Should Pastors Know What People or Church Members Give?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Should pastors know what people or church members are give?  Is it the pastor’s business to know how much each person is giving?  What are biblical guidelines for what a pastor should and  should not know?

What the Pastor Should Know

Frequently a church member has to be disciplined for behavior that is detrimental to the church.  Certain things hurt the image of the Body of Christ and when it degrades the church it cannot be overlooked.  There were cases where Paul had to publicly rebuke and disciple certain church members that were hurting the cause of Christ.  Such was the case in the church at Corinth where a member was openly sinning by sleeping with his father’s wife.  Paul was very concerned as he wrote, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife” (1 Corinthians 5:1).  This is where the pastor must step in and rebuke the person doing such a thing and if necessary, disfellowship such a person…for their sake and for the sake of the church.  Even in the Old Testament, “A man is not to marry his father’s wife; he must not dishonor his father’s bed” (Deuteronomy 22:30).  This is a detestable thing to the Lord.  In fact God says, “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed” (Duet 27:20).

How should pastors deal with a man that was sleeping with his father’s wife or any kind of sexual immorality?  He wrote, “And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you” (1 Corinthians 5:2). Paul then said,I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 5:3b-5).  He was to be “delivered to Satan” meaning that he was to be disfellowshipped for his and the church’s own good.  The man was even bragging about it!  Paul was angry saying, “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6-7a).  The idea that sin which is allowed in the church can easily spread and affects the whole church (whole lump) is very much like leavening.  It spreads quickly.  Paul told the Corinthian church, “now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one” (1 Corinthians 5:11).

Paul was not just concerned with sexual immorality but with drunkards, swindlers, the greedy, and even idolaters.  They are to “Purge the evil person from among you” (1 Corinthians 5:13).  Clearly a church member cannot do such things and avoid discipline or even disfellowship.  Church members should not even “associate with anyone” doing such things.

Non-Essentials

Giving to God is a very personal thing and the responsibility is between them and God.

Giving to God is a very personal thing and the responsibility is between them and God.

On the non- essentials such as diet, the pastor or church elders should not make it their business or make an issue of out of it.  For example, if a member is drinking a beer at a cookout, and the member is not getting drunk, there should be tolerance for such a man to do this.  The pastor has no right to privately or publicly bring this up to the man or any person for that matter.

Also, some people believe in the rapture and some do not.  This is not an issue that is essential to the faith.  We must have grace among other members who do not believe as we do and so if a member does not believe in something that isn’t essential to one’s faith, pastors or any one should not be trying to openly rebuke or correct them.

Should Pastors Know What Members Give?

Giving offerings is not something that the pastor has any business sticking his nose into.  If members don’t give much of anything or any thing at all, they are hurting the church some, yes, but they are hurting themselves more.  At the church I pastor at, I like to have us use sealed envelopes for offerings so that we do not judge anyone over how much they give or don’t give.  I admonish the treasurer to keep all donations private and don’t even share with me how much people give or how much they don‘t!  Even if someone leaves a larger offering, I don’t want to know who gave how much unless that person comes up to me and tells me.  I don’t want to know nor do I feel I need to know.  It is none of my business.  The matter of giving to God is completely between the giver and God.  I do suggest that they gave what they can afford and give generously and cheerfully. That is the most important thing.  It’s not how much you give but how you give.  Some can pay 10%, some can only give less, but others should be able to give more, but again, that’s a private matter as far as I am concerned, but certainly God blesses the generous person.

Conclusion

A pastor is commanded to oversee the flock for which he is under-shepherd of (1 Timothy 3:1, 1 Peter 5:2).  He can not overlook grievous and unrepentant sin in the church (1 Corinthians 5) but he is to not be overbearing (1 Peter 5:3).  If necessary, a church member should be disciplined before the whole church and disfellowshipped for the good of the church (Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5) or they should be rebuked if they are contradicting biblically sound doctrine (Titus 1:9).   Jesus gave the best model for church discipline in Matthew 18:15-17 saying:

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

The pastor should follow this principle too.  Go first to the offender in private (v 15).  If this doesn’t help, go with one or two other church members, also in private (v 16) but even if this doesn’t work, you must take it before the whole church and if this is not effective, then we are to disassociate ourselves with them and disfellowship them (v 17). Other than the issues mentioned above, the pastor doesn’t really need to know what every member is doing and especially what they are giving. Giving to God is a very personal thing and the responsibility is between them and God.

Take a look at this related article about giving:

What does the Bible Teach about Giving?

Resources – New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. YouTube video “My Own Little World” by Matthew West.

Would you like to get the daily question in your FB messenger? Just click the button below to get started.



Share this post:  |  |  |  | Twitter

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Geno July 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Good to see you share about cheerful giving, rather than tithing as a REQUIREMENT for New Covenant believers, which I believe is a serious error.

Good post.

