In 2008 I wrote an article about how to tithe on behalf of a business. There is surprisingly little published on the topic, which is why I addressed it. After  years, it’s still the 3rd highest ranked resource via Google, and I continue to get questions from people wanting to know specifics on how to apply it to their business. Should Christian businesses tithe?
I received an interesting question this weekend that really was about whether one can trust their church’s leadership and, ultimately, the Lord. The ramifications go much further than the original question — even to church IT, and [it] seemed worthy of an article.
The Question Posed
“If I feel that the leaders of the church are not doing what they suppose [sic] to do in the church and when something is needed for the house of God they don’t buy it like furniture, carpets etc, can I use my tithe money to buy those necessary things for the house of God. PLEASE ADVISE”
It felt to me like this is a larger question that relates to faith. Faith in the Lord, and faith in his ability to lead through the leadership he’s put in place in his church.
The Answer I Gave
“If your faith is in the God of the Bible through Jesus Christ, then you can’t help seeing in Scripture that the church is his church. In fact, it is referred to as the bride of Christ!
“If it is his church, and he says that he puts those he wants in leadership positions, can you trust him to lead his church? My guess is that your answer is yes, you want to. If so, we’re told to bring our tithes in, not to direct how they are managed. Interestingly, even the IRS says that when you give a donation you relinquish control.
“But what if you believe the church leadership is mismanaging? If that’s the case, you may need to find another church. Or decide to trust that God is in charge.
“Ultimately, tithing is a faith issue. Money always has an emotional tie to our heart. I encourage you to focus on trusting God to manage his church and decide to trust the leadership he’s put in place (unless they’re violating scripture). Focusing on him — even when you’re not certain leadership is going in the right direction — is a terrific step of faith the Lord will bless.”
Ramification for Church IT Employees and Volunteers
I really believe that! There have been plenty of times in my 40+ years as a Christ follower that my church’s leadership has made a decision I wasn’t convinced was great. God says he leads the church, and I have chosen to follow him.
A pastor friend once told someone who was leaving the church who said he couldn’t agree with a decision made that, until that moment they had only been walking in parallel paths. Each of the church’s previous decisions [was] what the congregant believed was right. “But with this issue, this is your first opportunity to follow leadership.”
Leadership sometimes makes decisions that IT staff and volunteers think may not have been the best IT decision. The common response is to protect the rest of the church by making decisions that leadership should make so leadership can’t make the wrong decision. Doing so leads to dysfunction! Staff begin a culture of making their own IT decisions too. Before long, the leadership, staff, and IT are all frustrated.
IT’s role is not making policy decisions — even about IT issues. IT’s role is to inform and influence leadership’s IT decisions, and then to implement and support them. That takes pressure off IT, and helps the entire team to focus on living within leadership’s decisions.
The next time IT is tempted to make an IT policy decision, instead present the issues to leadership and let them make the decision. Trust the Lord! It’s his church.