Repositioning the local church for maximum impact has implications for every aspect of the church’s life and ministry, not least the aspect of sacrificial giving and tithing. The significant role money plays in resourcing and developing the church cannot be overemphasized. The institutional structure of the Church of Pentecost (CoP), the quality of both our ministerial and non-ministerial human resources, landed properties, and other assets constitute a monumental tribute to the generosity of our teeming church members over the years. And this year, as we seek to reposition the church for greater impact, the need to encourage sacrificial giving and dedicated tithing becomes critical. If the generosity and selfless giving of our forebears have brought the church to its current status, we can only reposition the church by emulating or exceeding their sacrificial giving, and generosity towards God’s work. Hence the focus of this presentation is to examine sacrificial giving in general, with much attention on tithes from biblical and CoP perspectives.
2.0 Sacrificial Giving
Giving in essence dates back to the time of creation and began with God Himself. In other words, giving, kindness, and generosity are divine attributes that God graciously shares with humankind. God’s giving is manifest in His willingness to give the whole treasure of His creation to mankind. God gave life to man by breathing into his nostrils, the garden of Eden, every plant yielding seed as food in the garden and finally gave him a wife:
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food.” And it was so (Genesis 1:29-30).
The books of Proverbs and James also indicate that God gives wisdom and does so generously (Proverbs 2:6; James 1:5). The Bible, therefore, suggests that giving is part of God’s nature, and Jesus echoed this reality when He said “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16) NIV. Apostle Paul also observed:
Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17).
God’s kindness and generosity are manifest in His provision, care and protection for humanity. Even when Adam and Eve rebelled by eating the forbidden fruit, God gave them animal skin to cover their nakedness, and promised a Saviour to save humanity from sin. Paul underscores this when he stated:
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
Since God made us in His own image, we ought to bear His divine nature by doing what He does. The first recorded offering in the Bible was by Cain and Abel. They each gave what they had. The Bible does not suggest that they were taught or coerced, even though that of Cain was not accepted. Thus, it can be said that generosity as a divine and moral quality is shared by humanity.
2.1 Principle Guiding Christian Giving
One manifestation of the image of God in human beings is the capacity for kindness and generosity. The ability and willingness of human beings to give to help others and institutions is a significant aspect of the human narrative that has to be celebrated. Giving is undergirded by the two principles of gratitude and stewardship. Gratitude issues out of the sense of appreciation we have for some thing or someone. Human beings give to God, not because He needs it, but to register our thankfulness for all that He has done for us. What we give to God is a token out of what He has given to us. Those who are stingy are often compared to a child whose mother gave him bread, and when the same mother asked for a piece, the child was unwilling to give her part of the loaf. This makes giving a moral obligation, indicating that those who are stingy with their resources are ungrateful and selfish.
The second principle guiding Christian giving is the concept of stewardship. If we acknowledge our dependence on God for the gift of life and all that sustain life, then we must always be conscious of our responsibility and accountability to the giver. Invariably, we are accountable to God for the application of the talents, resources, and opportunities He has blessed us with. The percentage of our resources we offer to God and to charitable causes is something we will account and will be rewarded for.
2.2 The Bible and Sacrificial Giving
Sacrificial giving in support of God’s work was instituted by Moses, to help maintain the Levites and the temple as a religious establishment. In the New Testament, the church and its functionaries are also sustained by the generosity of believers.
Giving in the Old Testament was in two broad categories namely: giving to God and giving to man. The first giving category included various offerings: vows, wave, free will, sin, grain, guilt and all sacrifices which went along with rules and regulations (Leviticus 22: 17-31). Others were dedication of first-born offspring, first fruits (Numbers 18:8-20) and tithe (Numbers 18:21-31). As long as they lived, they were to give these offerings to ensure unbroken fellowship or relationship with the Lord.
The second category of giving is to other human beings, which involved support to the poor (alms-giving); taking no interest on lending; and making no profit out of them (Leviticus 25:35-46). By this, God implicitly indicated that He recognises the ministry of human beings. Giving was, therefore, to be a godly lifestyle everywhere and every time by every Israelite. On the whole, biblical giving (to God and man) can be grouped into four: The Offerings, the First Fruits, Alms-giving, and Tithes.
- The offerings
Offerings are more of free will. Here, the believer determines how much offerings they want to give. The Bible, however, indicates that the more one gives, the more they receive (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6). We can think of it as the more seeds one sows, the more fruits one can harvest.
