Should Pastors Know How Much Church Members Give?

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Should Pastors Know How Much Church Members Give?

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No. To argue churches are

No.

To argue churches are more financially secure when pastors know what parishioners give is like saying crime is less a problem when government is more autocratic.

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If giving is a mandate of

If giving is a mandate of scripture for NT believers, then yes, pastors ought to be involved in that part of church life too.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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A suggested approach

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

If giving is a mandate of scripture for NT believers, then yes, pastors ought to be involved in that part of church life too.

A suggested approach:

  • Photocopy all that you send to the IRS every April: W2(s), 1099's, etc. Might as well include some bank statements
  • Whatever you send to the IRS ... send to the Pastor too!
  • He may need to see recent medical records as well ... like a video of the colonoscopy the 50+ members endure

Just to make sure he knows everything in your personal life!

 

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I prefer not to know

It's a good question.  While I don't think it's wrong to know, we have a policy that the elders don't know how much members give.  I prefer not to know.  It certainly prevents any temptation toward favoritism on our part, and that has proven very helpful in some sticky situations over the years.  While we can teach the necessity and value of New Testament giving, leaving the amount between them and the Lord builds that relationship, and leaves it untainted with temptations to be seen by men.  It also helps big donors spiritually, in my view. They know their money will not buy them a level of influence beyond their poor brothers.  

And then there's Matthew 6:3, which, although focused on giving to the poor, seems applicable to what one gives to the church. 

On the amusing side, we visited a large inner city congregation one time, and the pastor (quite well known) actually had in his hand a list of what everyone gives. The whole church was given the list.   He made comments like..."Oh, my...look at some of these names..."

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Chip Van Emmerik wrote: If

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

If giving is a mandate of scripture for NT believers, then yes, pastors ought to be involved in that part of church life too.

How do you ascertain whether someone is giving appropriately?

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No

I would not want to know at all.  I would probably, either consciously or unconsciously, wind up catering to the people that gave more (or less).

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"It is not because the culture is always changing...but because we are always in need of being re-oriented to the Word that stands over us...that the church can never stand still." - M. Horton

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Sauce for the goose...

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

If giving is a mandate of scripture for NT believers, then yes, pastors ought to be involved in that part of church life too.


Would you also believe then that the congregation ought to know how much the pastor gives? Would you also insist that the pastor should be given each member's income so he can determine whether what is given to the church is appropriate?

Dave Barnhart

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First, let me say, no one

First, let me say, no one actually answered the question I posed with my initial post. Is giving a requirement (command) for the NT believer? 

 

@ Dave - I don't have a problem with the members knowing how much the pastor gives, though I think that information fits better with the elders in the paradigm I have suggested.

 

@ Jim - I'm not aware of any NT commands regarding colonoscopys, so I don't think that information needs to be passed on to the pastor. However, since NT giving is part of the commanded church life of the believer, I don't see any biblical grounds to exclude the pastor from this information. That would be like volunteering to teach a children's SS class, but telling the pastor he is not permitted to see the class or ask about the material you are teaching. He just has to trust your personal relationship with God on that matter.

 

@ others - I didn't say the pastor should have all financial information, dictate how you spend your money, tell you how much you should be giving, or call for church discipline based on the amount of your giving. The question was, should the pastor know how much people give. I think he should so that he can be involved in counseling them in this required aspect of church life. It's part of the undershepherd/overseer responsibilities. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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@Chip

Re: colonoscopys .... hyperbole

Upon further reflection .... 

I think churches should have a privacy statement in their constitution. Would address:

  • What information is shared with whom. 
  • And if a church feels that the Pastor should have access to giving records, it should be spelled out.

Barry L's point above is that how much someone gives is only part of the financial giving picture. Without knowing the givers's income the amount given is less valuable. Additionally how much one gives to the church may be a percentage of total giving because said giver may donate directly to a missionary, bible college, et cetera.

So what does the NT say in regards to giving?:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)

“On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.” (1 Cor. 16:2)

So from these NT admonitions, how exactly would a pastor determine what is or is not appropriate for any given individual?  From the first reference, what would be the motivation to even try?

 

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I agree with Wayne.

Actually, when I first saw the question and planned to type a quick response, I read Wayne's and saw that he wrote almost exactly what I would have written. I guess great minds think alike! LOL! (Or is that equally demented minds?)

