Expanding God’s Kingdom: Tithing in the Local Church

Often people question not the amount of a proper gift but where it should be given. Some people believe they should be able to distribute their tithe as they see fit. They want to control how their money is spent. If they aren’t happy with the way their local church handles its finances, they think they should have the freedom to give their tithe to an outside organization. But Scripture teaches us that the tithe is to go to the local church–the one and only organization that is eternal. Offerings, any giving over and above the tithe, can be given outside the church, but not the tithe.

Scripture teaches us that the tithe is to go to the local church--the one and only organization that is eternal. Click To Tweet

Let’s look at Malachi 3. God says to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse. Why? So “there may be food in my house” (v. 10 NIV). In biblical times, the storehouse referred to the temple. Today it is the modern church. The “food” God refers to is the ministry of the temple, or, as we understand it, the ongoing work of God through his church on this earth.

In the New Testament church, givers actually laid their gifts at the apostles’ feet, trusting them to distribute the money as God directed. Consider Paul’s words in Acts 4:34-35: “Those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need” (NIV). Can you imagine having to place your tithe at the feet of your local church leader? That would be intimidating to say the least.

Thank goodness we have more modern options for giving to the church–we can give at it service, online, or by mailing an envelope to the church office, to name a few–but the principle still holds true: we bring the tithe to our local, spiritually qualified leaders, and they distribute the money for God’s work.

–Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson

The above excerpt is from pgs. 62-64 of The Generosity Ladder: Your Next Step to Financial Peace.

Help your people find financial peace with my best-selling book, The Generosity Ladder. Imagine a life in which you don’t struggle to make ends meet each month–a life with no debt, a healthy savings account, and solid plans for retirement. Imagine being able to help people in need and give to causes much bigger than your own concerns. This is how God wants everyone to live. And it is attainable. With the help of this practical and insightful book, your people will uncover their true level of financial health and discover a step-by-step plan to save, spend, and invest money in a responsible, godly way. Click here for more information on ordering in bulk for your church.

Your partner in ministry,


Share This Post

About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyLeadership, Stewardship