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Methodists/Tithing and holding a position in church


Can a pastor or the nominating team refuse to grant a person a position in church, such as evangelism chair person, higher education chair person, lay speaker, Sunday school teacher or any other position because that person does not tithe?


Paragraph 258 of the Book of Discipline outlines the work of the committee of lay leadership (formerly called the nominating committee) in choosing leaders.  No where does it state that a leader has to tithe.

It's possible that the pastor might have this as his personal rule, but it is not the rule of the church.  The UMC encourages tithing, but I believe that probably less than 10% do.  A Barna study from 2007 stated that only 5-7% of church goers tithed.  The 2006 average giving was $400 a year.  That would be a tithe of a $4,000 wage, way below the poverty line.  Frankly, I'm surprised that many churches are even still operating the way people do not give.  I personally do tithe, but it took me over a decade to reach that point.  We need to teach our kids to do it, because it's easier to tithe when you have little, and get used to it.  The best part of my retirement buyout was that I received a half years salary all at once.  It was really fun to give away thousands to my favorite charity.

So, if your committee is choosing only tithers to serve in leadership positions, they are severely limiting themselves as to who can be a leader.  There are a LOT of people in your church or any church that would make great leaders, even if they are not yet tithing.  If this practice really bothers you, then you should be going to your pastor first, then to your DS if you do not get a satisfactory answer from your pastor.  I agree with you that tithing should not be a reason to not consider someone from a leadership role.


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Carl Fuglein


General questions about the United Methodist Church - its history, Book of Discipline, its stance on current issues, church politics and administration, etc.


I've attended United Methodist Churches for 40 years and been an "official" member for 33 years. I've held many lay positions within the church and am considered a church "leader".

I've attended the UMC lay speaking academy and am a recognized conference preacher.

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