What if…Christians Actually Tithed?

November 14, 2011 0 comments

As believers we are called to live generous lives. I believe it was Dave Ramsey who first described tithing as the training wheels of giving. Calling tithing the training wheels of giving means it is the beginning point. However, statistics indicate that the average follower of Jesus gives far less than 1o% of their income. So what would happen is Christians actually tithed? The answer is simple. We would change the world. Christian Smith and Michael O. Emerson, in their book Passing the Plate say this:

The up-side potential for good in U.S. Christian giving is immense, almost unimaginable. If American Christians were to give from their income generously–not lavishly, mind you, only generously–they could transform the world, starting right away. Ordinary American Christians have within their power the capacity to foster massive and unprecedented spiritual, social, cultural, and economic change that closely reflects their values and interests. In order to achieve such dramatic, world-transforming change, ordinary American Christians simply need to do one thing: start giving reasonably generously from their incomes, let us say 10 percent of post-tax income. Fostering such changes could begin immediately. It would not require getting Congress or the United Nations to act. It would not require a military mobilization or waiting for a majority turn over in the Supreme Court. It would only require ordinary Christians from one country to start doing something that seems entirely within their power and that most of them, according to the teachings of their own faith traditions, ought to already be doing anyway: give generously from the financial resources with which they have been blessed.

What they say here is powerful. We could change the world if we would give generously. The only thing I would say is that they are NOT even talking about generosity. They are simply talking about what Dave Ramsey refers to as training wheel level giving. If we would just tithe, and the tithe they are discussing is the lowest tithe (after tax income). Later in this same chapter they demonstrate what could be done if Christians actually tithed. In fact they narrow who they are referring to as committed Christians.

Let us begin, then, with a conservative estimation, imagining that only those American Christians would begin to give 10 percent of their after-tax income who either attend church regularly (a few times a month or more frequently) or profess to be “strong” or “very strong” Christians. Let us call these “committed” Christians…We estimate that if committed Christians in the United States gave 10 percent of their after-tax income–fully but no more than 10 percent–that would provide an extra $46 billion per year of resources with which to fund needs and priorities…By our reckoning, with $46 billion they could–in addition to sustaining all currently funded churches, organizations, ministries, and programs–achieve the following.

The below stats are long but overwhelming. Take your time and contemplate the difference you could make:

