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The Tithe of TithesLet’s Talk About ItA SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM THE DESK OF THEGENERAL OVERSEERDr. Tim HillGeneral OverseerChurch of God

THE TITHE OF TITHESI am aware that the topic of denomina8onal financial support, at least for some, has been one of frequentdiscussion. In wri8ng this ar8cle, I'll try not to be overly theological, blindly loyal or stubbornly denomina8onal,but I will do my best to ar8culate past historicity, present accountability, and future responsibility.Recently, in the April 2017 Execu8ve Council Mee8ng, I shared a presenta8on en8tled, "Priori8es, Paradigms,and Purpose." This presenta8on suggested several items that I personally believe the Council should considerand deliberate in the foreseeable future. I will write more about those items later. However, among them, Ispoke about a "Kingdom-building" budget that must help feed and give undeniable support to the 10 corevalues of the Church of God. Early in the presenta8on, I made the following observa8on:"While our organiza8on's credit history describes our past, our check book describes our present and our budgetdescribes our future, all three describe our priori8es."our organiza.on's credit history describes our past, our“ Whilecheck book describes our present and our budget describesour future, all three describe our priori.es.”PAST HISTORICITYAs General Overseer, I daily live with the fact that I, along with the Execu8ve CommiTee and the Execu8veCouncil, am entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that the Kingdom resources that flow through thisdenomina8on are effec8vely and honorably u8lized in ways that tes8fy of Great Commission purpose andaccountability. Most of the funding that allows the Execu8ve Council to formulate and direct the basic ministrybudget each year is generated through what has historically been referred to as the “Tithe of Tithes.” Simply put,the phrase "Tithe of Tithes" refers to the prac8ce of dedica8ng 10% of the monthly amount of 8thes given bylocal church congregants, with one half (5%) dedicated for the ministries and administra8ve func8on of Churchof God State/Regional Offices and one half (5%) dedicated for the ministries and administra8ve func8on of theChurch of God Interna8onal Offices. From an Interna8onal context, one-fourth of the amount coming toInterna8onal Offices is dedicated to Church of God World Missions. It should also be noted that much of theWorld Mission areas par8cipate in the 8thing system as well. Tithing outside the United States is admirablyhonored and helps to fund ministry within those par8cular regions outside the United States where the Churchof God is represented.When establishing the system of a local church “8thing” on the 8thes that it took in, our early church leadersseemed to have recognized a simple principle – only that which is shared can be mul8plied. Now called by manythe “principle of mul8plica8on,” it was an acknowledgement of the truth found in Romans 11:16 (NKJV) that “ifthe firsgruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.” Tithing was seen as morethan a source of income for the denomina8on. Those early church fathers righgully believed that if believerscould be blessed by 8thing, then a corporate blessing could also be on the local church if it also 8thed.PAGE 2THE TITHE OF TITHESDR. TIM HILL

Historically, the prescribed amount of the Tithe of Tithes has experienced some adjustments as the Church ofGod matured as a movement. Over the years, the General Assembly adopted measures that incrementallyreduced the Tithe of Tithes amount sent from the local churches, purposefully allowing local ministries moreflexibility while requiring state/regional offices and Interna8onal office to recalibrate methods, means andministry to "do more with less," with the goal of experiencing growth to make up and hopefully go beyond theini8al difference in income. The ra8onale was that "with more funds available locally to spur growth, thedenomina8on would also experience growth as well."Although few are around that remember such, the Tithe of Tithes, combined with missions giving, was set at25% in 1938. It stayed at 25% for the next 36 years.The first reduc8on was introduced in 1974 and phased in over the following 16 years, bringing the total Tithe ofTithes down to 15%. The most recent reduc8on began in 2010 and was completed in 2014, resul8ng in a totalTithe of Tithes of 10%.TITHESYEARINT’L OFFICEWORLD MISSIONSSTATEINT’L OFFICESTATERAISED BY 2.50%AS A % OF %20143.75%3.75%1.25%1.25%PRESENT ACCOUNTABILITYThe current budget year for the Church of God Interna8onal Offices will close on August 31, 2017. The revenueprojected by the previous Execu8ve Council, and supervised by the current Council, is 19,761,180. This is theprojected 8the amount received from local churches available for budge8ng purposes aoer the GeneralAssembly designated alloca8on for World Missions has been distributed. The World Mission percentage isprojected to equate to 6,587,060 - one fourth of the overall budget. Combined, these figures total 26,348,240.PAGE 3THE TITHE OF TITHESDR. TIM HILL

