While tithing is mentioned in the Bible, statistics as far back as 2013 show that only around 25 percent (at the highest) people tithe within the church.
Number 18:26 reads:
Speak to the Levites and say to them: “When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD's offering.“
The problem isn't that giving is not mentioned in the Bible. There are other reasons tithing is down.
Reasons Tithing is Lower Than Usual
There are a few valid reasons why a person may not tithe. Understanding this helps find ways to counteract this way of thinking.
They Don't Know About It
Those who are new to Christ may not even realize that tithing is written as something they should do. Just like a new student, a person must be taught and learn what is right. Don't think that everyone knows what the Bible says about stewardship. That must be taught.
Their Finances Are Tight
It happens to most of us. We go through periods of having less than usual or feeling as if we do not have any left over to give. This is where 2 Cor. 8:1-2, 7 comes in handy:
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
It showcases how God's grace helps us through even the most difficult of times. Teach the people in your congregation how God helps us when we may feel that we do not have enough — no matter what it is.
Another is Prov. 11:24-25:
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
They Question Where the Money Ends Up
Many people are curious when it comes to finances. One reason some may be hesitant to give is that they do not know where their money is going. It is always a good idea to be transparent with church funds so people feel comfortable giving.
If the members of your congregation know more about the church's finances, they see where there is a need and do not feel as if the money is simply going “somewhere.”
They Are Not Sure How to Give
Sometimes it is as simple as not knowing how to give. Some who are new to the church may see the collection plate going around. They realize you can give that way, but there are so many ways to tithe that they are not aware of. Be sure they know their options.
And never assume a person has been to church in the past and automatically understands how things work.
They Don't Feel Its Importance
Some people have to have a clear vision of what is going on before they will part with their money. This, unfortunately, happens in church, too. Make sure the members know of God's work being done in the church. Share what is being done for the poor. Share how the church helps with counseling. Tell them about programs for children and the community.
Teach them what the Bible says about a generous heart in Luke 21:1-4:
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
What Are the Stats on Gift Giving?
Just so you have an idea of what's going on in tithing and church donations, here are some interesting statistics.
Out of the almost 230 million self-proclaimed Christians in the United States, just a little over 1 million tithe. That is surprisingly less than 1 percent.
Charitable giving is on the rise. As of 2017, its percentages increased. Yet, religious giving remains at just one-third of all charities, and that is down from halfback in the 1980s.
According to the Giving USA Special Report in 2017, most people who give to religious organizations are 65 and older (54 percent). People under the age of 40 are less likely (23 percent) to donate to the Church. Yet with a younger generation of churchgoers, it is important that they are represented as much as the older members.
How to Increase Gift Giving in Your Church
There are things that all churches can do to help increase gift giving. Here are a few ways to see an increase in tithing and donations.
Show by Your Own Works
Giving begins from within. By making sure you are giving what you can, it is easier to discuss with others how giving changed you. Enjoy discussing money, because changing a person's finances helps change their life. Speak from personal experience and share the good, while offering learning experiences out of the “not so good.”
Offer Alternatives in Giving
There are more ways to give than simply passing around the collection plate. While we can all feel good from what we are used to, with a new generation come new ways of giving.
For instance, digital giving technology offers a variety of ways to give.
Online giving works from any web browser and offers 24/7 access to both members and guests. They can even set up recurring donations or tithing to make it easier to remember. Or, one-time giving is an option with secure online giving and mobile giving.
Another way to make giving more convenient for members and guests is with text-to-give. Just like some charities do during a natural disaster, a person only needs to text to donate or tithe. It is easier to increase giving by offering this option during your sermon or talk on stewardship.
Giving kiosks are yet another way to increase stewardship. This kiosk is similar to what most people are already used to when shopping. This is ideal for larger donors and larger congregations. It is important to note that the average kiosk donation is almost 25 percent higher than with text-to-give.
This helps churches dramatically improve giving numbers while reducing the need to focus all their time on raising funds.
Start a Special Offering
During Christmas and Easter, a church-wide special offering is a worthy way to increase giving. Many will be excited to give to a worthy offering. Make sure to pick a need that resonates with your congregation. Whether it is an international mission or something close to home, find a need that others will relate to.
Now set a reachable goal. Don't make it so high that people are discouraged. But do stretch it some so it's a goal people want to attain.
Use some of the ways mentioned prior to allowing people to donate as easily as possible, with the goal progress transparent.
Start at least six weeks prior to the deadline for the goal. This allows people to have time to plan. Let them know it is okay to give any time up to the day of the goal's finish.
Prepare a presentation or talk about the offering and what it means to help. Let them know that after the goal is fulfilled, they will be able to see their efforts. For example, if it is a mission, they will get to see a video of the trip.
Host a Fundraiser
Hosting a specific fundraiser on a date right after a service is a good way to get plenty of attendees. You have your congregation there, so there is no need for an event space. It can be a fun event that feels like a celebration, and it's different from the norm, which gets people excited.
These are just a few ways to increase gift giving and open up new ways for members and guests to be generous. Your congregation should never see giving as a burden. In fact, 2 Cor. 8:12-15 says:
For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”