Is there any specific biblical instruction that we give our tithe to where we regularly hear God's word or the church we belong to? What if I feel like giving my tithe to churches that are in need even though I'm attending there?
Galatians 6:6 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18 seem to suggest that we should certainly help support those who teach and preach the word of God to us. Usually, this will be our local church. However, in 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul urges the Corinthians to share with the church in Jerusalem, which was currently in great need. The Bible also urges us to help support traveling missionaries, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Generally, I think that believers should give FIRST to those who are helping them grow in the faith and teaching them the Word of God, etc. Afterward, they should also give to other Christian organizations that they believe in and respect. However, there may also be occasions when the Lord moves His people to help other believers in other parts of the world.
The key issue, in my opinion, is first the readiness to give in obedience to God's word. And second, a sensitive spirit that is open to the Lord's leading in one's giving. Of course, as good stewards of God's resources we should also check out (as best we can) the churches or organizations receiving our money. Are they faithfully preaching and teaching God's word? Are they genuinely concerned to advance the cause of Christ in the world? Are they good stewards of the gifts they receive? Are they genuinely in need?
It's helpful to remember that the Old Testament pattern of giving was one of both tithes AND offerings. Offerings were gifts above and beyond the tithe (one-tenth of one's income). The circumstances of your question would suggest that if the Lord is calling you to give to struggling churches, making an offering on top of your regular giving to your local church would be an excellent solution.
There are other issues to consider, but these are some to keep in mind.
About the Author
Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.
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