- The First Fruits
The first fruits concept emanated from the Passover night when God killed all the firstborns of the Egyptians and consecrated to Himself all the first-borns of Israel (that is whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both man and beast Exodus 13:1-2). God made a distinction between first fruits that were redeemable—that is, convertible into silver (first-borns of man and unclean animals) and first fruits of other animals like the cow that were not redeemable. With the introduction of the Priesthood, God gave the first fruits to Aaron and his sons as a perpetual due. According to the Bible, Jericho was the first city attacked by the Israelites after they crossed the Jordan River and entered Canaan. The concept of first fruits was applied to cover the first booty obtained from the conquest of Jericho. These items were devoted the treasury of the Lord (Joshua 6:19).
The first fruits offering found its fulfilment in Jesus. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Today, the first fruit represents every new blessing that a child of God receives. This includes the full amount of one’s first salary from a new job, or an increase in salary. Giving of first fruits is a concrete way of honouring God (Proverbs 3:9) and shows how grateful one is for the blessings received from God.
Unlike those two types of giving above which should be given to God, alms were given to fellow humans. God encouraged alms-giving in recognition of the poor among His people. It is depicted in the Bible as helping the poor in diverse ways and incorporated into detailed instructions in the celebration of the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:35-55). Alms-giving was even linked to God’s chosen fast:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58:6-7).
Also, Proverbs 3:27-28 states that: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbour, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it” ― when you have it with you”.
Jesus acknowledges that we will always have the poor in the society (Matthew 26: 11) and gave instructions on alms-giving (Matthew 5:42; Luke 18:22). The Early Church put in place a beautiful system by which there was no needy person among them implying that the poor was not neglected (Acts 4:32-37).
God recognises that all of us can help the needy and expects us to do so with the purest of intentions ― a selfless act based on compassion and sympathy. God instituted these alms-giving measures because every human being bears His image, and since poverty is part of the results of the fall of man, almsgiving is one of the physical measures God uses through mankind to alleviate suffering. In fact, there are some consequences for not helping the poor: “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13); and he who hides his eyes will get many a curse (Proverbs 28: 27b). However, those who consider the poor will have bestowed upon them blessings such as deliverance, protection, restoration of health, and protection from enemies (Proverbs 28:27a; Psalm 41:1-3).
In summary, sacrificial giving honours God. Anytime we give something out of our resources to support God’s work or help other people, we are honouring God who deserves our all. It is also a recognition of Him as our provider on whom we absolutely depend for our livelihood.
Tithing has become a controversial subject among Christians of today, and the more reflections we have on it, the better we would appreciate its import in the context of Christian worship. The main argument is that tithing belongs to the Old Testament and is not for New Testament Christianity. Proponents of this position would always argue:
- If tithing was that important, why didn’t Jesus or the apostles of the early Church teach about it?”
- Tithe can be paid anywhere and should not necessarily be restricted to the local church. Those who hold such view are not comfortable with the concept of ‘storehouse’ as mentioned in the book of Malachi.
- God’s blessings are not necessarily predicated on tithing. Giving offerings in church is enough. The Church should not insist on tithing. Holders of such view believe that they are self-made people, hence, tithing makes no difference to them.
- The tither can distribute the tithe among some targeted needy groups such as the orphans, widows, the physically challenged etc., and that is equivalent to tithing. This stems from the notion that the Church is receiving too much, but is not giving back to the society.
These dissenting views are due largely to misunderstanding or inadequate biblical teachings. Many a time, prejudice plays a major role in the anti-tithing crusade. There is therefore the need to respond with sound Biblical teachings, and more importantly, establish the timeless validity and relevance of tithing as a tool in the implementation of God’s plan of salvation.
3.1 The Mystery of Tithes/Tithing
A tithe, in Hebrew, is known as maaser or madser, but in Greek, it is known as dekate, which means “the tenth”. Some biblical scholars believe that tithing was a practice in the ancient Near East as there were sacral offerings or payments of a tenth part of goods or property to the deity. The practice is known from Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, Greece, and as far to the west as the Phoenician city of Carthage.
The first ever mention of tithing in the Bible is in Genesis 14: 17-20. Abraham conquered four Canaanite kings led by Chedorlaomer who had invaded Sodom and Gomorrah and three other cities and delivering the prisoners of war including his nephew Lot with his family. On returning from the conquest, Abraham met two people ― the king of Sodom, who offered reward to Abraham (but was turned down), and Melchizedek, who gave Abraham wine and bread and also blessed him. Abraham in turn gave Melchizedek one tenth of everything. Based on the Law of First Mention, tithing in the above passage is significant. Some important lessons could be derived from the Melchizedek and Abraham encounter.
