Why We Don’t Take Offerings

The Church Up The Street handles finances differently than most congregations: We do not take offerings nor do we have a church bank account, and we never will. We can confidently say that we do not want people’s money. Many people ask us why we operate this way and how we can operate this way. Here are several answers:

First, we believe the Gospel will be more effectively communicated to the lost if we take away the constant complaint of non-Christians: “They just want my money!” We don’t, and our philosophy about giving is proof.

Secondly, we want to free people to use the money they would normally give their church to minister to others. If the neighbor or co-worker you are sharing the Gospel with is in financial need, we want you to be able to give to meet that need, in the name of Jesus. A heartfelt openness to the gospel will often be the result.

We also want to free people to tangibly meet the needs of fellow disciples who are in need. Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another, and this view of giving helps us all be able to do it. We encourage everyone who is a part of The Church Up The Street to open a special checking account for this very purpose. We call them “Kingdom Accounts”, and each person can regularly set aside whatever amount God puts on their hearts and give as He directs.

Let’s face it, many people are torn between giving to their local congregations and giving to others in need. Often, we can not do both and must choose between one or the other. By telling people we do not need or want their money, they are free to give to whatever need God puts on their heart: a fellow Christian, someone they are sharing Christ with, or any worthy ministry.

How can we possibly do this? It is actually quite simple. Think about how much money is spent on church meeting facilities, overhead expenses and salaries. The amount is staggering. We have eliminated these, and that is why we don’t need to take offerings. We meet in places that are already paid for: Business, and homes. Our leaders volunteer because they have other sources of income and do not need to be paid.

Those who are part of The Church Up The Street are extremely generous people. They are free to follow God’s leading, and to actively minister and serve others through their finances. When a person approaches giving this way, they often get to see God do amazing things through their lives!

  1. How do you, or do you, teach people about tithing? In your comments above you say that you have people open up “Kingdom Accounts” – are the people free to put whatever amount they want into these accounts or is giving tithes and offerings taught?

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    • Hi John,

      Great question. The Church up the Street concept is not new. We meet in buildings that are already paid for (Homes or businesses). Leaders are not paid for what they do, because they have their own jobs or business to support them. Plus, it is not a full time thing.

      Because it is not a tradiional style “church” we have very little expenses. Therefore, we don’t take offerings. We do not need the money to operate. We don’t really teach people about tithing. We teach them to be generous, as God wants them to be. They give their funds anywhere they are led to give. It is between them and God. Honestly, this is exactly what the NT teaches.

      I recognize that the traditional church has to receive offereings. One must pay for all the overhead plus the salaries that allow the congregation to meet. Most pastors would balk at the idea of moving to this kind of giving system because they know many people would start giving elsewhere, leaving less and less for the church budget.

      Our situation is different this works very well for us.
      Jim

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  2. I love that you’ve acknowledged the New Testament approach to giving (previously the tithe). We are called to grow close to God and seek Him. He will give us direction to give when it is His will. Why isn’t the church teaching people to hear God’s call? Maybe they are too busy telling them what to do…

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    • Giving this way is so refreshing. One gives as the Lord directs. Having been a senior Pastor for 10 years, I can tell you why I didn’t teach giving this way. First, I truly believed in giving a tithe to your local church. Secondly, it took money, lots of it, to fund the style of ministry that is the American church. To be fair, most people who belong to a more traditional church body feel led to support it finacially, and I think that is good. Most every pastor I have known truly wants to make a difference for Christ. Often, their livelihood is dependant solely on church giving. There are times when there is not enough money to pay them their salaries. That is a very difficult situation. I experienced it many times.

      What would happen to giving in a local church if leadership taught this type of giving? I think giving the Sunday morning offerings would go down. However, true giving from the body would go up as believers began to give to those whom the Lord directs. True ministry would occur OUTSIDE the walls of the church. The message of The Cross would be heard loud and clear.

      Thanks for you kind words! Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. I love the concept in the article. Thank you.

    Church budgets, even here in NZ run into the thousands, and sometimes the millions. What for? To build ‘bigger and better barns’ and not the Kingdom of God.
    We run our churches more as corporations, and as a result have fallen into the world’s way of thinking.

    Praise God that there are people like yourselves willing to push the traditional fences and break the moulds.
    I was brought up with tithing as a concept, a must, a biblical principle that had to be done. Right from young we as individuals and as a family gave a tithe, plus gave extra to missionaries or whatever the next need was. I was brought up with knowing that if someone needed help and it was in my power to be able to help them, then I did it, I opened my wallet or my home.
    This way, the ‘right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing’ (i.e. those offerings or gifts over and above the tithe did not get registered for the tax refunds available here). That is truly giving in God’s way.

    Church buildings cost a lot in upkeep, and there are more and more people out there working ‘for the church’ and expecting to be paid for it. Less and less people are taught about tithing, so less and less money is therefore coming into the church through traditional means. Also many of those who were brought up with tithing are getting older and older, are on pensions of some sort and not earning the amounts required.

    I am all for meeting in places that are ‘paid for already’ as you said. I am all for churches sharing their spaces, and when I hear of another church Building Program it is all I can do not to throw up. I cringe in horror.

    I hate churches standing on the corners asking for money from the public and then spending that money on bettering the building, not bettering the people.

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