How should a church use the tithe?

Straight Talk

The Question:

God says to bring the tithe into the storehouse and give to the pastor of a local church. When the congregation grows to thousands, should the pastor still receive everything for himself or utilize part of it for payment of church staff? What takes care of church staff: offerings or tithe?

PA from Nigeria

The Answer
Part 1: Abundance for God’s Kingdom

Abundance for God’s Kingdom (Part 1)

I will start off by saying that we may have some cultural issues to sort through here. Perhaps it is common in your country for the pastor to directly receive the tithe but it is not common in the United States or other countries I’m familiar with. Also, I do not think the Bible suggests it. The “storehouse” from Malachi 3:10 is clearly indicative of God’s house – not an individual’s personal household.

Remember the reason for the tithe: “that there may be food in My house.” God wants his own household to be provided for and then he promises that he will provide abundantly for the givers. Therefore, the pastor’s salary is only one item that should come out of the general incoming tithe.

This question makes it a good time, however, to discuss exactly HOW a church uses its tithes and offerings. (The offering is anything that an individual gives beyond their initial 10% tithe.) Some might say that is a no-brainer. Obviously all salaries, building maintenance, utility bills and church supplies and programs must be paid for out of whatever comes in.

Yes, but there is something more in my estimation. A church should not just receive; a church should also give. Many churches have chosen to tithe on their income to some other work of God’s kingdom such as missionary work, worthwhile ministries, or special charitable projects. That way, the church is always looking outward instead of simply focusing on their own needs or interests.

Secondly, integrity and accountability should always be the top priority as church leadership makes spending decisions. We have had enough money scandals in the church of Jesus Christ. Every church needs a system of checks and balances. That means that the pastor must be accountable to others and never the only one to make spending decisions such as arbitrarily raising his or her own salary.

If the full tithe came into the storehouse and was always wisely stewarded, the church would never lack abundance for the work of God’s kingdom.


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