The Starving Church


The American Church is starving. The national numbers are appalling. Only about five percent of American’s tithe.  To put that in perspective, my small city has about 1000 households. That means for the 3600 people in our city we have about 50 tithers. And those 50 tithers are divided among our eight churches. Run the numbers, this is the reason we do not have a single full-time minister in the entire community.
What does it take for a minister to be full-time? It takes ten tithing families to give him an average household income. This is the Synagogue model and it is the basis upon which the Church was also built.
To form a synagogue, you had to have ten adult males. Why? Because you needed one hundred percent of an income for a congregation to afford to pay a rabbi an average wage. Ten times ten percent is one hundred percent.

10% of a month’s wage +
10% of a month’s wage +
10% of a month’s wage +
10% of a month’s wage +
10% of a month’s wage +
10% of a month’s wage +
10% of a month’s wage +
10% of a month’s wage +
10% of a month’s wage +
10% of a month’s wage = 100% of a month’s wage

The current average size of a household in our city is 3.39 per household.  This means that for every thirty-four people, the church should be able to afford a pastor. However, of those attending on Sunday morning, only about 25% of the people give ten percent of their income to the church. This means that the church can only afford to give their pastor an AVERAGE wage if they have at least (4×34=) 136 people in church every Sunday. Of course, that doesn’t take into account the expenses of the church, the building, utilities, office supplies and equipment.A Greater Reward 240x400
A church with 136 people every Sunday would need youth and children’s programs and other things as well. Plus, how can one man take care of that many people? He cannot… whatever he could do would be insufficient and not what he would prefer and the only way to change the numbers is to increase the percentage of people who tithe or increase the number of people who attend.
Justice is a simple idea. We reward what is good and punish what is bad. We do this with our time and our money. When we watch television, we are eyeballs and advertisers pay for eyeballs. The reason the average major league baseball player makes $3,440,000 a year is because he draws a lot of eyeballs. The more baseball we watch, the more the advertisers are willing to pay. And the more the advertisers are willing to pay, the higher the salaries of the players.
Now I love going to a major league baseball game. I love the smell of the field and the crack of the bat, I enjoy the relaxation time with my family in the stands and going to and from the game. I am not being critical of baseball player’s salaries. I am simply trying to point out that we are not rewarding the Church for the work it does for us, for our children and for our city when we toss a token into the offering plate.
How much do you value what the church does for you and your family?
What do you want for your children? Do you want to lavish on them a spiritual education? Do you want them to grow up knowing God and having a strong sense of what is moral and decent so they know how to say no to the things that are in the world that could destroy them?
And what about your community? Could your community use more of what the church has to offer? Does it need more programs for children and youth? What about church ministries to help strengthen marriages to teach husbands and wives how to love one another? Does your church have ministries to those who are in prison? Does your church have ministries to care for those who struggle with addictions? Are there ministries to provide food and assistance to those who have fallen through the gaps?
The early Church had the same issue—not enough money and too many needs. The Church began in the midst of a Roman Empire, which was pagan. The solution then and now is two-fold and simple: First, every believer has a ministry and contributes to the work of the church. We cannot depend on the pastor for the entire ministry—there is too much to do. Second, tithe so that there is plenty in God’s house. Reward the good the church does. Be a giver.

The Starving Church was originally published on Joshua Plan for Success

2 thoughts on “The Starving Church

  1. While many New Testament churches gave to Paul and his journeys, he also worked a trade so that “he might not be a burden” to them.”

    Our tithe no longer belongs to the synagogue, rather to God and Him alone. My tithe is given, not to the local storehouse, rather distributed throughout the Kingdom as He wills. “Do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith.”

    The American mentality of what church is, is tainted. We should not be so enthralled about supporting the local 4-walled building and its pastor. Rather, WE are the church. God dwells within man. “Where 2 or 3 or gathered in My name.” That is God’s idea of church, not our American way of thinking. It’s what happens outside of Sunday morning, at home, at work, and in our “play” time the separates us from the world. What are we teaching our children in their actions and consequences? How do we emulate Christ in our own actions and how we face strife, challenges and turmoil, how we redeem our free time, how we are diligent to be selfish or selfless in our desires?

    Our Christian body grows one person at a time, weekly, daily, hourly and minute-by-minute. My faith and walk is based on my personal relationship with Him, and not with a local group of church people, a pastor, or it’s programs.

    “You need no man to teach you.” Therefore our relationship with God is predicated on our membership into HIS body. And, we are to help one another and remind our family members of our charge to be Christ-like in all things. Yet, in America our church member have become “comfortable” in sitting on Sunday morning to be “taught” by pastors on how they should live, and forsake their own responsibility to be diligent in growing their faith. (2 Peter 1)

    And,if the tithe is there to support the organization, then how is it to be shared amongst the 1. apostles, 2. evangelists, 3. prophets,, 4. pastors, and 3. teachers? Or rather, how many local church congregations actually have the full 5-fold ministry engaged regardless of whether they are being financially supported? America relegates all these into one person – the pastor. This is not Christ. For Christ is our five fold minister. He is our pastor, teacher, prophet, evangelist and apostle – because He lives His life WITHIN us.

    Therefore, Ken, I think your synopsis is flawed and should be more concentrated on not the 10% and what it means to the local church growth or to the support of an American institution. Rather giving it all. The 100% is God’s, and as a Christian I will give 100% regardless of whether the local “church” family will supports me or not.

    My calling “is without repentance” and I will fulfill that calling no matter the cost. I will seek my reward (or payment) in heavenly places which is eternal.


  2. I agree fully with the five-fold ministry but Pastor Ken’s synopsis is less than flawed. The Bible say “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”, meaning to assemble together in one place and it also says “bring the tithes into MY storehouse” , meaning the Lord’s storehouse, not your own. Reality is that the place we assemble ourselves together is the church and the storehouse that the Lord is referring to is not your own house but rather His.
    One thing that is common this day in time is people wanting to give to the community or things going n around them, other than the church. There is nothing wrong with this type of giving but it should be considered an offering, not your tithes. For one reason, people wanna see immediate results for their money and they also like the fulfillment of seeing someone benefit directly from their giving. This is a deception and can actually result from lack of faith (that if they give it to the church they’re not sure what happens to it) and it can also be a for of selfishness (self gratification from seeing the benefit of what they did for someone).
    I do believe, however, that the church (esp. the churches that are financially able) should use the tithing for all areas that the Bible speaks clearly of. This is the five-fold ministry, the widows, and the fatherless children of that church. However, as anything in life, it starts with the leader. Therefore, if a church cannot even support it’s pastor, I the manner that Pastor Ken has described, then it cannot support the other areas. It all has to start with the pastor and they deserve much more than they receive.


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