When people meet with us (and I’m assuming something similar happens with other simpler types of churches), they are often confused because we don’t “pass the plate.” In fact, I’ve had several people ask me if someone forgot to pass the plate.
Nope. We don’t “pass the plate.” Why? Because we don’t expect people to give “to the church.” We expect them to give as God directs them – primarily to friends, neighbors, family members, and perhaps even strangers who are in need. (And, there are many, MANY people in our area in need right now.)
That’s just not the way it’s done in churches today. People usually expect to give to the church, and they then expect the church to decide how to apportion that money. In most cases, the largest percentage of the money goes back to the church, not to those in need.
But, won’t people stop giving altogether if the church doesn’t expect (and require, in some cases) people to give to the church?
In the article, Felicity refers to some research. Here are some of the findings:
Of those surveyed, 51.6% of those involved in organic/simple church gave 11%-25% of their income to charity, and 7.5% gave greater than 25%. In other words, almost 60% of people are giving more than a tithe.
The money spent on the internal administration of simple/organic churches is very low: 59.1% of the participant’s house/simple church spent less than 1% of their total annual proceeds on internal needs, and 15.1% spent 2%-5%. In other words, more than 70% say their simple church spends less than 5% on administration costs.
(The typical American Christian gives less than 3% of their income to charity and the typical institutional church spends 85% of all church activity and funds directly toward the internal operations of the congregation, such as staff salaries, building payments, utility and operating expenses.)
What do you think about these findings? Do you think the stats reflect what is actually happening in both simple and more organized churches today?