Should Churches Require Their Staffs To Tithe?

Not too long ago, the network of church leaders with whom I routinely communicate was discussing the issue of staff member tithing. It’s that time of year! I was surprised by the amount of churches that communicate it as an expectation of staff but don’t check to see if it’s actually happening.

I have an old saying, “never make a ‘rule’ you’re not prepared to enforce.” I don’t know how you can tell your staff that they are expected to tithe, and not check to make sure they’re actually doing it.

That aside, how can a church staff member justify not tithing? As staff members, I certainly hope that we actually believe what the Bible says. I hope that we actually “do” what we’re “teaching.” How can we justify doing otherwise?

Questions: Does your church require its staff to tithe? Do you check to make sure it’s happening?

  • Kevin M. Stone

    I’m with you!

    Thanks for the comments!

  • adamshell

    I’m not required to tithe, but I wouldn’t consider not tithing. If I’m going to ask my congregation to tithe, then I know I should be tithing too. I also pick up an offering envelope to throw into the plate every week, not because I want to trumpet my tithing, but because I want to set an example in that regard (even though my *actual* check is sent to the church through the mail weekly :-P).

    I’ve heard of some in the ministry negotiating a 10% deduction in their pay right off the top to get into a lower tax bracket or not have to count that 10% as salary at all, but one of my mentors suggested against that (and I agree with him). Since others in the congregation can’t do the same, I shouldn’t use a special means of giving either.

  • Kevin M. Stone

    Hi Alan!

    We do also. Most do.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Alan Duncalfe

    We ask new staff if they would like to have their tithe automatically deducted from their paycheque. So far, we’ve never had anyone say no. Its a form of accountability and its starts at the very top! We all really like it this way.

  • Kevin M. Stone

    I hear you.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Stephen Canfield

    I understand that you should be prepared to enforce a rule, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Justice is not fairness, and I take into account everyone’s situation. I suggest every pastor do the same.

  • Kevin M. Stone

    Sometimes enforcing the “rules” can be especially difficult. With that said, “a rule is a rule.” I’ve often written, “Never make a rule you’re not prepared to enforce.” That applies here.

    If a person actually believes what the Bible says, they know and understand that putting God first in their finances will ultimately result in faster resolution of whatever “hardship” they face.

  • PC

    What happens when the staff tithe is inconsistent due to hardship? Yet the staff person works circles around the entire team and goes above and beyond in serving and completing work?

  • Kevin M. Stone (@xpastoronline)


    I’m not sure what you mean by your church not being “registered?” Are you saying your church is not a 501(c)3 non-profit?

    I would say that regardless, as a Christ follower you should be giving the first 10% back to God through your local church …

    Hope that helps!

  • 4g

    if i find out my new church is not register should i tithe there since the tax office cannot recognize them as legal so we can also prove that we are giving gift to the church

  • davepatchin

    Katherine, due to being a religious organization exempt from taxes, most churches do not pay unemployment taxes. As a result, their employees are not eligible for unemployment should they be fired.

  • Kevin M. Stone (@xpastoronline)


    I don’t know why not. If they are laid off, they no longer have a salary. Therefore, they are no longer tithing via payroll deduction. The issue of unemployment is separate from their desire to tithe from their paycheck. Make sense?

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Katherine myers

    If church staff is being laid off due to shortage of money.taxes and thithes automatically taken out,can that person file Unemployment ?

  • davepatchin

    If the church teaches tithing, staff/pastors should be tithing as leaders in the church.
    If the church teaches something else about giving, staff/pastors should be giving in that manner. Someone should be checking…and to me the likely person is executive pastor, pastor to the staff, or stewardship pastor. And their should be conversations about their giving, just as their are conversations about other issues of sanctification and obedience.

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  • Kevin M. Stone (@xpastoronline)

    Great comments everyone! Keep them coming!

  • chris

    If in the OT the Levites were taken care of by what was given to the temple (they didn’t contribute to that either), would it not be the same for NT pastors who have watch over the “church”? Just food for thought.

