The tithe is 10% of our previous pay period. It is an Old Testament principle that has become a New Testament tradition.
Malachi 3:10-12 says, “’Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe.’ Says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. ‘Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
St. James Church is a storehouse. Since tithing is based on a percentage system, those who have more contribute more, and those who have less contribute less. But all contribute the same percentage. From the tithes, we believers distribute from the storehouse to those in need in keeping with Acts 2:44, where the Bible says of the early church, “And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.”
We encourage all to be thoughtful of those in need without judgment. Some are in need because of realities outside their control, others are in need as a consequence of their own actions. Those situations are for God to judge. Our role is to help them in their time of need. As a result, we ask you to make a prayer list of those who are in a difficult situation. At the conclusion of every service, we ask one person who has given their tithe to direct a portion of the total tithes given that day toward people they know are in need. That person chooses a member of their own family who is in need to receive one portion, and a family or organization outside of their family who is in need to receive a larger portion. This method empowers all of us to direct the giving from the Storehouse, and it models love toward others. This practice gives us the ability to give our tithe into the Storehouse as the Scripture exhorts, hear the Word of God being taught, and then see the Word of God being demonstrated in a practical way as an expression of love and caring.
In the first meeting of the board of directors of St. James Church, the protocol for distributing a portion of the tithes given to the storehouse was adopted in order to practice helpful love toward others in a practical way as a central core of St. James. Here is a portion of the motion that was approved by the board of directors during its first meeting:
“A percentage of the contributions are to be given to those in need as determined by the wishes of one of the contributors identified at the end of the service. The designated person must meet the following qualifications:
· They are to have tithed in that particular offering
· They are to have a pre-prepared prayer list of people and/or entities in need
· They have to be willing to serve on the Giving Team for the next seven consecutive weeks
· Their name has to be randomly chosen by the church administration from the tithers.
Once these criteria have been met and verified, the “Giving Team,” which consists of the 7 people who had been selected to determine the distribution of funds during the 7 weeks prior, has the authority to veto any of the selections of the current designated person. The Giving Team may not suggest new recipients, but may veto any recipients chosen by the designated person for any reason. Each week, the person who has served on the Giving Team for the longest period of time will rotate off, and the latest person is to serve on the committee for the following seven weeks.”