What could the church be able to do if every member was able to tithe consistently? That’s a question that many churches are asking as they have started running into financial issues over the years. Part of the reason why tithing is down is because it isn’t seen as a Biblical command as it once was. The perspective has shifted in the evangelical community toward a view that everything is God’s, not just the 10% that is often referred to in theology.
1. Only 3-5% of Americans who give to their local church do so through regular tithing.
2. In 2000, American evangelicals collectively made $2.66 trillion in income.
3. Total Christian income in the United States is $5.2 trillion annually, nearly half of the world’s total Christian income.
4. Over the next 50 years, it is predicted that between $41 trillion and $136 trillion will pass from older Americans to younger generations.
5. $1 trillion to $3 trillion in wealth will change hands every year within the Christian community from family to family.
6. When surveyed, 17% of Americans state that they regularly tithe.
7. For Christian families making less than $20k per year, 8% of them gave at least 10% in tithing. For families making a minimum of $75k or more, the figure drops to just 1%.
8. 3 out of 4 people who don’t go to church make donations to nonprofit organizations.
9. The average donation by adults who attend U.S. Protestant churches is about $17 a week.
10. 1 in 3 US American Christians say that it is impossible for them to get ahead in life because of the debt that they have incurred.
11. If Christians followed the Old Testament standard of giving across the board, then $139 billion would become available every year for additional ministry work.
12. 37% of people who attend church every week and identify themselves as Evangelical don’t give any money to their church.
13. 17% of American families have reduced the amount that they give to their local church in some way. 7% have dropped regular giving by 20% or more.
14. In total, about 10 million tithers in the United States donate about $50 billion annually to the church and other non-profit causes.
15. 77% of those who tithe give 11%–20% or more of their income, far more than the baseline of 10%.
16. 97% of Christians who tithe make it a top financial priority to give to their local church.
17. 7 out of 10 tithers do so based on their gross income and not their net income.
18. People are more likely to practice tithing when they begin the practice in their teens or early twenties.
19. People who tithe regularly typically have less debt than other demographics – 8 out of 10 have zero credit card debt and 28% of them are completely debt free, including not having a mortgage.
20. 35% of those who do tithe have a net worth or will bequest that is valued at more than $500k.
21. Out of the Top 10 places where tithers put their money, the least likely demographic that they would give money is children and orphans.
Tithing could bring about greater success for the American Christian church, it’s true. So could better financial stewardship and a focus on Biblical priorities.
What is tithing? For those that don’t go to church, tithing is the practice of committing a specific percentage of income to the church over an extended period of time. The recommended tithing amount is 10% and this comes from passages in the books of Moses, called the Torah depending on your belief system. What Jesus said about tithing, when engaging the Pharisees in Matthew and Luke, was that tithing wasn’t supposed to take the place of love, mercy, faithfulness, or justice.
There’s also the story of the poor woman at the temple who have the one coin she had. “Truly, I say to you,” Jesus says in Mark 12, “this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 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.”
There is also 2 Corinthians 9:7 to consider from the Christian perspective: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Is tithing important to the survival of the Christian church? Or would the money just be spent on trying to influence politics on the next election cycle? The statistics of tithing seem to have the answers to these questions and many more.
Additional Related Statistics
In church sponsored statistics, the tithing American Christian is three times more likely to support their church’s building program than they are to support children and orphans. Tithing is only important when the money is being used for things that can help others in some way. If someone is tithing simply because it makes them feel good about themselves, then that person already has their reward. The tithe is only made to help themselves, no matter how much money is being given.
The other thing that tithing statistics don’t show is how much money that “non-tithers” actually put toward other non-profit causes. Because many Christians don’t feel that the New Testament requires a 10% obligation on their finances, those that do donate to their local church tend to donate other places in similar amounts. A 3% donation to the church is often followed up with other 3% donations to other charitable organizations that may or may not be operating inside the “missions” of Christianity.
Tithing, in many ways, is used as a method of creating superiority from one demographic to the other. It’s not the amount or the percentage that matters. It’s the heart. When nearly 50% of the world’s Christian income originates in the US and there is a need that isn’t being fulfilled, it seems pretty legitimate to question the heart of the average American Christian.