Question:

Dear Minister,

We have been attending a church for last 10 years. My entire family's tithe or offering is given to the pastor. The pastor never reveals any facts to church leaders about how much tithe was given by members and how much was used for which purpose.

We learned recently that he is using the tithe for his own personal needs. A van was bought for the church ministry, although it is being used by pastor for long trips when he visits his family who live in other states. A computer was bought in name of the ministry, and we have never seen it used for ministry, but his teen age son plays violent games on it day and night. Similarly the pastor has bought some appliances in name of church, but they are used in the pastor's home, while only on Sunday are they used for church purposes.

There are some people who are having real hard time with their lives and earning money the hard way, but they still trust in giving offerings for God's work. Do you think that such use of money by a minister is justified? Do you think that we should ask for the tithe to be returned, or do we leave it in God's hand, as we gave it in name of God but it's being used for other purpose?


Answer:

There are numerous problems in the situation you are describing.

  • The concept of a single pastor running a congregation is not found in the Bible. See: Pastors and Preachers.
  • Tithing, the giving of 10% of your income, is an Old Testament law. The New Testament has voluntary contributions but no percentage is specified. See Are Christians to tithe?
  • It is never a good idea to have just one man handling the funds of a congregation. "And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us -- providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men" (II Corinthians 8:18-21). Though Paul was trustworthy, he insisted that congregations send representatives with their funds so that it would not look fishy. My personal rule is that I don't handle the funds. We have three of the men taking care of it (one to count and make deposits, one who writes the checks, and one who balances the books).

The fact that this man is using the church's funds for his own personal use indicates that he is not an honest preacher. I would suggest finding a church that truly follows the teachings of God.