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Giving as a requiremet to serve as an elder


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#1 Brian Elmer

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 03:27 PM

As we all understand, Paul gives clear guidelines for those who would be considered or chosen as elders in the church. What has been interesting to me is it seems one real "qualification" is ever mentioned or discussed in our church's selection process - the issue of being the husband of one wife. Now we could discuss and debate this issue as to the historical context and present application, but that really isn't my reason for writing. We all know there are a few other guidelines/qualifications that usually are rarely discussed.

One that is not listed but has risen to the surface in recent years and in some denominational circles is the idea of, should a man's tithing/giving record be considered in his selection as an elder? Some have argued,

>"How can you make financial decisions for the church if you yourself are not giving?"
>"How can you be a leader of the church if you have not submitted to the reality that all we have comes from Him?"
>Tithing is 'Old Testament' and we are no longer under the law!"
>"What I give is between me and the Lord. It's no one elses business!"

I am sure there are other questions that have arisen as well. Some are concerned that the issue of giving will become the primary criteria in choosing an elder.

What are your thoughts and experiences?

#2 Julie Daube

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 09:12 PM

Hmmm... as someone who is very passionate about the liberty we have in Christ (and therefore does not believe that we are under the law in regard to tithing or anything else), I have definite opinions about this subject. While I am probably not qualified to speak on the subject of eldership (is that the correct terminology?), I have attended churches (non-Alliance) that required members to tithe. So I would assume that if one had to tithe in order to be a member of those churches, any elder would be required to tithe as well.


I don't believe that giving should be the primary criteria for choosing an elder. I have known pastors who obsessed over tithing while they were living in outright rebellion against God, so clearly one's giving records should not be the main criteria in choosing any church leader.

#3 Jay Turner

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 10:29 PM

If you are going to be an elder, then I think it would be biblical to say that you need to have a giving spirit. We tend to focus on financial giving, but giving can be anything from finances, time and resources, wisdom, etc. Giving is about planting seeds into peoples lives and from my understanding, that should be part of being an elder.

#4 Brian Elmer

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 08:28 AM

The whole tithing issue has been an issue for years. Matthew 23 and Luke 11 record Jesus' words to the Pharisees concerning their keeping the law yet not showing mercy. He does refer to tithing, but I have a hard time seeing that He is affirming it as the 'new standard'. Paul never speaks of tithing to the early gentile church as well. He does speak of giving and how it should come out of a 'grace-filled' heart. (1 & 2 Corinthians). We have a tendency to set rules for godliness. Instead of walking in Christ/Him/the Spirit, which would require an ongong, growing relationship with Christ, we set up legalistic standards to measure our godliness. As I am learning, worship, which really should encompass everything we do, is a matter of the heart. I think Jesus desires such a relationship with us that 'rules and regulations' are not what drive us, but our love for Him.

I do think that one's giving (not tithing) should be considered, even under these instances, since it does reflect one's relationship with Christ. And of course, an elder is to be a mature follower of Christ.

#5 Mark Wood

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 12:51 AM

Good question Brian, I agree with what you say. I think something that is important is to ask the question- "Should others imitate this person's actions?" Giving is important not because it is a reflection of how people view money but because it is a reflection of how people view the gospel. (See 2 Cor 8:1-15) It is disconcerting to me to see churches in the C&MA that give 0% to the GCF, not even the pastor gives.

#6 Dan Morrow

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 09:05 AM

"should a man's tithing/giving record be considered in his selection as an elder"

If your church keeps "score" this way, then yes, giving should be considered. I don’t see how one can be an effective elder if they are out of sync with the traditions of a community. That said, I'll also say that I would never consider attending (let alone being an Elder at) a church that tracked an individual’s giving for any other purpose other tax receipts.

Money , or use of money, is a very poor indicator of commitment to Christ. It’s poor indicator of intelligence, righteousness, wisdom, leadership, spirituality, or giftedness for that matter. We have a tough time with this truth in our culture. Knowing this, wisdom would dictate that individuals giving patterns be kept secret, away from church staff and elders. Away from the temptation of coupling the churches constant need for cash to the desires of “heavy hitters” and “major donors”. You’ll make those who use wealth to acquire power mad when they discover that their money can’t “buy influence” in the church, but you’ll have a healthier church for it.

#7 Jay Turner

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 10:19 AM

Part of the problem that we see is that our priorities are out of line. In our churches, far too often our focus is on things like building bigger buildings. We take out large loans to pay off our building projects. We spend more time than should be self-advertising just to fill our sanctuaries so that we can pay off those loans. Because of this we end up pushing things like tithing instead of preparing and sending people into the world to be a face through which the world an see Christ in action.

When you look at the design of a typical church, what you will see is little more than a dysfunctional theatre. We have a lot of the equipment and technology to put on main stage productions, but because of the designs, we can do little more than Sunday services. Now what would happen if we started the design process by designing a theatre. We could build up a theatre company with actors, directors, designers and technicians. We could put on plays which glorified God while bringing in an income to help pay for the building and fund the church. We could open thing up so members of the community could not only take part in putting on the productions, but also it would be an avenue through which we can touch the lives of both the audience and those who are part of the production.

This is only one example of what could be done, but by integrating business/ministry into the church design process, we would be making better use of funds and resources while having a greater level of influence on the world around us. Also think of the discipleship opportunities involved here. By having a church where ministry and practical outreach is happening right there in the church, it gives new believers a chance to learn about ministry by being an active part in it. It could be a place for people to explore their calling and potential while having the backing and relative safety of being with other believers.