  • Micheala

    no, it’s very simple – it’s not what the word of God commands. Tithing is not a requirement of any Christian. Jesus was quite clear, He said God loves a cheerful giver, there is no mention of amounts and those who preach anything else are not being truthful about what the Bible actually teaches.

  • Ryan Visconti

    This is kind of a “duh” issue to me. Of course the church should require the staff to tithe. They are the leaders and set the example. Of course the church to check if the staff is tithing, the same way they should check to make sure their staff have healthy marriages and healthy living habits. Taking the tithe out of a staff members check is insane and robs of the opportunity to give. The issue is that if a staff member is not tithing, he has no business being a church leader.

  • Kevin M. Stone (@xpastoronline)


    I’m pretty sure she’ll have to fill out a “payroll deduction form.” If they take the money without her signature on a permission form, that would be a little strange. Illegal? I really don’t know.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Carry

    My spouse informed me that thier employer, which is a church, is making it a madatory requirement that the staff tithes. I dont have a problem with that but to actually take the funds out of their check is EXTREME. I want to know if thats legal. The bible says bring the tithe and not take the tithe. I would love to get a legal perspective.

  • Kevin Stone


    I certainly agree with you. Our policy is coming more from a fundamental leadership principle. As Christ followers and leaders in the church, we shouldn’t be asking our congregation to do something we ourselves are not doing.

    In my experience, most churches “require” tithing from their staffs, but most don’t actually check to make sure it’s happening.

    Great comments! Thanks for visiting Executive Pastor Online!

  • Fritz Barnes

    I’m a little surprised by this topic. It isn’t something I have given much thought to, but honestly it surprises me that any church would require this. The church doesn’t need the money. God doesn’t need the tithe. The value of the tithe is the way the giver learns joyful voluntary giving and dependence on God. Requiring it puts it on a par with the income taxes that are automatically withdrawn from most of our paychecks. No joy, no nothing, just another bill to pay.

  • chap

    allow me to rephrase the question- How would you respond if your ministers on staff were not giving at all to the church that pays their salary?

    On a staff of multiple ministers allowing some to give nothing while others give regularly

  • Kevin M. Stone


    I would (and have) treat it the same way I would treat any other “performance” issue. For example, if an employee is required to show up to work at 9 a.m. and they continuously, despite many warnings and discussions, show up late, they would eventually be dismissed. It’s as simple as that.

    Whatever “Corrective Action” process you have in place is used to with this as with any other performance issue. There’s a “verbal warning,” another verbal warning, a written warning, a final written warning, and termination. This process gives the employee plenty of time to “correct” the behavior and move on.

    Thanks for checking out my blog!

  • chap

    How would you deal with a staff minister who does not tithe?

    Report the matter to Senior Pastor? Talk with him in private?

    Accountability is part of the issue. If every pastor except one on a staff tithes- the issue must be addressed.

  • Staff or congregant

    IT appears that your comments are addressing other commenters. What is your thought regarding the question put forward? The question “Should churches require their staffs to tithe?” The word “require” sounds Lawish to me. Not so much in the Grace department.

    The clarification made earlier by @Kevin used the word “force”. Interesting language either way.

  • Kevin M. Stone


    Great points! I couldn’t agree more!

    Thanks for checking out my blog!

  • James

    Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42
    In both cases it is Jesus speaking and “the former” is a reference to the tithe. How then can you say that Jesus never taught tithing. In the case of those who want to declare it legalistic, what did the law require for the sacrifice of sin? An animal. What did grace require for the sacrifice of sin? Jesus. Which requires more of us, the law or grace? Those who want to argue against tithing are merely looking for an excuse for doing less. By the way, the law required 20% every year and an additional 10% every third year. So for us, a simple tithe is cut rate!

  • Suzie Q

    The Tithing mandate has become a false idol and is replacing the paid in full work of Christ on the Cross!
    Pastors should be teaching to give as an act of worship not the way the y are making people believe that God must be paid to bless and answer their prayers. Few people understand Grace and favor that is unmerited and undeserved. This is what Jesus did when he saved us. He also freely gave us all things just for the asking in his holy name!

