Thursday, July 27, 2006

The potential of the tithe

In last Sunday's bulletin I read statistics from Barna that claimed that the most generous gruop of church members are the poorest: 8% of those making under $30,000 or so. It never gets better, though those making over $100,000 improve to 5%. This got me to thinking. Uh, oh, here I go again!

According to Barna, 47% of adults go to church on any given week. If this figure is right, then "church goers" would provide a giving base of perhaps about 45 million "families." Given the median income of $45,000 per annum, we come up with a potential tithe of 202.5 Billion dollars a year! That could provide a living wage ($30,000/yr @ 15$/hr) for 6.75 Million families. Of course, the $4,500 is about four times the average amount given to church. This 202.5 billion would not go to poverty relief alone, of course. I suppose at least half of it would go to the regular running of the churches (though we seem to be doing well enough with what amounts to about 5% of the potential now).

Let's figure then, that 180 billion would go to things OTHER THAN church staff and plant facilities, etc. That would leave 6 million families raised out of poverty. Well, let's budget some of that money to foreign missions (though that is usually above the tithe), and offer "only" 5 million families the dignity of a standard of living unheard of in much of the world.

Or perhaps, we could fund health care for ANY who need it. And education. Especially for believers, anyway. Hey, maybe we could do a better job at it than the government (read: "beast system"?). Some day it may come to a choice - dependence on God (through HIS tithe) or on Government (through taxes). Where will we stand in that day?

No comments: