Bible Studies/Church Financial Support
Dear Sister in Christ:
My question is this: Under what conditions, if any exist, is it acceptable to not provide financial support to one's home church?
I believe that a Christian should donate a tithe and an additional offering to support the work of the Lord. I have practiced this form of stewardship since I was a small child who donated a tithe and an additional offering from her allowance. I presently donate 12.5% of my gross income from all sources to my local church. My local church is now in the midst of the annual stewardship campaign, so I have started to consider my pledge for the next calendar year. Normally, I would pledge at least 12.5% of my income and would try in the course of the next year to donate more when I had the resources to do so. However, I have started to question whether I want to donate these funds to my local church or divert them to one or more other Christian-oriented ministries.
My reasons for my hesitation to pledge to my local church all stem from my loss of faith in the individuals who would oversee these funds on behelf of the church, namely the 12 members of our church council.
Specifically, I question their commitment to Christian discipleship (as seen in, for instance, their non-attendance at Bible study and their less than predictable attendance at worship), as well as their commitment to Christian stewardship (as seen in, for instance, the very low % of their income they donate to the local church and their many excuses for why they cannot donate).
I also have recently become aware of a situation in which previous church councils failed to exercise standard oversight of the finances of the church (as seen in the failure to conduct annual financial audits and the failure to demand specific details about expenditures).
On top of this, one specific church council member does not reflect Biblical standards of conduct (as seen in his long-term cohabilitation relationship with a woman not his wife).
So, these considerations lead to my question of when, if ever, a decision to divert donations elsewhere would be acceptable in the Biblical sense. Please know that, because I believe that I should financially support any church of which I am a member if at all possible, I understand that I may need to look for a new church home rather than continue to battle the conditions that exist in my present church.
I would appreciate any wisdom that you could provide.
Sincere Best Wishes in Christ . . .
It's good that you've given control of your finances to the Lord.
It's bad that Church discipline hasn't been in effect in your group of church people.
A man should step up to deal with the issues that you mention.
If the desire of the folks in leadership is to overlook these problems, I would not hesitate to seek another group to meet with.
I'm not sure that decisions about finances to be used for the Lord's glory would be handled properly by men that are content living outside of Biblical guidelines.
Continue to read His Word, pray, and ask for His will in your life. He will direct you to the ministries that are worthy of your support.
Sorry for the quick answer, but things are happening quickly in the world situation, and folks are really confused with the elections among other things.
May the Lord Bless you.