Melchizedek is a mysterious person mentioned in only three passages in the Bible (Genesis 14: 17-20; Psalm 110:4; and Hebrews 7:1-15). He was king of two domains: king of righteousness and king of Salem (peace). He had no parental links and no genealogy; he had no beginning of days nor end of life, and he was the Priest of the Most High. He is likened to the Son of God.
Abraham on the other hand, was called by Yaweh Himself:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (italics mine).
He is described as the friend of God (2Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8); the father of our faith, who laid the basis and principles for our salvation (Romans 4:11). His intercessory prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah recorded in Genesis 18:22-33, has provided a legitimate basis for interceding for all nations ever since. The near sacrifice of his son Isaac is seen as a foreshadow of Christ’s death and has become a template for righteous offerings. Mount Moriah, the location of sacrifice later became the site of the threshing floor of Ornan, the Jebusite, where God had appeared to king David, and instructed him to raise an altar in order to limit a plague of death of the people of Israel. Subsequently, it was the site of the first temple built by Solomon (1 Chronicles 21:18-30; 2Chronicles 3:1).
The background of these two personalities provokes certain critical questions which must be answered: Where did Melchizedek come from and where did he go after meeting Abraham? Why did he accept the tithe and in what capacity? By what authority did he bless Abraham? Also, what prompted Abraham to give Melchizedek the tithes of all that he had gained from the war? Should we agree that tithing was an ancient practice where it was given to kings or deity and Abraham knew about it, why didn’t he give tithe to the king of Sodom whom he first met?
From the accounts in Genesis 14 one may conclude that Melchizedek was a type of Christ and a representative of the Priesthood was about to institute on earth. In the same measure, Abraham represents all the chosen people of God. This is confirmed in Galatians 3:8, and 29. We might conclude that Abraham might have acted out of an inspired conviction (led by the Spirit). Today, the Church operates under divine convictions and revelations as the Holy Spirit leads. That holding, it can also be said that the first ever tithe transaction occurred between the representative of Priesthood and a representative of the Chosen People of God, and this is the mystery.
3.2 Institution and Practice of Tithing in the Old Testament
Tithing was formally established in the religion of Israel by God over 430 years after Abraham had done the first act. After Abraham, the biblical records show that Jacob was the next to vow a full tenth to God (Genesis 28:20-22). The concept of tithe therefore pre-dated the Law. God HeGgGTG delivered the people of Israel from Egypt and constituted them into a nation. He introduced his laws to guide them and included tithing in the laws.
In His desire to dwell among His people, God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle for Him (Exodus 25:1-9). Tabernacle building was followed by the establishment of priesthood pioneered by Aaron and his sons (Exodus 28:1-5). The Levites were later included and from there, tithing was introduced to sustain the priesthood and Levitical institutions. Tithe was later listed among the devoted offerings which God would never compromise on (Leviticus 27: 24-33), and it became a statutory act of worship. Thus, God provided the conditions under which tithing was to be practised:
- A chosen people – Israel and later all believers in Christ who are descendants of Abraham are to give tithes.
- The Tabernacle (a place where God had established His presence) should be a place to send tithes. The tabernacle translated into Temple built by Solomon when Israel finally settled and had their rest in the promised land.
- Priests and Levites (Tabernacle/Temple workers) which translates into the Church’s Ministers and members of staff were the main beneficiaries of the tithes.
Storehouses were later introduced and eventually established (Deuteronomy 12:1-7; 10-11; 17-18) where tithes should be sent. God wanted the people of Israel to avoid sacrificing in the high places of the Canaanite nations where idolatry had been practised by the Canaanites. They were to seek the place that the LORD their God will choose out of all the tribes to put His name and make His habitation there. There they were to bring their offerings, sacrifices and tithes. In fact, God had indicated earlier that “in every place where I cause my name to be to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you” (Exodus 20:24).
The storehouse principle was followed by the early Church in Acts 4: 32-37 which resulted in the abundance of supply among the members. The storehouse in our time is the local assembly where members receive their spiritual nourishment. The “storehouse principle” is greatly detested by those who believe that tithers have every right to know where the tithe goes and how it is spent, and that they could take personal responsibility to visit orphans, widows and other needy groups in order to show some kindness. Today tithe gathered into the “storehouse”, is used for everything that promotes the gospel and grows the Church. God allows us to use part of our ninety percent of income for alms-giving, and that also carries its own blessings. There is the need to cooperate with God to bring his Kingdom within the reach of all men by bringing all the tithes to the ‘storehouse’. Fortunately, CoP has a system that fulfils the mandate of tithing.