Cost Description
Global Missions
$330,000,000 Sponsor 150,000 new indigenous missionaries and pastors in nations most closed to foreign religious workers
$2,200,000,000 Triple the resources being spent by all Christians on Bible translating, printing, and distribution to provide Bibles in the native languages of the 2,737 remaining people groups currently without Bible translations
$350,000,000 Provide 50,000 needs-based scholarships of $7,000 each per year for deserving Christian seminary and Bible school students in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
$30,000,000 Translate into four different languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese), publish, and distribute 20,000 copies of 100 new titles per year of the best English-language Christian books for reading in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
$120,000,000 Hire 1,500 new Christian ministers to work in hospitality, evangelism, and discipleship with foreign students studying in U.S. universities
$9,000,000 Finance the organizational infrastructure of a major Christian research and advocacy organization fighting against contemporary economic and sexual slavery worldwide
$75,000,000 Provide funds to help build, expand, or upgrade 75,000 church and ministry buildings in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
$9,000,000 Finance the organizational infrastructure of a major Christian research and advocacy organization fighting for religious freedoms worldwide
$95,000,000 Finance 350 new Christian radio stations broadcasting Christian programming into the least evangelized regions of the world
$50,000,000 Finance 1,000 new interreligious study groups and travel tours per year to promote grass-roots mutual understanding and communication, particularly between Christians and Muslims around the world
$1,000,000,000 Quadruple the total resources being spent by all Christians globally on missions to evangelize the unevangelized world
Global Development and Relief
$2,000,000,000 Finance 5,000,000 grass-roots, micro-enterprise economic development projects per year in poor countries worldwide that employ revolving loan funds for needy entrepreneurs to purchase tools, materials, and equipment to start or expand micro businesses, which they pay pack as their businesses grow
$500,000,000 Completely close the funding gap on resources needed by the current global campaign to eradicate polio worldwide before 2010
$2,000,000,000 Fund 1,000,000 new clean water, well-drilling projects per year in the poorest nations (25% of the world’s population drinks unsafe water), dramatically improving the health of tens if not hundreds of millions of people per year
$1,000,000,000 Finance 10,000 comprehensive faith-based programs of AIDS/HIV prevention, education, and medication in sub-Saharan Africa
$3,900,000,000 Provide full resources needed for a global campaign to prevent and treat malaria worldwide
$2,000,000,000 Supply 1 heifer or 4 hobs (as needed an appropriate) to 4,000,000 needy Christian or other families worldwide per year
$4,550,000,000 Provide food, clothing, and shelter to all 6,500,000 current refugees in all of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
$9,000,000 Finance the organizational infrastructure of a major Christian think-tank and advocacy organization working on creative means to reduce poverty and hunger worldwide
$480,000,000 Quadruple the current annual operating budget of Habitat for Humanity
$1,600,000,000 Double the current annual operating budget of World Vision, which serves 100 million people in 96 nations
$200,000,000 Boost funding to Christian organizations worldwide that provide free and subsidized eye exams, vision care, glasses, limb braces, and prosthetics to 1,000,000 of the poorest and neediest people of the world
$10,000,000,000 Sponsor 20 million needy children worldwide through Christian organizations providing them food, education, and healthcare
$810,000,000 Quadruple all resources currently being spent by all Christians globally on medial missions work
U.S. Christian Ministry and Church Finance
$750,000,000 Hire 10,700 new Christian youth ministers to evangelize, disciple, guide, and counsel U.S. teenagers
$750,000,000 Raise the salaries of 50,000 of the most needy U.S. church pastors by an average of $15,000 each, to provide for proven needs and to increase incentives encouraging the best and brightest young adults to consider callings to ministry
$75,000,000 Fund 500 new Christian Prison ministry organizations providing evangelism, discipleship, and education to prison inmates
$10,000,000 Translate into English 200 per year o the best Christian articles and books by foreign language writers for publication and sale in the United States and other English-speaking nations
$1,800,000,000 Finance the refitting of the heating, cooling, and electrical systems of 20,000 of the most desperate and inefficient U.S. church buildings per year, including the installation (where appropriate, in 1/3rd of the cases) of new PV solar electric generating systems
$1,100,000,000 Fund 5,500 new Family Counseling and Support organizations in the United States and major cities worldwide to bring affordable Christian support and counseling to families, marriages, and individuals in trouble
$4,000,000,000 Hire 50,000 new, trained, church-based adult Christian educators for the re-education of the U.S. Christians in theology, discipleship, and ministry
$9,000,000 Finance the organizational infrastructure of a major Christian think-tank working on Christian perspectives and moralities of new biotechnologies and emerging medical ethics
$9,000,000 Finance the organizational infrastructure of a major Christian research and training center addressing Christian views on mass media and media production and consumption
$3,375,000,000 Provide the hiring of 45,000 church-based U.S. ministers to the elderly whose mission would be to provide Christian fellowship, care, and support to millions of the most isolate, abandoned, disabled, and lonely aging Americans in their homes, nursing homes, or apartments
$75,000,000 Launch 300 cross-race immersion programs around the United States to provide Christians opportunities to live for 2 weeks in different race environments, to learn and build relationships toward more profound racial reconciliation
U.S. Economic Stewardship & Diaconal Ministry
$150,000,000 Provide financial and debt management training to 200,000 U.S. Christians per year who are deeply in debt, to help them get on solid financial ground in order to be able to make them positive financial contributions in the future
$100,000,000 Provide church-based jobs training and career counseling to 100,000 unemployed or welfare-dependent Americans per year
$50,000,000 Finance 25 new U.S. regional faith-based organizations that would provide assistance and subsidies to pay heating and utilities bills to the most needy of the poor and elderly in the United States
U.S. Christian Educational and Scholarship Development
$15,000,000 Pay down the mortgages of 500 Christian middle and high schools by $30,000 each to reduce debt burden and interest payments
$150,000,000 Provide needs-based scholarships of $15,000 each per ear for 10,000 needy U.S. Christian college students
$45,000,000 Provide needs-based scholarships of $15,000 each per year for 3,000 needy Christian seminary students preparing for ministry
$12,000,000 Provide research and writing fellowships to 150 of the best Christian scholars per year to work on scientific and humanities scholarship informed by Christian perspectives that holds promise for influencing higher education and academic scholarship
$202,000,000 Provide 101 $2 million contributions per year to Christian seminaries, divinity schools, colleges, and Bible schools for building campaigns, capital improvements, endowment building, or other demonstrated needs
$6,000,000 Provide graduate school scholarships for 300 of the most promising Christian Ph.D. students per year in various fields of study
$46,000,000,000 = GRAND TOTAL

Research for this blog by the Docent Research Group.

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