"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"High Capacity People"...A Church "Generosity Consultant" Explains How to Go After Them

Part of what I want to do in the coming posts is to help the average pew sitter see what is going on "behind the scenes" in modern Christianity regarding the tactics churches are using to raise revenue.

We will be looking at some trends of church marketing and fund raising. Church members should be aware of how their money that they are giving to the church for ministry, is actually being used to hire church marketers and consultants, to come up with ways to get MORE money from them, and to target those who have money to give.

Let's start things off by looking at a 6-minute video produced by Jim Sheppard, the CEO of a consulting firm named "Generis". I found this video at the blog of one of their former consultants, Ben Stroup. Ben has recently left Generis, but Ben was one of the few people in evangelical Christianity that actually defended Ed Young's classic tithing sermon from last October. Go here to read his defense of Ed Young's tithing sermon.

Back to Jim's video: Jim produced the video below for an event called "The Nines" last October, where 100 leaders gave 6-minute talks on the Internet to help church pastors. In the promo for this event you'll see some of the big names that spoke - included are Perry Noble and Steven Furtick. In his video, Jim explains to church leaders how they need to develop strategies for going after the very wealthy in their community, who he calls "the high capacity people".



Here are some quotes from the video:

"...I've chosen one [strategy] that's simple...it's right under your nose. In fact my only fear is that it is so simple and maybe so obvious that you might not see the great potential that lies in it. The reason I chose it is that hardly any churches are doing it. And for the few that are, it is a game changer, I mean a TOTAL game changer. So here it is: I call it unleash. Simply put, it is releasing the full potential of the high capacity people God has placed in your church."

He then goes on to make some valid points about how the "high capacity" people can be a valuable resource to the church in more ways than just financial.

Then he does give a disclaimer:

"Now...first and foremost, let me make one thing clear. This is not a money ploy. Though these people are probably among the most financially blessed in your church. This is not about reaching them for their money."

Gee, if you have to say "this is not a money ploy", it just might be.

But he gets to a point where he asks the question:

"First you have to find them. This is pretty easy, some think it's tough, but it's pretty easy. Most have already identified themselves by; who they are in the community and in other places - at work , at school, wherever it is. You can find them. A few are hiding, but most of them are fairly obvious."

OK, so we have to find the wealthy. It's easy. Some are hiding. How do we find these people? They're everywhere! If you're a mega church pastor, they're probably your neighbors!! Once we find these successful rich people, what should the pastor do?

"Once you find them, you have to create environments and opportunities where you can build relationships with them. It might be a dinner gathering, or a dessert fellowship or something like that. Make it fun, make it casual. Don't let the group get too large."

He is advocating the pastor build relationships with them. But be be careful pastor, don't let your group of rich people get too large! Create environments to get the wealthy to come have dinner and ice cream. Where? At Ruth's Chris?

"If you happen to be one of those churches that has too many of them - and by the way that is a really good problem to have - break 'em up into several smaller gatherings. Get them together periodically. Not too often, but just often enough."

It is a good "problem" to have too many wealthy - yes, much better to have that problem than the problem of too many poor slobs.

And of course, you need to get their input as you "cast vision":

"Use this time to cast vision, to recast vision, if you've already cast vision, to build trust with them, to enhance relationships. Let them see the ministry from the senior pastor's cockpit, to give them a glimpse of where you believe God is leading your church."

The term "casting vision" is very popular among the emergent churches, a term that describes what a pastor does after God directly gives him a vision as to where the church should go. A pastor receives this vision directly from God, then "casts" it to the people who then will fund it and support it as God's will. To question or express dissent from the pastor's vision is to speak against God.

"Most importantly, create opportunities where you can listen to them. Especially when you're about to embark on a new initiative, or cast some kind of a new vision, type of thing."

I know this man means well. And I agree, successful business men and women can be a great asset to a church. And yes, rich people need to hear the gospel. Of course.

But does the Bible teach that the wealthy in your community should be targeted by the pastor, they need to be found and courted at special events? And does the Bible teach that the pastor needs to give a special ear to people of great worldly success?

Do people who are very wealthy and successful have more valuable insights for the direction of the church than do those who are of very modest means, that have proven through decades of service at their church that they are very wise and humble?

I have to disagree with Jim on the premise of his video: the problem in mega churches today is not that they are not listening enough to those who are successful in the world, THEY ARE LISTENING TOO MUCH. They are hiring marketing firms (like Jim's) to tell them what to preach and how to get more money out of the people's pockets.

I think a more valuable message to mega pastors might be something like: stop listening so much to the very wealthy hot shots in your congregation. Stop wining and dining with the wealthy. You might want to try rubbing elbows with the people of very modest means in your church and seek THEIR counsel before you "cast vision".

Perhaps pastors should get more advice from those that are "high capacity" in the areas of love, grace, mercy, compassion, steadfastness, etc....than focusing on those who are "high capacity" in the areas of money and worldly success.

What do you think?

107 comments:

Katie said...

Tom,

I look forward to the comments on this topic.

The gospel via slick marketing. Am I mistaken or did I read something about the moneychangers in the Temple?

WishIhadknown said...

I really cannot comment right now, after watching that, I have to go shower and try to wash the stink off.

Anonymous said...

Let me be very clear...when you employ a marketing firm its a business not a religious organization.

Anonymous said...

Marketing: Quality of being sold, fit for sale. Need I say more. Katie has it correct.

Anonymous said...

There are some marketing groups who get a percentage of funds raised in a marketing blitz by a church. Sounds like what Paul categorized as another gospel.