God further expanded the use of tithes which the Bible presents in three main forms under the Law. Some Bible scholars, for example, Onyinah (2015) classified these types of tithes as follows:
Regular Tithes: Practising an agricultural economy, regular tithes were expressed by the Jews as 10% of crops (income) given each year to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30). This was mandatory and obligatory. Regular tithes were used to provide regular income for Levites and Priests serving at the temple in Jerusalem (Numbers 18:21-26; Leviticus 18:25-28).
Feasting/Festival Tithe: (Deuteronomy 12:17-19; 14:28-2). This tithe was used to provide means for having three special feasts in Jerusalem each year, and not to be sent to the temple. The people of Israel were required to set aside 10% of their crops every year for celebrating the festivals in Jerusalem thrice in the year. They were to send food, however, if they lived too far away, they could sell the foodstuff and bring the money to Jerusalem. The feasting tithe was actually a second separate tithe given every year by the Jews, requiring each farmer to give an additional 10% tithe every farming season. This would actually make the annual “tithe” per year 20% of one’s yearly income, apart from the free will offering they were to give as thanksgiving or praise. According to Onyinah (2015), the festivals were God’s way of reminding the people of Israel of some particular aspects of His redemptive work among them. The Israelites were thus to express their gratitude to the Lord for their divine election, His divine provision and sustenance and His love towards them for the year.
Charity Tithes: (Deuteronomy 14:28-29). This is taken once every three years. Thus, after taking the regular tithes, the Lord mandated a third tithe to be taken every three years:
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. “And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do”. NKJV.
According to Tuland (1958), we could give thought to these aspects of Israel’s economy and the benefits of looking at our own tithing and systematic benevolence from this angle.
The three types of tithing are significant and must be situated in proper perspective for clarity. The Levitical tithe was to be observed for the sustenance of the Levites and the Priests, failure of which could jeopardise religious the institution. The CoP does not ban members from showing kindness to the needy, however, it is wrong and out of place to deny support for the Priesthood institution by giving the “priestly” tithes to the poor. In other jurisdictions where tithe is not observed as being discussed here it has had dire consequences ― stifling the growth and expansion of the church institution.
3.3 Tithing in Post-Joshua Era
After the death of Joshua and his generation, the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served Baals (Judges 2:10-12). The subsequent years saw instability of the nation of Israel. The resulting chaotic society did not allow sound and systematic worship of Jehovah God in the land and tithing was greatly interrupted. Priests and Levites were no more engaged as prescribed by God during the Mosaic era.
However, certain kings, leaders and prophets who sought to turn the heart of the people back to the LORD sought to restore priesthood and re-introduced tithing. An example is Hezekiah and Nehemiah (2 Chronicles 31: 11-12; Nehemiah 12:44). Prophet Malachi called the people to repentance with respect to the priesthood, which had become corrupted; worship, which had become routine; divorce, which was widespread; social justice, which was being ignored, and tithing, which was neglected. He forcefully pointed out that by neglecting tithing the people of Israel were robbing God and that could result in a curse (Malachi 3:8-12), but obeying would come with unlimited blessings.
3.4 Tithing: Jesus and the Apostles
One source of confusion peddled by anti-tithing preachers is the claim of non-emphasis of tithing in the words of Jesus and His Apostles. It is important therefore to examine Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-18; 21-33. Jesus might have made such categorical statement because He was the Word (John 1:1-3), and a member of the Trinity. It implies that He was there when the laws were given to Moses, hence could not have abolished the Law. He fulfilled the law through three modules: The first module was to expand the understanding of the Law; for the second module, Jesus fulfilled the Law by demonstrating practically how the Law should be viewed and applied using grace in the face of truth; and the third module by which Jesus consolidated all aspects of the Law that only He could settle with the Father by cancelling all the curses and writings against humanity.
In the first module Jesus demonstrated that grace actually increases the conditions and demands of the law. For example, in the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:21-33) He expanded the definition of murder and adultery amongst others, and there is a repeated phrase ― “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you”. Similarly, He expanded the meaning of tithing by adding compassion, justice and faithfulness (Luke 11:42 & Matthew 23:23), so in the New Testament, tithing is not prohibited, rather, having been saved by grace we could even give beyond the 10%.