Tithe BudgetDistribu on ChartAged Ministers8.25%2016-2017IEC General Ministry Fund4.85%Divisional Budgets24.88%Debt Servicing4.28%General Assembly3.49%Non-Divisional & Specialized Ministries3.43%General OperaNons25.82%World Missions25.00%Aged Ministers8.25%IEC General Ministry Fund4.85%Non-Divisional And Specialized Ministries3.43%Divisional Budgets24.88%World Missions25.00%General Assembly3.49%Debt Service4.28%25.82%General OperaRons100.00%PAGE 4THE TITHE OF TITHESDR. TIM HILL

While the budget alloca8on amount of over 26,000,000 is a lot of money to fund ministries around the world,please think about these things as you process this informa8on:It is important to note that the Tithe Fund doesn't provide en8rely for any of the denomina8on’sministries, nor many of the administra8ve func8ons of the denomina8on. Each year specific alloca8onsare made to these areas of ministry to help bridge a division's responsibility of raising funds in order tototally address their financial obliga8ons. Simply put, many divisions of the church would be unable tofunc8on if they did not raise money on their own to supplement their budget alloca8on.It is also important to note that divisional budget revenue is largely fed by fundraising, partnerships,sales, gios, grants, conference registra8on fees, tui8on, etc. All of these combined with the Tithe Fund"basic budget" alloca8ons bring about a larger opera8onal budget. For example, while Care Ministries’annual opera8onal budget is well over 3 million, the Tithe Budget alloca8on for Care Ministries is justunder 500,000 for this current year. Similar scenarios as this exist throughout the church.While 250,000 of the current year’s budget was designated for Church Plan8ng, the Execu8ve Councilin recent mee8ngs has been able to target available funds of 1.5 million to create the “Church Plan8ngBank.”Finally, I would note that while the 8the figure of 5% represents revenue for ministry at the interna8onallevel, ideally a similar amount should also be reflected as a grand total when combining the Tithe figuresamong all states and regions.The projec8on is that 531,696,800 in 8thes will be given in Church of God congrega8ons in the United Statesthis fiscal year, meaning that 53,169,680 in Tithe of Tithes will be divided among state/regional offices and theChurch of God Interna8onal Office. More importantly, that means that 478,527,120 will remain in the localchurch to reach the harvest in 6,500 communi8es where the Church of God has a presence.FUTURE RESPONSIBILITYIt can be said, without argument, that God has blessed the Church of God through the generosity of hardworking and faithful people who willingly give to support the ministries of our movement. Do we have enoughrevenue? Rather than answer that with the expected "No", I will simply say that "as our days are, so shall ourstrength be." God always meets every need. Obviously, there is always a desire to generate more in order to domore, but without doubt, the Church of God has been entrusted with tremendous resources. This fact brings tobear the truth that "to whom much is given, much shall be required.”“ God always meets every need. ”As a denominaRonal leader, I am required and even spiritually obligated to:Be accountable to everyone who helps finance and labor in the harvest;Be accessible to those with ques8ons, observa8ons and even commentary regarding denomina8onalrevenue and expenditures;Be ac8ve in inspiring ministry growth without becoming administra8vely burdened down in the process:Be aTen8ve to the call from local churches and pastors for more expedient and effec8ve resources;Be aggressive in guarding against ins8tu8onalism that lends to funding failures rather than successes;PAGE 5THE TITHE OF TITHESDR. TIM HILL

