Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

4/05/2006

Tithing Guarantee

In Savannah yesterday, I heard of a Savannah Christian Church offer that challenges people to try tithing for 3 months and if they then wish they had not made the commitment, the church will give them their money back. I was told the church has had people take them up on the offer, but no one has wanted to cash in on the guarantee. To date, all felt that God had blessed their 90-day tithing trial.

A search of the Internet did not find any information on Savannah Christian's guarantee, but it did reveal that others churches have offered a money-back guarantee on tithing. In explaining the same program taking place in his church, the administrative pastor of Gardendale Baptist Church said, "What we're trying to do here is not raise money, but what we're trying to do is grow people."

A year old blog entry at Monday Morning Insight told of the guarantee resulting in a request for a refund when a disgruntled member asked for her $21,000 back. That dispute with Bay Area Fellowship got messy as the $21,000 the tither asked for was three year's worth of giving, rather than just the amount given during the 3-month trial. The church offered a refund of her entire previous year's contributions of $2,694 to settle the dispute, but the woman refused.

Despite the problems, I find the money-back guarantee intriguing...and yet there is something about it that also seems wrong. The psalmist did say "Taste and see that God is good" and the plan offers an opportunity to take tithing for a taste test. However, the money-back guarantee is also a chance to give while keeping a hand on the money, which seems to fall short of actually trusting God with your finances. Trusting God with your finances is the very thing the churches wish to teach, so I think the guarantee contradicts the goal. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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