I would only add that I don't know who any of those quoted "experts" are in the article, but I did notice that none of them were listed as pastors. Kind of makes you go, "Hmmmm....?"

Chip,

I agree that the New Testament mandates giving for believers, but I don't see how that entitles the pastor to know how much they give. The New Testament also tells the married people in my congregation not to deprive one another sexually, but that doesn't mean I am entitled to know how often they have sex, does it?

Keith

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Keith,   You have apples and

Keith,

 

You have apples and oranges commands. Giving is part of the NT church life and part of the overseer's responsibility to oversee, conjugation is not.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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You're right about that point, Chip.

Right. Good point, Chip. You did ask, "If giving is a mandate of scripture for NT believers, then yes, pastors ought to be involved in that part of church life too" (italics mine).

I still don't think pastors have to know the specific amounts their people give, however, and I see no Scriptural warrant for assuming that they must. In fact, I think it may also be unwise, since I could see a number of potential problems stemming from their knowing -- some which have been mentioned already and some which haven't. To each his own, I guess.

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Willful Ignorance? Noble Blindness?

If I had a nickle every time I've had this conversation/debate in one of my classes, with colleagues or even among our elders, I would not need to worry about who gives what to whom when.

I personally tend toward letting the pastor know for the following reasons:

1. A policy of "not knowing" elevates money to a near idol status.  Why should money be so "special" and sacred that it gets it own security detail?  It's JUST money.  Would we also want the pastor to be ignorant of who volunteers their time?  Who teaches SS?  Who helps at the homeless shelter?  Who sings on the praise team?  (I actually had "in the choir" down, but I changed it to "on the praise team" largely because I like to cause trouble wherever possible.)  It's just one small facet of what we should be giving to the Lord and not necessarily that big of one -- unless we make it a big deal.

2. It assumes the worst of the pastor/elders.  Lord knows that they can be trusted with the details of one's previous marriage, the condition of one's family, the consequences of folk's past, the presence of personal struggles, the addictions to alcohol, drugs or porn -- but let's not get crazy here and let him know about anyone's finances!  What are you?  Naive?  He's likely to show someone favoritism.  Seriously, if your pastor is inclined to show someone favoritism over money or gifts or free lunches or complements or whatever -- he's got a spiritual problem that should not be ignored.  Don't put blinders on him -- deal with the real issue.  Why can the financial clerk be trusted with that info, but not the pastor?  Does he have a criminal history or something?

3. The only people that generally have a problem are the people who don't give or who are cynical toward the pastor.   You can print what I give in the bulletin every week for all I care.  I'm not proud of it and I'm not ashamed of it.  I give because God is good, not because I'm good.  I'm trying to be obedience and a blessing.  But it's not about me.

4. Anyone who has an issue of wanting privacy, can have privacy.  Give it in cash.  End of problem.  If you are giving because you want the tax write off, then you are giving for the wrong reason.  If you want the tax write-off, then someone gets to know.  Pretty straight up decision.

5. It helps the pastor make wise decisions.  Do you really want an elder, deacon, Bible study teacher or some other ministry leader who doesn't give? 

6.  Pastor's routinely know if a person is faithful to church, has a good family, has a job, loves the Lord, shares his faith, etc..., so why separate money?  (See points 1,2 and 5.)

7. It assumes the pastor is stupid (as well as corrupt.)  Hello -- take a look at what kind of car they drive, where their house is located and how big it is, where they vacation or simply their job description and you'll get an idea as to how wealthy they are or aren't.  A corrupt pastor will gravitate toward that whether or not they are giving to the church.  If they aren't -- he'll be trying to figure out out to hit that jackpot personally or for the church.  If they are -- he probably already can figure it out.  We tend to make a bigger deal out of what other people give than the person actually doing the giving.

8. The worst critics are often people who don't give.  Any pastor who has known what people give will have noticed that the loudest and often most obnoxious gripers are far more often not giving than are.  Why would I allow someone who doesn't give of his time, treasure or talent to the local church and the Lord's work have a disproportionate voice in feedback or future vision simply because he/she is loud and/or demanding?  That's not favoritism...that's plain ol' discernment.

9.  Finally, if a pastor struggles with showing favoritism or simply doesn't want to know -- then he should simply say, "I don't want to see it."  I don't think that makes him particularly noble, but if its necessary -- then its necessary.  There are some things I don't do that aren't sinful, but they are just not spiritually healthy for me.  So if it's money that is someone's Achilles Heal, then why risk it.  It really IS only money.