#8 Denes House

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 08:34 AM

When you look at the design of a typical church, what you will see is little more than a dysfunctional theatre. We have a lot of the equipment and technology to put on main stage productions, but because of the designs, we can do little more than Sunday services. Now what would happen if we started the design process by designing a theatre. We could build up a theatre company with actors, directors, designers and technicians. We could put on plays which glorified God while bringing in an income to help pay for the building and fund the church. We could open thing up so members of the community could not only take part in putting on the productions, but also it would be an avenue through which we can touch the lives of both the audience and those who are part of the production.


That's an excellent idea!
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#9 Harleyhound

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 04:15 AM

So, my question is, if we're giving to get a tax break then is it really because we love God and am a "giving person", or is the whole "I'm a giving person" become just smoke for the real reason I give, which is to get the tax break. Why do we "need" the tax break? Why don't we sacrifice out of a love for God?

I'm just saying...

#10 Julie Daube

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 10:41 AM

So, my question is, if we're giving to get a tax break then is it really because we love God and am a "giving person", or is the whole "I'm a giving person" become just smoke for the real reason I give, which is to get the tax break. Why do we "need" the tax break? Why don't we sacrifice out of a love for God?

I'm just saying...

Good questions! I have often wondered the same thing...

#11 Denes House

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 08:19 AM

Do we "need" the tax break? Not at all. But will I take it, given that it's available? Absolutely. :)
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#12 Brian Elmer

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 08:35 AM

Ultimately giving is an act of worship. It is practicing stewardship, recognizing that everything we have is from the Lord. Giving is investment - eternal investment. It is a spiritual discipline. "There is a connection between our spiritual lives and how we handle our money" - Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle. I am not proposing legalism nor focus on tax breaks. Those are not godly motives. But if there is a connection between how we handle money and our spiritual life, then I would say that a pattern of giving should be seen in an elder.

#13 Jay Turner

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:29 AM

Ultimately giving is an act of worship. It is practicing stewardship, recognizing that everything we have is from the Lord. Giving is investment - eternal investment. It is a spiritual discipline. "There is a connection between our spiritual lives and how we handle our money" - Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle. I am not proposing legalism nor focus on tax breaks. Those are not godly motives. But if there is a connection between how we handle money and our spiritual life, then I would say that a pattern of giving should be seen in an elder.


When I give, sometimes it is through financial resources, but more often than not, it is through investing my time and energy, and sharing my wisdom and knowledge with others. Giving of your money is an act of worship. How you deal with your money can show a lot of who you are, but I believe that what you do with your non-monetary resources can show even more and be an even greater worshipful sacrifice. Giving of your financial resources is a sacrifice and there are certain things that only money can buy like food, shelter, etc. Yet in many ways it is a hands off investment. It is much easier to give someone else money so they can feed the hungry and help the broken hearted, than it is to go out and take a place on the front lines yourself. That doesn't mean that we all need to become pastors or missionaries, but each one of us can have an impact on our family, friends, neighbors and our community simply by taking an interest and being a part of the world around us. Being a light that shines out into the darkness simply means letting your light shine wherever you are and touching others starting with those closest to you and working your way out.

Giving is an eternal investment and when we give, we should be looking for one day receiving eternal returns. But we live in the here and now, so we should also be working towards more immediate returns. When I invest time and energy into my son's life, I do it in the hopes that he will grow up to be a good and honorable man who seeks and lives for God throughout whatever his life may bring. When I invest into my friends, family, community and the society in which I live, my hope is that my investment will have an impact on the lives of those around me, and that it will encourage others to step out and become part of the process. The more people who become involved, the greater impact we can have as a body. As my original seeds continue to expand and grow, I believe that God will bring them to fruition and multiply them back to me, so that I can take those seeds and reinvest them into the kingdom.

As believers, we have a tendency of seeing the eternal as being the life to come instead of seeing it in the here and now. As we build up businesses, as we invest into peoples lives and bring change to our communities and societies, we are having an eternal impact in this temporal world. Instead of biding our time until Christ returns, we should be treating this world as if it were our eternal inheritance. By doing this, it would give us a whole new perspective and give us the added vision to transform this world for the glory of God. But for that to happen, each of us needs to know who we are as God's children and we need to step out into the calling that He has placed onto our lives. We need to take an active part and an interest in the world around us and see the whole world as our church...truly a city without walls.

#14 Denes House

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 10:59 AM

There is absolutely more to giving than money, Jay. And no form of giving is any better or worse than any other. I do think that, in our culture as in cultures throughout the ages, money has a distinct hold on us that only giving it generously, as God commands, can truly break. But certainly not everyone is able to give money, no matter how generous they are.

The reason this discussion is focused on money is that was the topic question asked at the beginning of the thread.
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#15 Brian Elmer

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 12:04 PM

You are correct Denes. My intent was to get feedback concerning the issue of giving and the elder. I realize some churches 'check the tithing role' in their determining if a person should be a church officer or elder. I don't think it is all bad. The problem in the places I know that do that is that legalism, in time, becomes the guideline. We can't know exactly what is in a person's heart. We do know that people's thoughts and behavior come as a result of what's in the heart though. Where your treasure is there your heart will be also is also a truth to guide here. Most of all, a general observation concerning elders - they should be of godly reputation. Those spirit-filled qualities aren't in perfected form, as we are all a work in progress, but they should be in maturation - seen more than not in the life an elder. I believe the grace of giving is something a mature believer in Christ grasps and responds to. (2 Corninthians 8, 9) It's all about understanding the grace of giving - a reflection of what we understand about the grace of God!