The Apostles of the early church were simple Jewish men who followed Jesus’ teachings and examples. In fact, their teachings in their epistles were largely based on the teachings of their Master. By, implication, that they believed and practiced tithing. However, the exigencies of the times dictated their message.
3.5 GOD AFFIRMS HIS BLESSINGS ON TITHERS
A number of believers in the Church of Pentecost (CoP) and elsewhere can testify of God’s blessings when they were faithful in tithing. I can cite Apostle Dr Joseph I. Buertey, the current Resident minister of the Pentecost International Worship Centre, Asokwa in Kumasi, who out of faith did an extra-ordinary thing by giving tithe out of his student loans. God blessed him with uncountable contracts (most of which he did not apply for), even before entering the ministry. As a result, he could pay hostel fees for two of his colleagues whiles at the university. One of the beneficiaries is a Pastor of the Church, the other, an elder who is an engineer, and all of them are currently in Tamale Area. The author of the book, “Mover of Men and Mountain” R. G. Tourneau, started with giving ten percent to God, and then moved on to twenty percent, and eventually ninety percent of the company’s profit. Consequently, God blessed him with breakthrough inventions. Interestingly, some individuals of other faiths practise the Christian tithing (even give more than the tenth) because they experience its blessings thereof. We can conclude that if God blesses for tithing in these days, it’s enough proof that God still approves of the practice.
3.6 THE LINK OF TITHING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
In the Old Testament God anticipated that the foreigners/Gentiles will come to the people of Israel and her God. What this meant was that people who heard about the God of Israel would come to them. Example is the mixed multitude (Exodus 12:38) who left Egypt with the Israelites. With time some people were converted to Judaism. Similarly, people from different nations were at the feast of Pentecost when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred.
In the New Testament, Jesus says the Church should “go into the world to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28: 18-20). Apostle Paul asked rhetorically― how can people hear the gospel, unless someone goes to them, and that person must be sent (Romans 10:11-15). Tithing is an effective tool by which the gospel can reach the nations. CoP spends so much money on missions, therefore refusal to give tithe is refusal to support the fulfilment of the Great Commission, and that is too much of wrong for a child of God.
Some individuals have tried to debunk prophet Malachi’s declaration of a curse for non-payment of tithe. They argue that Christ has borne all curses on the cross. The reality is any act that obstructs God’s agenda is not taken lightly by God. Much as there are testimonies of people being blessed for faithful tithing, there are equally stories of individuals who have been chastised by God for deliberately refusing to tithe. One might not be cursed for Christ’s sake, but God chastises His children.
From the discussion we can say that both sacrificial giving and Tithing are:
- Expressions of appreciation. Abraham gave the first tithe in appreciation of the victory over the four kings who invaded Sodom and Gomorrah. Jacob vowed in anticipation of God’s deliverance and protection during his escape to his uncle Laban. We give sacrificially not because of what we would receive from the Lord only, but what He has already done for us.
- Voluntary. Abraham and Jacob were not ordered to pay tithe. God always receives from willing individuals.
- Acts done in reverence to God. Abraham and the people of Israel also gave tithe to God, and thereby gave Him the honour.
- Acts of faith. It shows trust in God, who is “able to make all grace abound to you” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
- For promoting God’s agenda. That all men may experience God’s love and come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through evangelism and church planting.
3.7 MANAGEMENT AND DISBURSEMENT OF TITHES IN THE CHURCH OF PENTECOST
- Scripture admonishes that “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house…” (Malachi 3:10). Because of the different types of administration being run by the churches, every church determines its own storehouse.
- In the CoP, the total amount of tithes, should be given in the person’s local Assembly. From there, a percentage of it is sent through the District and Area to the Headquarters. This means, The CoP operates a centralized system of financial administration. This constitutes the ‘storehouse’ of the church.
- In The CoP, there are allowable deductions that may be taken from the tithes. These include church rent (where applicable), electricity and water bills at the local Assembly level. After that, ten percent of the remaining amount is taken at the local Assembly level as Local Development Fund (LDF) for administration.
- The remaining amount is sent to the district office by all Assemblies constituting the district. At the District level, the mission house rent (where applicable) as well as the mission house water and electricity bills are deducted. District fuel allowance is also deducted after which ten percent of the remaining amount is taken for administration at the district level. This is referred to as District Development Fund (DDF).