And yes, I've had access to the records of giving every where I've served as a pastor.  I rarely accessed them -- but I could have.  I just didn't need to all that often.  Usually when it was deacon or elder consideration time, I'd have someone check.  I'm the one who handles the financial records in my current role and that was decided by the elders who hold to the position that no other pastor/elder will know who gives or not.  I disagree with their rationale, but it's not really that big of a deal.  But as such, they are just names and numbers to me....I don't remember much about it beyond the couple of hours it takes me to enter the info into the database.

But it IS fun to debate.  Kind of like music styles and Bible versions.  Biggrin

 

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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Catering or Character?

Jay wrote:

I would not want to know at all.  I would probably, either consciously or unconsciously, wind up catering to the people that gave more (or less).

Not sure I'd want to trust a pastor who was so easily convinced to cater to people.  Sounds like a character issue to me.

Blum 3

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Good food for thought, Dan.

Dan, I appreciate your putting out some good things to think about, especially for those in one of your classes, but after 20+ years in ministry you might not be surprised to find that I have already thought about such issues. Here are some of my own thoughts concerning each of your points:

1. I suppose your point that "A policy of 'not knowing' elevates money to a near idol status" would be a very good one if my reasons for preferring not to know were such as you assume. However, as my following responses might reveal, I am not entirely in agreement with your take on the matter.

2. I think you raise a very good point when you argue that "It assumes the worst of the pastor/elders." And I would tend to agree that we shouldn't allow the attitudes you identify here to drive what we are doing, but your criticism here appears to assume that the policy of not knowing is forced upon the elders by the congregation because they cannot be trusted. However, at Immanuel it is the elders themselves who have adopted the policy. You are quite correct when you say that we are "trusted with the details of one's previous marriage, the condition of one's family, the consequences of folk's past, the presence of personal struggles, the addictions to alcohol, drugs or porn," so why, then, would we want to add yet another potential burden/temptation to our load when we don't have to? And why would we want to add another temptation to the flock, some of whom may assume that we could or would show favoritism based on who gives more -- but this is not as likely if they know that we don't have this information. You see, the policy is out of concern for them as well, as Wayne has already noted above.

3. I would not assume that everyone in my congregation would be so free from temptation as you seem to be. And I don't think Jesus would assume so either. After all, He is the one who warned us about not giving to be seen by men. He knows we may have such a temptation, and I want to follow His wise instruction in the matter.

4. Couldn't agree more on this point, although who knows what is given is more limited in our policy.

5. When you argue that "It helps the pastor make wise decisions," I think you raise another good point, but I would argue that, if a man being considered as a Deacon, for example, doesn't practice giving to the church, then such a selfish attitude will generally show in other ways as well. So I'm not sure it is as necessary a thing to know as you might assume, especially if we as the Elders already know the person very well. I also can't remember Paul listing a focus on how much a man gives financially to the church as among the requirements for office.

6. You have argued, "Pastor's routinely know if a person is faithful to church, has a good family, has a job, loves the Lord, shares his faith, etc..., so why separate money?" My response is partly similar to that in point five above. First, if we know all these other things about them, then the specifics about how much they give really aren't so important after all, are they? I mean, if we know them and see strong Christian character in every other aspect of their lives, then why wouldn't we assume they give as well. Second, preferring not to know what people give to the  church is not the same thing as remaining completely ignorant of how they handle their finances. At Immanuel we find that we know quite a bit about how our people handle their finances because so many of them talk to us about it, even if they usually don't mention any specifics about what they give to the church. I have also found discovered that we almost always find out if a man doesn't hjandle his finances well, and more often than not from his wife when the marital issues begin (if not sooner). Third, knowing the specific amount someone gives to the church can be misleading, for it may often fail to reflect the complete nature of their giving anyway. For example, although not a typical case, I once had a young couple (whom I know very well and trust) confess to me that they hadn't been tithing to the church (even though I never asked). They explained that while they were in school and traveling a lot from church to church for a few years with no consistent church home, they had started giving their tithe to a couple of missionary families who were in great need. But then they came back home to our church after about five years and found themselves unable to give to the church as much as they would like. So they continued giving what they had promised to the missionaries and began to give what they could to our church until one day they hoped it would even surpass a tenth. In such a case what they gave to the church each week didn't come close to telling the story. And, by the way, they represent a numbe rof people who have opened up to me about thier giving patterns in order to get Scriptural advice, and they did not becasye they trusted me and becasue it was their own choice, not becasue they had to.

