How Much To Give?

This resource provides a method for discerning a personal level of Christian giving. It is based on the author’s personal experience. It’s written for:

  • Christians considering the level of their overall giving or their giving to a specific cause.

  • Anyone providing Christian discipleship training.

For many Christians it’s a challenge to work out how much to give to their local church and to other charities. It is rare to hear any testimony or teaching in most churches on the specifics of this personal matter. Of course what follows is not the only method. However, I hope it may be helpful as a guideline to some as they work out this important aspect of Christian discipleship.

 

A Personal Testimony

I learnt about giving as a student when I attended Pip’n’Jay Church in Bristol in the 1970s. In my first term my grant ran out before the end of term. However, in subsequent terms, after I started to first give to God and then sort out the rest of my money, I found that amazingly I was solvent! This has continued over the following 40 years of my working life and into early retirement. Again and again as I’ve asked God to lead me in this important matter He has always guided and provided. Occasionally I’ve received unexpected income, gifts and even a tax rebate on the exact dates I’d pledged to give or for exact amount I’d given. It is a joy to give to God’s work and to be obedient to Him in this way, as part of my Christian discipleship.

 

A Suggested Way

Here are some suggestions based on what I do. You can borrow any part of it for yourself and add your own ideas too.

  • Pray, asking God to guide you in this important matter. Acknowledge that He is the one who provides all things for you. Give thanks for all that He has given you, both spiritually (including your salvation) and materially. You may wish to do this on several occasions or over a period of time, before you start to think about amounts to give, especially if you are working out your giving for the first time.

  • Ask God to guide you about the amount to give overall from your income, and if relevant from your capital, as part of your Christian giving.

  • You may find that a figure comes to mind straight away. This may be a challenging amount! However, be assured that God is amazingly faithful in honouring us as we give to His work.

  • If no figure comes to mind try an amount, say 5% or 10% for total giving, and ask God if this is an appropriate amount. Do you have any sense of God’s peace? If so, go with it. If not ask Him prayerfully about higher and lower figures until you find one where you sense God’s confirmation. This may be a sense of peace or comfort about the amount. You may need to continue to pray for several days or even several weeks before you “find” an amount that you are comfortable with.

  • Ask God to guide you about which causes to give to, including your local church and other Christian charities.

  • Ask God to guide you on the amount to give to each church or charity. As with determining the overall level of giving you may find that a figure comes to mind straight away. Again, if no figure comes to mind try a figure and ask God if this is an appropriate amount. Do you have any sense of God’s peace? If so, go with it. If not ask Him prayerfully about higher and lower figures until you find one where you sense God’s confirmation. This may be a sense of peace or comfort about the amount. You may need to continue to pray for several days or even several weeks before you “find” an amount that you are comfortable with.

  • It’s better to make a start, and to commit to increase the percentage you give as your income increases, than to do nothing. Some people agonise over tithing (10%). It’s an Old Testament principle, but a good one to use as a target or to start with in a New Testament context. The Church of England suggests members give 5% of their income to the local church. Start where you can, with a commitment to increase over time: 1% is better than nothing.

  • Make the gift and enjoy the experience of the joy of obedience and generosity.

 

Personal Budgets

Linked to giving is the wider aspect of your personal budget

  • Prepare a simple budget of your income and outgoings. On the expenditure side put in the giving amount first and then allocate the remainder available to your other outgoings. There is a link to a personal budget template in the Signposts below.

  • If you are a married couple with joint finances you will probably need to do this exercise together.

 

Checklist for a response to giving

  • When did I last review my giving?

  • When do I next plan to review my giving? (Annually? After each salary increase? After any other regular or one-off income is received eg a bonus, investments or a legacy?)

  • How much will I give?

  • Who shall I support?

  • We can be bombard with requests to give to so many different causes. In my experience its better to support a few organisations well, rather than too many too thinly. Ideally you should have the capacity to read the newsletter and pray for those you support financially.

  • What’s the best method of giving for me?

 

Signposts to other resources

 

Author and copyright: Helen Calder 2019