    Romans 8:32 ” Since God did not spare his one and only Son but gave him up for us all surely he will with Him (His Son Jesus) f-r-e-e-l-y give us all things.”

    In a prideful state people want to feel they paid for something they have earned and are therefore entitled to have this is anti-grace and does not fit with the New Testament Dispensation of Grace. I agree that we should be giving Jesus his glory not our tithe record!

  • DJT

    When in doubt go to the Word of God for instructions, the New Testament Scriptures below speak for themselves on any work or law keeping for favor or justification. Our Favor comes from the finished work of Christ on the Cross.

    Acts 13:39
    ..and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

    Hebrews 7: 28
    Moses’ Teachings designated mortals as chief priests even though they had weaknesses. But God’s promise, which came after Moses’ Teachings, designated the Son who forever accomplished everything that God required.

    Read and reread the Son who forever accomplished everything (for us)
    that God requires.

    Galatians 3:11
    “So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

    Hebrew 8:6
    “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises”.

    For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

    Galatians 3:10
    All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.

    Galatians 3:13
    “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree”

    Galatians 3:14 “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit”.

    James 2:10
    For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

    2nd Corinthians 9:7 “Let each give as he has decided….


    Give voluntarily not to pay for what Jesus already paid in full on the Cross-then he will get the glory not your tithe works!

  • David Sinclair

    Write it in their Job Description :)

  • C-DeW

    All of this is assuming Jesus perpetuated the tithe (in a letter-of-the-law sort of way). But did he? It seems as though some things were carried over, if you will, in that way; however other things may not have been. Further, it seems that Jesus had opportunities to ‘reinstate’ it but chose not to. If this is the case, then we Christians are to give whatever is laid upon us from above. Though, there is little to no reason to believe less than 10% would be laid upon a man’s heart. If the tithe were not continue to the letter, your question is answered.

  • Dave Adams

    Great question, it’s something we’re just starting to wrestle with. I did a survey of our staff to see where people are at right now. It was across the board from 5% all the way to 15% of gross income.

    I think if we take seriously the teachings of Jesus on all subjects and expect staff to lead by example in all areas (morally, doctrinally, ethically, etc) then why would we not expect staff members to excel in the gift of giving?

    My question to my fellow Exec Pastors is “How many of you see what individual giving is in the church” We’ve been feeling the pinch like everyone else and I’ve been going through our expenses, which I know in detail, but our problem is a giving one and I feel handcuffed because I only see the big picture numbers.

    What about the rest of you?

  • Kevin M. Stone

    Good stuff!

    First, whether or not you can “force” someone to give to a charitable organization is not the question. The question is should the church “require” its staff to tithe. I’m no lawyer and have never done the research, but I’m guessing that if tithing is an employment requirement in an “at will” state, an individual can be dismissed for not meeting the requirement. A dismissal for not tithing would be comparable to a dismissal for not believing in Jesus or in what the church teaches about baptism, etc.

    Second, for the sake of definition, I am defining a “tithe” as 10% of everything a person makes. We can argue about whether one should tithe on their “gross” or “net” income, but that’s not really the point.

    This is an open dialog. If you have an opinion or information you can add to this discussion, post your comments here!

  • BigFred

    I think there is no question that you can “not” force anyone to make a donation (tithe) to any charitable organization – but – You should consider first what a tithe actually is instead of calling it a donation. If you do that, you may want to look at the covenant where you have pledge yourself and think about the scripture related to tithing.

    My comment related to the initial question then is – I would not make a “rule” but ask the individual which may not be tithing if they “think they are” and does whatever they are doing reflect their heart in their relationship with God.

    I believe they will answer to the Lord for their conduct someday (not are they saved / not saved by my view) and he will specifically state his position on the matter – … So, did you love me will all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul?

    But I don’t think that reflecting any less would display character traits that we view very important in our leaders and I would suspect they would not be very happy on staff. They will handle the rest.

  • Kevin

    The question should be, can you force someone to make a donation (tithe) to a charitable organization?