Reply

Jack Wellman July 24, 2013 at 6:57 pm

As always my brother, Geno, you have spoken words like the proverbs…like apples in a bowl of silver (paraphrased or butchered, I can’t say) but yes, God loves a cheerful giver and not one of compulsion for where is the heart at in that? You are right about tithing being a serious error of the Mosaic epic.

Reply

phawhek July 25, 2013 at 8:49 am

When saul sin against God it is written in d bible dat God release on him evil spirit to torment him.does it means dat God also have an evil spirit with him?

Reply

Jack Wellman July 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Great question Phawhek. Did God sent king Saul an evil spirit? God does not do any evil and so we must understand that the Bible is written from a perspective that humans can understand and that God does not make any one sin or tempt any man. The nature of God is such that He never would do anything that is out of harmony with His divine essence. Being infinite in all of His attributes (including goodness and compassion), He never would mistreat anyone, manifest partiality or injustice, or do something that may be legitimately indicted as wrong (Genesis 18:25).

“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4). That being the case, how does one explain the following: “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him” (1 Samuel 16:14); “And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul” (1 Samuel 18:10; cf. 19:9; Judges 9:23)? Did God supernaturally afflict Saul with a demonic spirit that, in turn, overruled Saul’s ability to be responsible for his own actions.

Good Bible exegesis (extracting the proper meaning out of Scriptures) helps us immensely in difficult passages like this one. In this case, Saul was afflicted with “an evil spirit” as a punishment for his insistent defiance of God’s will. He had committed flagrant violation of God’s commands on two previous occasions (1 Samuel 13:13-14; 15:11,19). His persistence in this lifelong pattern of disobedient behavior certainly deserved direct punitive response from God. I like what theologian John W. Haley wrote: “And he has a punitive purpose in granting this permission. He uses evil to chastise evil” (1977, p. 142). Of course, the reader needs to be aware of the fact that the term for “evil” is a broad term that need not refer to spiritual wickedness. In fact, it often refers to physical harm or painful hardship (e.g., Genesis 19:19; 2 Samuel 17:14). Specifically, ancient Hebrew (like most all other languages, then and now) was literally loaded with figurative language.

In this second case, God did not directly send upon Saul an evil spirit; rather He allowed it to happen in view of Saul’s own propensity for stubborn disobedience. Gleason Archer commented on this point: “By these successive acts of rebellion against the will and law of God, King Saul left himself wide open to satanic influence—just as Judas Iscariot did after he had determined to betray the Lord Jesus” (1982, p. 179). It would be like a Christian playing tarrot cards or a Ouji board game, both evil abominations to God and these may open a door for wicked spiritual attacks. Does this answer your question my friend? You made me do so serious research on this one.

The conclusion is that God and the Bible are exonerated from wrongdoing in the matter of Saul being the recipient of an evil spirit. When adequate evidence is gathered, the facts may be understood in such a way that God is shown to be righteous and free from unfair treatment of Saul. Like every other accountable human being who has ever lived, Saul made his own decisions, and reaped the consequences accordingly.

Reply

Rosaria July 26, 2013 at 9:51 am

Undeniably believe that which you said. Your
favorite justification appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be
aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

Reply

ida August 1, 2013 at 1:24 am

I DON’T BELIEVE A PASTOR NEEDS TOO KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY ONE CAN GIVE. THE TEN PERCENT THE BIBLE TALKS ABOUT IN THE OLD TESTERMENT IS THAT GOD GAVE THE LAND TO THE PEOPLE TO SOW THEIR GRAIN, TO FEED THIER ANIMALS AND SO ON,
SO IT WAS COMPULSORY. TO GIVE THEIR10 PERCENT.
IF YOU READ YOUR BIBLE WELL , JESUS CAME TO FREE US FROM THE OLD LAWS. DO TODAYS CHURCHES GIVE TO THE POOR DON’T THINK SO.

Reply

Nahshon Pani August 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

God wants for every believer that they give more than ten percent as new testament`s believers had given to disciples for ministry and for widows and poor (book of acts).

Reply

Nicholas August 6, 2013 at 5:23 am

I once heard a preacher ask a man could you give a dollar , the man said oh sure , i can give more than a dollar , so he started there , and seen how he could give more and more . I suppose there are so many ways a person can see how GOD will bless them in giving . I think of how those who were going to the promise land wore the same clothes and foot-wear and GOD made it to where they could , heard a preacher use this analogy to say give and GOD who is Creator of all can make the things you depend on last , like gasoline , car engines , etc. I know GOD is able , capable of all and HE promised to fill our barns , HE said to try HIM and see , I think too about the widower , she did give all she had , no matter how small , with GOD’s blessing it can help more than we could ever know to give freely , now let me practice what i have just said LORD and have faith !!!!!!!!!

Reply

Bonnie February 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I am very concerned and need some things to help back me up when I raise my concern at Church Conference, there is a small faction determined to have the givers’ names and amounts given listed on Sunday’s bulletin. I am very much against it as I forsee this causing hurt feelings and loss of members. There are those who give in time, sweat, and good doings, who do not have a lot of cash yet their contributions are priceless.