7. You argue that a policy of the pastor not knowing "assumes the pastor is stupid (as well as corrupt.)" Again, this might indeed be the case if the congregation had demanded to policy, but at Immanuel we elders have decided on such a policy ourselves, and none of us thinks the others are either stupid or corrupt.

8. I am quite sure you are correct when you assert that "The worst critics are often people who don't give.  Any pastor who has known what people give will have noticed that the loudest and often most obnoxious gripers are far more often not giving than are." But do I really need to know what they are giving in order to know if they are "obnoxious gripers" or to be discerning enought o watch out for them?

9. I hope you can see by now that our reasons for preferring not to know what people give don't boil down simply to our feeling that we might be tempted to show favoritism. In fact, we are more concerned that some in the congregation might think that we would show favoritism if they knew that we knew what everyone gives. And, as Wayne so apltly put it, we are concerned with thier spiritual health in this area.

Keith

 

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Character might avoid the possible temptation to cater.

DLCreed, 

One could argue that Jay might be demonstrating character by not wanting to put himself in the path of temptation unnecessarily.

Keith

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Another point I forgot to mention.

One of the reasons I prefer not to know what people give is that I wish to remain above reproach and to avoid even the appearance of evil where I can. Let me explain.

I see this issue as analogous to other issues I face as pastor. For example, although I think I could be trusted to handle the church's money, I choose not to have any ability to access the church's funds without asking approval from at least one other elder and at least one deacon. This simply removes the temptation for me, but my main concern is to remain above reproach. In a ministry in which false accusations seem to come easy for disgruntled people, they simply cannot ever accuse me of personally misusing church funds when everybody and his brother knows full well that I have no access to them.

I also have a policy of never being alone in a room or car, etc.,  with a woman who is not my wife. And I have adopted this policy not so much because I am so fearful that I might succumb to temptation but rather because of how others might be tempted to view it. Again, in a ministry in which false accusations seem to come easy for disgruntled people, they simply cannot ever accuse me of impropriety in this area if there is absolutely no time that such impropriety could occur.

In a similar way, I prefer not to know what people give so that no one can ever accuse me of favoritism based on such knowledge (the very kind of accusation floating around a number of churches I attended as I was growing up).

To be sure, we will never be able to remove every possible thing that a person might try to use against us to make an accusation, but I am going to do my best to live above reproach and to avoid even the appearance of evil to take away any and every possible weapon the enemy might try to use against me. I certainly don't want to adopt any policies that will make his job any easier!

Just some mroe to think about.

Keith

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Good reply!

Keith...

I'm grading papers tonight and to break the tedium, I pop into a few of my favorite sites every few Research Papers.  I know it's strange, but effective for me, at least.  So this won't be a thorough response.  This definitely isn't a hill I'm willing to die on, but I do enjoy the debate and in the end, each must be guided by their conscience.  One last point of clarification before I raise a counter, I did not have you or your setting personally in mind -- I was just regurgitating my standard talking points.

I respect your rationales and how you describe the elders in your church would be almost precisely the position of most elders in our church.  (I'm a practical elder, but have chosen not to be a voting elder because of my role as an Executive Pastor.  Which is kind of odd, because we almost never have votes, but at least it's got semantic distance.)

One counter I would make is to raise the specter of legalism.  When a policy is made such as this, it can (not saying it DOES, but can) become legalistic or lead in that direction.  You kind of made my point.  If we are interested in protecting our reputations as elders, why not codify ALL of the potential weak areas.  Here are a few I've seen raised beyond "not seeing who gives" or as you mentioned "not being alone with a woman in a car/office, etc..." -- one which I practice.  (Billy Graham would not even get in an elevator with a woman.)  "Not attending movies lest someone think the elder is watching something wicked", "not going to a restaurant that serves liquor", "not being seen without a tie (I'm serious)", "not going to amusement parks", "not playing sports on Sundays", "not drinking alcohol ever (again, one of my personal ones), "not attending any concerts/plays", "not reading after certain authors (lest weaker Christians see the books in the office and think they are 'OK')", "not traveling for more than 3 days without having your wife go with you lest you be morally tempted", "not staying in a hotel where adult movies were an option on the TV", "not owning a TV" and more.

