Eight Differences between Church Giving and Church Dues

It is amazing to hear how church members view their tithes and offerings to their local churches. Though it’s cliché to say, the attitudes of their hearts reflect the nature of their contributions to the church.

I recently looked at hundreds of comments on this issue on this blog and on Church Answers. The attitudes in which church members gave were easily divided into two categories: church giving and church dues. In simplest term, church giving is an act where the member lets go of the funds with no reservations. He or she truly gives the money to God through the church. Church dues, though, have strings attached. They are not as much gifts as they are membership dues to receive certain rights and perks.

Look at each of these sets of eight characteristics. You will likely identify most of your givers versus dues payers in your church.

Church Giving

  1. Gifts are given with a heart of gratitude.
  2. The giver never speaks of the funds as “my money.”
  3. The giver has zero expectation of personal benefits from the church in exchange for the funds.
  4. The gifts are viewed by the giver as part of his or her walk of discipleship with Christ.
  5. The giver seeks no recognition, plaques, or naming privileges for the funds.
  6. The giver gives with joy.
  7. If the giver has any regrets about the funds, it is that he or she really wants to give more.
  8. The funds are “first fruits.” They are the first amounts taken out of paychecks and other sources of income.

Church Dues

  1. Funds are viewed as membership dues with entitlement benefits.
  2. The giver loves recognition for the funds donated.
  3. The donor withholds funds when something does not go his or her way. Indeed, the person will often attempt to persuade others to do the same.
  4. Money is almost always given with expectations. It is “my money.”
  5. Funds are often given from what is left over rather than first fruits.
  6. Donor sees money as a right to determine church spending without regard for the rest of the membership.
  7. These donors love to give designated funds since they have more control over “my money.”
  8. Giving to the church is a source of pride for the donor.

What would you add to these lists? Do you have more church giving or church dues?

Posted on September 12, 2018

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Jackson H Snyder says on

    Regarding tithes and dues – if you search the scriptures or are looking for the Bible Way of giving, see if what I found isn’t a better better plan or at least, far more scriptural.

    Dues / taxes – (example, the Temple tax, half-shekel tax) these are assessed per active member for the upkeep and maintenance of the assembly’s property.
    Tithes – these are to go to the Levite, or in modern terms, the pastors, teachers and custodians of the assembly and not for any other purpose unless, like the temple, the assembly collects with the purpose of divvying up the money to disperse to their ministers. Mal 3:10 is just one example: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat (food) in my house, and prove me from now on, says YHWH Tzviot, if I’ll not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing such that there’ll not be room to receive it.” Does the temple or storehouse eat meat or food? Many biblical passages about tithes agree, as does Josephus in his ~Antiquities~, who relates that, in around 55 AD, the poorer priests were starving to death because the higher priests stole their part of the tithe.
    The Second Tithe – an amount above the tithe was to be set aside or “banked” so that the person could afford to attend the 8-day Feast of Tabernacles. After the feast, whatever money was left could be put to any purpose the owner wanted.
    Offerings – money or things given to the assembly for particular causes; what we call “designated funds.” This still holds today as the law doesn’t permit designated funds to be used for any other purpose than the intent of the giver.
    Alms – The temple, synagogues and churches have a collection plate. People are encouraged to put undesignated money there for poor people or emergency needs.
    And today, many of the “poorer priests” – shall church pastors – are in desperate financial straights because the church has engaged them for some percentage of the take, sometimes only 10%. I have known several pastors who have been shortchanged on tithes because of this. I was at a church or two myself.

  • T. Armen says on

    In the apostolic orthodox church we unfortunately have dues for membership. For the benifits of the congregants who have membership we get discounts on certain functions. There is a very small due for full time students who are 18-25. It does take the joy from giving.

  • this post was so right on target. Thanks

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