Be adaptable to new methods that produce more money for the harvest, rather than self-absorbing thosefunds and losing them to administra8ve machinery; andBe aware that trust is the founda8on of las8ng rela8onships - not branding, not denomina8onal loyalty,not legisla8on – but trust.So here are some realiRes:The vast majority of churches are, and regularly remain, current with their Tithe of Tithes. Like clockwork andwith uninterrupted consistency, more than 65% of the churches in the USA send their Tithe of Tithes on 8meeach month. However, there is a growing and even alarming number of churches who have fallen woefullybehind since the economic recession of 2008.There are some pastors who are challenged in council mee8ngs by those who ask "what are we geung for thismoney we send to Cleveland every month?" Ooen that ques8on is accompanied by pressure to considerdiversion, dollar limits, and even non-par8cipa8on.For some, the challenge and responsibility of making church payments, paying for staff, developing programs andproviding for family contends with their commitment to honor the Tithe of Tithes system developed by theGeneral Assembly.While there may be a few pastors and churches that could, but for some reason do not par8cipate in the Titheof Tithes process, by and large most pastors feel awkward and even embarrassed that their Tithe delinquencyhas grown so large. Some feel isolated and have even withdrawn from fellowship opportuni8es and func8onsthat they have tradi8onally par8cipated in.And yes, unfortunately, there are those who see the 10% as a "franchise fee" or a "tax," rather than a Tithe. Doesthat bother me? Sure it does, and on several fronts, but I will save that discussion for a later date.My commitment is this:I, along with the Execu8ve CommiTee and Execu8ve Council, will work to ensure that pastors cananswer the "Value Add" ques8on every day of the year. When the "what do we get out of this?" ques8onis asked by their members, pastors must have an immediate answer. Our people want to know that theirKingdom dollars are going toward Kingdom dynamics that affect change in this world. They want toknow that our mission is the Great Commission and that our dis8nc8ve as a denomina8on is clear. Theywant to know that their children have a future as part of a "difference-making" movement that impactsthe culture they wake up in every day. Local leaders want to know that they can be resourced, equippedand valued as part of a movement that God has raised up for end-8me impact.I will work with the Execu8ve CommiTee in finding ways to bring every pastor and church that has fallenbehind in 8thing back on board in Christ-honoring ways that break the ceilings of limita8ons,awkwardness and regret. At the same 8me, we will affirm accountability and helpful preventa8ves thatprovide correc8ve steps to keep the local pastor and church from rever8ng back into the same oldpaTerns of financial lapse.I will join the Execu8ve Council in honoring and celebra8ng the vast majority of churches of every sizewho consistently 8the in order for the Church of God to experience maximum ministry around theworld.PAGE 6THE TITHE OF TITHESDR. TIM HILL

I could list all the 8thing scriptures. I could cite all the appropriate passages from the Church of God GeneralAssembly Minutes. I could give you all the typical statements you would expect from a denomina8onal leader .but you know what you know and you believe what you believe about 8thing – personally, locally anddenomina8onally. My goal today is to con8nue to build a bridge of trust that will reconnect each of us back toour mission of fulfilling the Great Commission.goal today is to con.nue to build a bridge of trust that will“ Myreconnect each of us back to our mission of fulfilling the GreatCommission.”So, while I have not come close to answering every ques8on, and I may have created more ques8ons than I haveanswered, I hope I have at least exposed the 800-pound gorilla in the room and brought him from behind thecurtain of restrained conversa8on so we can at least have conversa8ons about this challenge and make progresstogether.Tim HillNote: The fiscal year-end report of the Church of God Interna9onal Office can be accessed via the online repor9ngportal by going to [email protected]://www.churchofgod.org/online-repor9ng.PAGE 7THE TITHE OF TITHESDR. TIM HILL

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