Now, I think many of these are actually quite good protections.  We each have SOME weaknesses or vulnerabilities based on our sin natures.  Should that potential be put into policy and uniformaly applied for each elder?  Maybe we can think of some more like "not being alone with a guy" (I mean, we've all heard stories, right?), not reading fiction, not using Craig's List, not driving a new car and many more.  (I'm really good at coming up with legalistic rules as a recovering pharisee.)

So, I really don't have a problem with someone saying, "I want to stay above board in XYZ area."  I'm just suspicious of our tendencies to think that policies will actually solve anything.

Thanks for the engagement!

Dan

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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Matt 6:4

"That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father which seeth it in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

The reason for this verse is negated when a parishioner knows the pastor is watching.

 

 

"The only people that generally have a problem are the people who don't give or who are cynical toward the pastor"

 

This is quite the ironic statement  You talk about cynical.

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You are right on about avoiding legalism.

Dan,

You are correct about avoiding legalism. Of course, most of the other matters you have mentioned usually involve pastors who are already in legalistic churches. I don't think anyone in our church would ever dream of thinking ill of me, for example, because they saw me go into a movie theater.

I would also point out that I never mentioned "codifying" anything. We elders chose a policy of not knowing what other people give for a number of reasons, one of which for me personally was to stay above reproach. The other two policies I mentioned were simply my own. I have not demanded that anyone else follow my way of doing things. And the areas in which I have adopted such policies are not trivial ones, such as wearing a tie or going to a movie or playing sports, etc. I would also note again that, where these more trivial issues tend to be raised is in contexts that already have a tendency toward legalism and not in most ministry settings, at least not in my experience over the years. The issues of sexual morality and money are two really big issues in Scripture -- not just in the minds of people who want to raise issues to a level that is not warranted by Scripture -- and they are potential problems anywhere and everywhere I have ever been.

So, just because trivial issues can be blown out of proportion and made to seem serious doesn't mean that genuinely serious issues should potentially be trivialized.

Keith

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Well said, Barry.

You made good points, Barry. Thanks.

Keith

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Context is Important

Barry L. wrote:

"That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father which seeth it in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

The reason for this verse is negated when a parishioner knows the pastor is watching.

 

 

"The only people that generally have a problem are the people who don't give or who are cynical toward the pastor"

 

This is quite the ironic statement  You talk about cynical.

 

Barry....like "judge not lest you be judged" and "He who is without sin cast the first stone", I would say this verse ranks in the Top 10 of misused text proofs in Scripture.  There are examples throughout OT and NT scripture of public giving and this is not a directive passage.  You jerk it out of context to apply it to a church when Jesus was specifically dealing with the externalism of the Pharisees.  If you are going to apply this passage as you have, to be intellectually and theologically honest, you must also infer that public prayers in church services, etc... are not permitted either.  What are you going to do with the passage that speaks of "provoking one another through good works"?

My statement regarding "problem people" is based on 30 years of ministry leadership experience.  Not once....not a single time, have I ever heard from someone who was a regular giver who was concerned that someone might know that that they gave.  However, on multiple occasions, I have later discovered that someone who was loudly opposing a building campaign, a new position, a budget, etc... never gave a dime the previous year. (Albeit, I would have to concede that they could be giving in cash, but considering the size of cash offerings in this modern era, I doubt it.)  If one would want to be cynical toward ministry or the "Sheep" -- most pastors will tell you that we have far greater opportunities to reach that state than through giving reports.

Again, I emphasize, let each be convinced in their own mind.  I'm fine with individuals, elders, churches, etc... having a "pastoral/elder blindfold" in regard to giving.  I'm just pointing out other arguments for the sake of discussion.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

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Now that's a good point!

Dan said:

like "judge not lest you be judged" and "He who is without sin cast the first stone", I would say this verse ranks in the Top 10 of misused text proofs in Scripture.  There are examples throughout OT and NT scripture of public giving and this is not a directive passage.  You jerk it out of context to apply it to a church when Jesus was specifically dealing with the externalism of the Pharisees.  If you are going to apply this passage as you have, to be intellectually and theologically honest, you must also infer that public prayers in church services, etc... are not permitted either.  What are you going to do with the passage that speaks of "provoking one another through good works"?

