How to Tithe Without a Church: A Complete Guide
Finding a way to give when between churches can be hard – especially if you’ve just moved or haven’t found the right fit yet. It’s also tricky if circumstances prevent you from going to church regularly. In these transitional situations, you may wonder where to tithe when you’re between churches.
Good news: it is possible to tithe when you don’t have a church home. It’s so important not to give up tithing, and modern technology conveniently allows you to keep your generosity flowing!
What is a Tithe?
First, let’s clarify what a tithe is. A tithe is a payment or contribution that Christians make to their church from a percentage of their earnings.
So, how much are you supposed to tithe to the church? It is traditionally 10% of one’s earnings or possessions. The word “tithe” refers to “tenth.”
The Bible speaks to tithing and the importance of giving. Leviticus 27:30 states, “A tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain or fruit, is the Lord’s, and is holy.” Other calls in the Old Testament to give up your “first fruits” encourage believers to give material goods back to God in recognition of the spiritual nourishment He provides.
The New Testament expands upon the tithing tradition. As Jesus fulfilled the covenant of the Old Testament, He emphasized that the intention and sacrifice around the monetary donation were more important than the amount itself.
For example, the Gospel of Mark chapter 12 makes clear that the impoverished widow who gives two coins puts forth more faith in God and makes a greater sacrifice than a wealthy person who gives a tenth of their income. Because a wealthy person’s income is so large, the monetary sacrifice is not felt, and faith that their abundance will be replenished by the Lord is not needed.
The impoverished widow puts forth more sacrifice and faith in God with her humble amount given. The New Testament emphasizes the meaning behind the monetary donation, not just the donation itself.
To give cheerfully and in the spirit of faith and sacrifice, sometimes Christians choose to give more than the traditional 10%. Though many believers aim for at least 10%, the Gospel of Mark tells us that the intention behind the tithe is what’s most important.
The biblical purpose of the tithe is to give back to those who nourish you spiritually. In today’s modern world, this translates to giving 10% of your income to your church. The money goes towards church operations, including building maintenance, church programs, and pastoral expenses. It can also support other ministry outreach efforts, such as scholarships, care packages, food drives, and community events.
When church members tithe, the money goes far and wide. It not only pays for church operations but also allows you to facilitate actionable help and charity. Faith and good works together create a compassionate environment on earth, both physically and spiritually.
Where to Tithe Between Churches
Tithing when part of a church is a gracious and generous act to do. When you’re between churches, it requires more faith. Although you haven’t yet found your next spiritual home base, tithing with no church demonstrates your trust in God and reliance on Him to meet your needs. It expresses your faith that your donation will be used to do His Will.
On a practical level, maintaining the practice of tithing when between churches allows you to continue a good habit that you have already started. Once you stop tithing, you’ll have that 10% of your income back. It may be difficult to restart giving again because you’ve gotten used to having the extra money. Restarting a habit that you’ve broken is always more challenging than simply maintaining it; ask anyone who quits going to the gym for a while!
Maintaining the tithe allows you to feel good about giving back without the headache of stopping and restarting. It keeps things simple – the only challenging part is deciding where to tithe if no church is in the picture for you right now.
If you’re thinking, “I don’t go to church, where do I tithe?” you’re not alone. The most important thing is to call on God. The Lord speaks through the heart. Praying and following the His guidance through your heart is the key to giving happily, not out of obligation. Here are some examples of how to support a church’s ecumenical work if you are not a church member:
- Give to a church that benefits a loved one. If your relative finds meaning in their church, giving to that organization will be an act of loving service to your loved one. You can do so in their honor. This is a great option if you haven’t been actively involved in any church lately but want to continue supporting and remain in the loop with an organization that uplifts your loved ones.
- If you still support your previous church, continue tithing there until you find one in your local area. You’ll know exactly what your support is going towards. Plus, it’s a way to maintain a good connection if physical distance is the only thing separating you from that community. You can continue this even when you find a new church if you feel so called. There’s no rule against paying more than one tithe. (And if you’re wondering, “can I split my tithes between two churches,” the answer is yes.)
- Can you pay your tithes at any church? Most people opt to support a church they are familiar with – as that is where they receive their spiritual nourishment. That is how to give back to the church staff and pastors who help you. But at transitional times, that might not be possible for various reasons. In that case, yes, the next best thing is to choose another church. Choose one that matches your values or a church with initiatives you feel called toward, such as supporting the study of pastors, families in need, or causes like world hunger.
- Choose a low-income church that would greatly benefit you from your help. You can also consider a church with an immediate need, perhaps one that has suffered from a loss, such as a flood or fire.
- Before committing to membership, you can give as you go. Consider giving an offering to the church if you’re not ready to become a member.
Can You Tithe Outside a Church?
Determining how to tithe when you don’t belong to a church can be challenging. Can you give your tithe to organizations you support, even if they are not church-related? People differ in their opinions on this.
Some say true tithing is between you and your local church – where the Word nourishes you. They say any similar giving to sources outside the church would not count as tithing and would be an additional contribution to a tithe.
Others define “church” as not limited to a physical building but a body of people who follow Jesus. By that definition, any group that does the Lord’s work may receive your tithe. In this case, you may opt to set aside 10% of your income toward charitable organizations that support Christian causes outside the church.
Of course, you can do this alongside your regular church tithe, but this is an excellent option for those searching for how to pay tithes without going to church. Appropriate recipients of this 10% may include:
- Local charitable efforts that uplift the community in which you live. Charity begins at home, after all. This will help you get to know your community and can lead to involvement in local initiatives. It may even help you find a new church home.
- International missionary or charity work. Perhaps the churches you are loosely familiar with (but not a regular member of) can point you in the right direction.
- Some say the next best thing to a traditional tithe is to give towards efforts that expand the church, such as constructing new locations domestically or internationally. Note: this may come in the form of a special collection through a church.
- Still not sure how to tithe without a church? Follow Jesus’ example directly. Jesus tended to the sick, fed the hungry, and counseled all those around Him. Any organizations that mirror this work would further His ministry.
- Don’t have the time or space to research a recipient of your tithe in a chaotic, transitional time? Keep setting aside 10% of your earnings regularly, and trust that the Lord will guide you to the right church in His timing. It will be a significant contribution when you are ready. In the meantime, stay prayerful and open to an answer.
Remember, the key takeaways from the New Testament are to give intentionally, humbly, and faithfully. There will always be people in need. When you are between churches, trust where God calls you to give.
Give Through InPeace
When you are ready to tithe through a church, the InPeace app makes it quick, easy, and intuitive. Especially in times when cash on hand is rare, InPeace offers a way to bring online tithing and church accessibility to anyone who has a smartphone. Give safely and securely with Cloud-based storage. Know that your church will receive your donation the next day with no holding period.
With church tithe software, churches seamlessly stay up-to-date and organized in their fundraising. Plus, the InPeace mobile app allows for outreach to less active church members. Our all-in-one platform allows members to give to multiple collections and select auto-recurring gifts. Contact InPeace today to get started!