- From the District office, the remaining amount is sent to the Area office and again ten percent of the total is taken. This is known as Area Development Fund (ADF). A second ten percent of all the tithes received at the Area office from the districts is taken as Accelerated Infrastructural Development Fund (AIDF) to support ongoing church building and mission house projects in the Area.
- The remaining amount is sent to the Headquarters into the central fund.
- From the central fund at the Headquarters, the salaries of all full-time ministers and non-ministerial staff are paid every month.
- Every month, the Headquarters releases a chunk amount as grants to the Areas to support the construction of mission houses, church buildings and other projects at the Area, Districts and Local levels.
- Aside all these commitments, the Headquarters:
- supports needy students to pursue tertiary education.
- assumes full sponsorship for the training of all new ministerial students annually at the Pentecost University.
- is currently subsidising greatly, the training of all Elders and Lay Counsellors in the Church.
- supports newly created Districts to acquire mission houses as well as basic evangelism equipment.
- responsible for transporting all transferred ministers to their new stations.
- financially supports the Pentecost University, the Pentecost Hospitals, Clinics, and all the Basic schools among others.
- fully supports all the social intervention programmes spearheaded by PENTSOS
- is financing the construction of Police Stations and Prison projects as well as drilling boreholes for deprived communities.
- supporting the construction of church buildings for PENSA groups as well as church buildings and mission houses of the various military barracks.
- runs its administrative expenses.
- supports para-church organisations such as the Scripture Union, Bible Society etc.; and the Home and Urban Missions; Evangelistic outreach programmes; External and Internal missions, etc.
3.8 Some Precautionary Measures in Place
CoP ensures transparency and accountability at all levels by following standard financial principles and procedures that every church can employ to ensure effective accountability. At the local levels, for example, Tithes is counted and recorded in the presence of other persons. It is not giving out as loans, neither is it used directly to support the construction of any project. The church also practices a “cashless office” policy. This means no cash deductions are made at source. All financial transactions are approved by designated officers and income and expenditure are audited periodically to ensure value for money.
3.9 How members should practice Tithing
- Be tithe – conscious: see tithing as partnering with God in expanding His kingdom.
- Members should remember that we owe our all to God (1 Corinthians 4:7)
- Tithing should be done with reverence and as a form of worship
- Tithe with integrity, in faith and cheerfully, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
- Tithe as part of our covenant relationship with God (Psalm 50:4-5).
- Tithe conscientiously and consistently (Ecclesiastes 11:1-3a, 4)
- Give it in your local church. Should not be given as gift to Pastors, widows and poor or even to your hometown district where you are not a member.
- Be like the Macedonians – they gave themselves (2 Corinthians 8:5)
3.10 How should Local Assemblies Handle Tithes
Here are some few points worth noting
- Leaders must be faithful in paying tithes. Leadership is a spiritual role ― what leaders do affect the membership.
- There must be constant reminders and teachings on tithes to members.
- There must be a continuous desire to improve and increase the local assembly’s tithes.
- For proper accountability, we should encourage payment by cheques and electronic transfers.
- Tithes should not be paid to another church or charity organizations because the individual church member has a moral and spiritual responsibility to his or her local Assembly.
There is the need to talk about sacrificial giving and tithing because it falls within the context of God’s salvation plan. It is not a mere fundraising strategy but a spiritual exercise that aims at expanding the Kingdom of God, and has its blessings for all who obey. God is greatly concerned about His Kingdom expansion ― evangelism and missions, and social work (PENTSOS); God believes in the ministry of men (Luke 6:38), and every child of God must be encouraged to be involved in it. It must be noted that there is every indication that the coming of Jesus is nearer than perceived. There is so much to be done and the King’s business requires haste.
- Adjaloo, M. K (2020). Tithing under the Grace Dispensation. University Press, Kumasi
- Buckingham, R. The Ancient Practice of Tithing(www.netbiblestudy.com) Accessed: 15 October, 2022
- David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson, World Christian Trend (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2001).
- Johnson, D.W. (1984). The tithe: challenge or legalism? Nashville: Abingdon. (Creative leadership series.)
- Kodua, A (2020). This thing called Tithing. Sermon Notes. Teshie-Nungua Area.
- Onyinah, O (2015). Christian Stewardship. Sermon Notes Vol. 9, pages 134-146.
7. Tuland, C.G. https://www.ministrymagazine.org. Accessed:19 October, 2022
NB: All quotations from the Holy Bible are taken from the New International Version (NIV). https://www.biblestudytools.com