but not necessarily to their local church. Only 12 percent of clergy feel the same way. The research, conducted among 811 Protestant ministers and 1,184 adults who attend a Protestant church at least once a month, also revealed that 10 percent of Christians believe that they are under no mandate to give anything.

Similar studies over the years have consistently shown that while 60 percent of churchgoers believe that tithing is a biblical directive, fewer than 10 percent actually tithe of their income. "In other words, at least half of all Protestants are clear on what they're supposed to be giving, but consistently don't give it," said Ron Sellers, president of Ellison research.

Other key findings from the study:

* Disaster relief is the most common type of cause (outside of the local church) that is supported financially.
* The average churchgoer directs 31 percent of their giving to organizations outside of their church.
* In the last year, two-thirds of clergy have given to promote evangelistic causes outside of their own church. Only one-third of laity have done so.

Complete report can be found at

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