When you're right, you're right.

On the other hand, Jesus' teaching does warn us against the Pharisaical tendency we all have, so seeking to avoid the problems they had isn't such a bad thing. I think we need to combine your comment here with your warning against legalism earlier.

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How?

"This notion of pastors not knowing how much people give is a recent development, born out of a materialistic, individualistic society. As a pastor, you're the doctor of the congregation. You've got to be looking at diagnostic information, and there's none better than financial giving."
Jim Sheppard, CEO, Generis

I don't disagree that if giving is an act of obedience, that a lack of giving could be an indication of disobedience that the pastor needs to address.

But practically speaking, how would this work? If all he knows is a dollar amount of how much  people give to the church, how does he know if they are giving more or less than a "10% tithe" unless he also has access to their income information? 

We are, in a sense, stewards of each other- we are to care for, bear burdens, and even rebuke each other. But how we do this requires an enormous amount of discernment and humility, and I think we are all a bit scared of what it really means to be in each other's lives to the point where we are able to do this effectively. We are individualistic and embrace our right to privacy, and nobody is more all about privacy than I am. But at some point we have to let down our guard and let each other in if we want to be obedient to God's commands to minister to each other. 

 

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Mammon-itis

A couple of comments, as I have been thinking on this ... 1st, a bias alert ... I hold to elder/bishop/pastor triad of words as referring to the same office that is commonly referred to in my church family as "pastor." One aspect, therefore, of being a bishop or overseer, is the idea of being entrusted with the stewardship of both leading by example as well as leading through accountability. This accountability is both received into my life as well as provided to others within my church family.

In thinking through this aspect of accountability in the area of giving, Luke 16 provides some help in terms of knowing what we love. One evidence is how we handle our money, and if we don't handle it well as stewards, we are not really fit for greater responsibilities or "riches" - Luke 16:11.

So, while some may say yes to knowing specifics or no to said same specifics, there are times when I as the bishop do specifically ask the hard questions, and I can do that because I lead by example in my giving as well as knowing that my stewardship brings accountability to others.

1. I ask when a man is being considered for a leadership position. It is an indicator as to whether or not that man is being obedient to Christ, understanding that Christ is the Lord of the wallet! ~ similar in thought to Chip's earlier position of giving being a response of obedience to the command of NT scripture. If a man was going to be a teammate in leadership, it would be important to not keep from his overseer information that would help to establish credibility, maturity and mutuality in this context. If he is going to be a leader of people, he must lead by example

2. I ask when a man is expressing interest in pursuing public pastoral ministry as a vocation. You have to ask questions about giving and other uses of money, because motive in ministry is extremely critical - 1 Pet. 5:1-3.

3. In thinking this through further, I am often drawn to this reality. We have, in 1 Cor. 5, the specific case of a practical outworking of church discipline being mandated by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church toward the unrepentant adulterer. Within that same context, Paul encourages them to not associate with, not only the unrepentant adulterer, but also the unrepentant covetous person or unrepentant idolater. Fascinating to think about, but we must ask and consider what is this and what would it look like, and how do you determine if someone is worshiping money or material possessions wrongly, i.e. idolatry? What are the marks and the determining factors for a congregation to know whether or not someone is coveting, materialistic, etc? Have you ever seen church discipline practiced in this situation? I posit that there would have to be some knowledge of how the individual handles their finances and of their giving, if these charges were to be examined. 

For the record, as a pastor, I know no specific amounts of anyone in my church family, yet I ask pointedly about their giving when team building. Interested in reading feedback ... appreciated the give and take by Dan and PastorK

~Jeff

 

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Jeff,

I also work at/attend a church that practices the same governance of pastor/elder/bishop as it appears that you do.  Some are vocational and others non-vocational, but all are Biblically qualified.  Before someone is placed in leadership from small group leader to elder, they are interviewed and questioned on a variety of matters including financial support.  It sounds like the approach in your church is very similar to ours and it is a wise process.  No elder, other than me, has access to the giving records and I have been instructed very specifically not to give them information.  If I were to become aware that someone had lied, I would go to them first and only after doing that (Matt. 18) would I be freed to bring it to the elders.  This would be the process for any other sin as well.

Blessings....

Dan

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com