Reply

Jack Wellman February 26, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Bonnie…I think this is a very prideful thing to have people’s names listed on the Sunday bulletin. This is clearly going to puff up the people who give the most and make those who give even a little feel embarrassed. This is not a biblical model. At the church I pastor at we provide brown envelopes and seal them and only one person knows who gives and how much they give. To publicize how much members gives is going to make people try and brag or show off their generosity and make them seem more “spiritual.” Remember the widows might…she only had a tiny bit, all that she had, but that was more than those who had much gave. I believe that this is going to cause division, swell pride of those who give the most and hurt those who can’t give much, if anything. Something like this never, ever happened in the New Testament church and we are told nowhere that we are to know how much or how little a person should give and it will, no doubt about it, cause division and some members to leaven. I agree, this is wrong and is sinful in my opinion. Remember the hypocrites like to make a show about how much they gave and blow a horn (symbolically) when they did give. This is so shameful.

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you. Deu 16.17

For if there is first a willing mind, it (your offering to God) is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 2 Cor 8.12

On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 1 Cor 16.2 (see also Lev 14.30).

Jesus rebukes this kind of open showboating of giving to be seen by men in Mark 12:41-44

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Bonnie…I think this is a very prideful thing to have people’s names listed on the Sunday bulletin. This is clearly going to puff up the people who give the most and make those who give even a little feel embarrassed. This is not a biblical model. At the church I pastor at we provide brown envelopes and seal them and only one person knows who gives and how much they give. To publicize how much members gives is going to make people try and brag or show off their generosity and make them seem more “spiritual.” Remember the widows might…she only had a tiny bit, all that she had, but that was more than those who had much gave. I believe that this is going to cause division, swell pride of those who give the most and hurt those who can’t give much, if anything. Something like this never, ever happened in the New Testament church and we are told nowhere that we are to know how much or how little a person should give and it will, no doubt about it, cause division and some members to leaven. I agree, this is wrong and is sinful in my opinion. Remember the hypocrites like to make a show about how much they gave and blow a horn (symbolically) when they did give. This is so shameful.

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you. Deu 16.17

For if there is first a willing mind, it (your offering to God) is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 2 Cor 8.12

On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 1 Cor 16.2 (see also Lev 14.30).

Jesus rebukes this kind of open showboating of giving to be seen by men in Mark 12:41-44

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Having said this to his disciples out loud in the presence of his enemies, we read:

“As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.” (Luke 21:1)

Once before, Jesus has contrasted a proud Pharisee with a repentant tax collector praying in the temple (18:9-14). Now he contrasts the rich with the poor. The word “(temple) treasury” is Greek gazophalakion, “a place for storing valuables, treasure room, treasury,” probably here “contribution box.” According to the Mishnah, there were in the temple thirteen such trumpet-shaped receptacles. Some of these in the Court of the Women Jesus can observe from his seat in the temple.

People presumably are putting their offerings into the mouth of the trumpet; then the offerings drop down into the collection box. The word “putting” (NIV) or “casting” (KJV) in verses 1 and 2 is Greek ballo. The basic meaning is “throw,” but a secondary meaning drops the idea of forceful casting is: “to put or place something in a location, put, place, apply, lay, bring.”

Reply

Bonnie February 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Thank You so much for this reply Pastor Wellman! Right on target.

Reply

Jack Wellman February 27, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Your welcome Bonnie. If your church does this, I fear for their future for God resists the proud and the proud church included, but gives grace only to the humble (James 4:6) and this church seems to be depending upon offerings instead of trusting in God. I pray it works out for all concerned.

Reply

Simon August 1, 2015 at 9:13 am

So with the tithe….if the church is not getting enough tithe to keep the doors open is it still NOT the Pastors job to know who is and who isn’t tithing? What if the non-tithers are leaders in the church? Standing on the pulpit or praying over the tithe each week that aren’t tithing but have the funds to do so? So the Pastor just lets the church fail? The treasurer has the burden of knowing but the Pastor doesn’t?

Reply

Jack Wellman August 1, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Thank you Simon. It isn’t really the pastor that is letting the church fail is it? Isn’t it the church that is not faithful to support it? Would you want me to be watching everything you put into the offering plate and keeping track of what you give? The pastor often preaches of stewardship but he cannot make the members give, can he?

Reply

cary September 20, 2017 at 11:13 am

It’s a scary thing when a pastor seeks out the list of people that tithe. Pastor poison is what that list is. Sadly i get the feeling alot of them don’t see it this way. Heartbreaking.

Reply

Jack Wellman September 20, 2017 at 1:02 pm

I agree Cary. As a pastor, I think it’s an invasion of privacy and it is none of our business. That’s between them and God.

Reply

Leave a Comment





Previous post:

Next post: