One of my favorite blogs is Free Money Finance. I am always careful to check out FMF’s Sunday posts that almost always have to do with tithing or some aspect of the Bible and finances. I recently heard an interesting statement on the topic of giving and tithing. In the church I attend and in most churches with whom I have been acquainted, tithing and giving are very private matters. Givers who donate money in the form of a check, always put it in an envelope so that no one except for the treasurer will know who gave the money. Traditionally, the pastor is kept insulated from knowing anything about “who gives how much” and giving records are handled very discreetly.
In fact, in the culture of the northern midwest, the subject of finance is considered intensely private. I never knew how much money my father made – even though I have a rough idea now as an adult. My financial upbringing is certainly reflected in the Financial Blogger’s piece about Why Personal Finance Should Not be Personal.
This cultural paradigm was recently shaken when I heard a pastor say that when his church members are nominated for positions of leadership like deacon, trustee or elder – he checks their giving records. If they are not faithful givers, he asks them to withdraw their name from consideration. I think that it makes sense that those who are in leadership of a particular organization also be those who are also financially supportive, but the thought of a pastor checking giving records is unsettling to our usual way of doing things. This is the first time that I have ever heard a pastor admit publicly to checking the giving records of his church members.
Would those of you who are church members mind if your pastor was looking over your giving statements?