What Are Tithes & Offerings For?

Protestant Christian denominations regularly engage in the practice of giving tithes and offerings within local church congregations. The definition of a tithe is 10 percent of a parishioner's income. Church members may choose to tithe on a weekly basis, or monthly. Offerings are funds given by church attendees to the church, without the constraint of adherence to the 10 percent of income rule.

1 Biblical Mandate

Christian churches encourage tithing within a congregation because of numerous Bible verses, which indicate how God is pleased when his followers give a tithe. Some of the verses include Genesis 14, Deuteronomy 14, Nehemiah 10, Amos 4, Matthew 23, and Hebrews 7. Offerings are not required within a church congregation as tithes are, but most Christian pastors encourage this act according to verses which teach of sacrificing one's goods for the sake of the Lord. Though this type of giving is dutiful for a church body, it is also considered sowing for future blessing.

2 Church Funding

If church members do not regularly give money to their church, it is likely that the regular operations of a church may be reduced or eliminated. Tithes and offerings go directly to pastors and church staff, as well as towards bills like electric, water and heat within the church building. Depending on the church, there may be other paid workers such as musicians and secretaries, though they generally do not receive wages as high as pastors.

3 Donations and Charity

After the essentials of a church's property and staff are paid, tithes and offerings may contribute to extra charities or other ministries. Missionaries, new bibles or sound equipment, and building refurbishing may be the result of a surplus of giving. Special donations may be taken for special purposes as well. For example, if a natural disaster occurs and the church board decides to take up an additional donation, church attendees may choose to either give to one or both of the offered collections.

4 Personal Faith

Many charismatic denominations teach of the blessing that occurs within individual givers of tithes and offerings. The concept is that of reaping and sowing, a metaphor of farming and harvesting. This encourages members to tithe not only because it helps their church or community, but because God will bless them on a personal level as well. A common Bible story used to teach this concept is Jesus' telling how the poor woman who gave 100 percent of her money being more blessed than he who gave a larger sum but a smaller percentage of what he had.

Arlen Hershey has been writing science curriculum for informal science education organizations since 2006. She has written for Experiencia and Sea World. She has a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Illinois.