CHURCH VS CHARITY BUDGET COMPARISON
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Christianity Today recently published the results of a survey of 2,200 churches from around the country. The study showed a distressing 95% of income went to salaries, administration, programs and facilities with only 5% going to missions on average. Another study from the Evangelical Christian Credit Union reveals a dismal 1% of church funds on average going towards benevolence (helping the needy).
Example: The recently dissolved Mars Hill Church 2014 annual report shows an income of $28,562,083. Of that income, $28,317,158 was designated inwardly and only $244,925 went to “church planting and partnerships.” Again benevolence is not event listed.
Churches have become big business.
Simply go to seminary, preach the word, and you can use godliness as a means to immense financial gain (1 Tim 6:5-7, 8-10). On the other hand Christian Charities (and charities run by Christians) such as World Vision or Charity Water show a much more positive financial structure.
According to Charity Navigator, World Vision brought in an incredible $791,063,281 in 2013. Of that amount 82.6% went to cause (benevolence), 11.9% went to fundraising, and a mere 5.3% went to salary and administrative expenses.
Charity Water, with donations similar to a Mega-Church, brought in $32,197,698 in 2013. 83.4% went to benevolence, 9.0% to fundraising, and only 7.5% went to administration.
This is precisely why we desire to be “more like a charity than a church.”
Maybe we ought to use the Bible as our guide?
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul did not mention a set amount an individual ought to give (2 Cor 8:12), only that in order to reap the rewards and blessings of giving one must do it of their own free will and with a cheerful heart (2 Cor 9:7). However he regularly urged Christians to be very generous, suggesting he believed that giving above and beyond the Old Testament tithe was the natural response to God’s above and beyond grace (1 Tim 6:18). In fact, Paul spilled more ink talking about giving generously to the church and the poor than he did on the doctrine of righteousness by faith. Let that sink in.
We furthermore believe because of Christ’s and Paul’s doctrine to “uphold the law” (Rom 3:31, Matt 5:18), that a 10% gift known as a “tithe” ought to be the starting point in a Christian’s journey to generosity (Deut 14:22). As their generosity increases, so does the outpouring of blessings God has promised for the giver (2 Cor 9:8-9, 11).
What is “The Tithe”?
The Tithe is an offering made to God equaling 1/10th or 10% of a believer’s income (Deut 14:22, Lev 27:30, Heb 7:5). It is scripturally intended to be dedicated to 4 sources of need; the Levite (priest / temple), the foreigner (traveler / stranger), the fatherless (orphan), and the widow (Deut 14:29).
“When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.” – Deuteronomy 26:12
“… bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.” – Deuteronomy 14:28-29
“Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people…” – Hebrews 7:5
How will the Tithe be used?
According to the scriptures above, the distributed percentages look something like this: Priest 25%, Widow 25%, Fatherless 25%, and Stranger 25%. Or in other words…
25% goes to the church and 75% goes to charity
Therefore at the OC…
A maximum of 25% of the tithe will be designated towards staff, administration, marketing and facilities.
A minimum of 75% of the tithe will be designated towards local and global charitable causes.*
*Unless the Monthly Administration Threshold has not been met. More info below.
Monthly Budget Example
If the Pastors’ monthly expenses are $2,000 and the monthly church tithe is $10,000 then $7,500 would go to local widows, orphans, and strangers as well as single mothers, foster families, homeless, and sickly. $2,000 would go to the Pastors living expenses (1 Cor 9:14, 2 Chron 31:4), and $500 would go towards church expenses.
The additional pursuits of the church, aka equipment, facilities, programs, entertainments, etc… are to be purchased using the 25% of the tithe designated to the church or with special fund money given as a gift above an individual’s 10% tithe.
Monthly Administration Threshold
In order to continue monthly operations and to allow the Pastors to devote their time and effort towards the health of the church and Legacy Housing, the administration expenses must first be met (1 Cor 9:7, 11). We call this the Monthly Administration Threshold.
“He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion due the priests and Levites so they could devote themselves to the Law of the LORD.” – 2 Chronicles 31:4
“The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” – 1 Corinthians 9:14
Once the administration threshold of is met for the month, remaining funds are designated to charitable causes according to the budget structure outlined above.
An individual may use the remaining 90% of their disposable income to give towards other church efforts and may designate which cause they would like the funds to go towards if they have already tithed their 10% to the church.
What if someone doesn’t “tithe” but gives towards a cause promoted by The OC?
In the event an individual has not given a separate tithe, their gift will be repurposed toward the general fund in order to maintain operations; this still means at least 75% of the gift will be given to the charitable cause so long as the monthly administration threshold has been met.
If a charity does not first pay its own administration costs, how can it continue to function as a conduit of support for the needy? In the same way, without the tithe the church cannot continue operating as a distribution center.
“Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?… If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?” – 1 Cor 9:7, 11-12
How can I give to Ormond Church?
You may contribute online here, or if you would like to donate clothing, non-perishable food, care packages, or other charitable items we will be happy to receive them on Sunday mornings and redistribute them during the week. Thank you so much for your generosity and compassion for those in need!