Anonymous said...

This is why you need to raise the tax rates for the wealthy. That's where the money is.

Duh...

Not much point in developing relationships with someone who has $3K or $4K to give as their tithe. Not much point in increasing the income tax on someone who makes $40K. Besides, with payroll taxes, property taxes and sales taxes they are already paying a high % of their gross in taxes--then you add their tithe.

Government or church, you have to get it where it is.

The Butcher Priest said...

I am a staunch defender of the tithe. What I do not agree with are the marketing strategies that churchs engange in using tithe dollars. Jesus Christ did not engage the public via marketing techniques and brand awareness. He simply walked and talked among the people and lived the gospel, He was the gospel. He preached the gospel. He proved He was the gospel and He demonstrated that through miracles, teachings at the temple and fellowship with His disciples.

If the church wants to "market" themselves, all they need to do is effectively and efficiently engage their local communities just as Jesus did. This can be done through visitation and community service projects, and many other venues.

Churchs DO NOT need to spend money on social media outlets for public exposure. Churchs DO NOT need to spend tithe dollars for the latest and greatest website. Churchs DO NOT need to spend tithe dollars on advertising.

This has become a plague in the Christian Church of America. Instead of wasting money on advertising and brand awareness to reach out to the community, churchs need to physically involve themselves in the community actively living out the gospel. That will reach people.

The Butcher Priest said...

High Capacity People my ass!


This guy is a nut. There is no such thing. High Capacity people do not exist. Money, wealth, community influence and prominence DOES NOT automatically give a person more potential to reach people for Christ. These people should not be looked upon as special tools in the church to help the church grow or minister to the community.

Money and Status are not traits that people should look for when deciding to follow Jesus. What they should see is a genuine Christ focused lifestyle.

They should see Jesus in your heart, and not what's in your wallet!!

Anonymous said...

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Bojac said...

"high Capacity" how cynical can a person be. How coukd a pastor who is supposed to be a servant get so obsessed with developing certain ppl while ignoring the "low capacity" or the most needy person. James told us of the willingness to put the "high Capacity" person in the front row, while relegating the poor guy to the back. I think since the mega church has flourished with seeker sensitive activities we are far more corparate than Christian

Slow to speak said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"I am a staunch defender of the tithe."

Good. I've been asking a question on this blog for months and not one person who supports the tithe can answer it. Perhaps you can.

Why is it that the modern church only preaches one tithe when the Old Testament Israelites paid three?

When and why were two of the three tithes from the old testament dropped in the new testament?

Anonymous said...

"There is no such thing. High Capacity people do not exist. Money, wealth, community influence and prominence DOES NOT automatically give a person more potential to reach people for Christ."

It is not really about reaching people for Christ. That is just the spin. It is about having a high profile church (business) with plenty of money for fancy programs, high salaries and state of the art buildings.

Jesus is the marketing tool.

My favorites are the "stewardship guys". These are the guys that talk wealthy folk into leaving their money to the church. Some people do not know but some mega's have people who do this full time. They will even plan your "church" funeral and handle all the details.


There are other perks such as plaques of your benevolence somewhere in the church or even a building with your name on it depending on how big the endowment.

And people will emphatically tell you they are not being brainwashed by these tactics. Nope. They will brag about "who" goes to their church.

It is as if they have never read the book of James, huh?

Anonymous said...

Do you think it is fair that the OT Israelites were commanded to give 25% of their livelihood (food and flocks never money) to the storehouse, and yet today Christians only give 10% of their money and say they are right with God.

In addition, the OT Israelites let the poor have the corners of their fields and paid a temple tax.

No, today's Christian is not even close to what was required in the OT.

Anonymous said...

It's right there in everyone's Bible:

Levite's tithe (Leviticus 27:30-33)

Festival tithe (Deuteronomy 14:22-27)

Tithe (every 3 years) for the poor (Deuteronomy 14: 28)

Smaller taxes were also imposed on the people by the law (Leviticus 19:9-10; Exodus 23:10-11)

Anonymous said...

At one mega, I worked with some fundraisers like this. Their take was 20%. We raised over a million and saw them a few times during the campaign.

Most of them were either former pastors or seminary grads who did this for a living. Their proof texting for the campaign was incredible.

Anonymous said...

I bet these guys have a booth at the SBC Pastors conference. :o)

Isn't this what Maurio does?

Anonymous said...

Maurilo....Louis' facebook pal from Nashville.

I wonder if Louis' church used him?

Anonymous said...

It's right there in everyone's Bible:

Levite's tithe (Leviticus 27:30-33)

Festival tithe (Deuteronomy 14:22-27)

Tithe (every 3 years) for the poor (Deuteronomy 14: 28)

Smaller taxes were also imposed on the people by the law (Leviticus 19:9-10; Exodus 23:10-11)

March 29, 2011 5:08 PM

Does anyone know what Mary and Joseph offered as a sacrifice after Jesus was born?

Pidgeons. they were poor.

We must Thank God every day that Jesus Christ fulfilled the law.

The irony is that the "poor" did not tithe in the OC. They did not pay tax and the requirements for sacrifice on them were very low....pidgeons!

Yet we have people here demanding 10%! They teach the LAW for today but don't even know it!

Anonymous said...

I've never been in a church where the "who's who's" were not told to me. No such thing as they are sitting under our nose & we don't know them. Yes we do!

To the Butchered Priest, you need to clean up your language!

Anonymous said...

The mega I attended just used Impact Stewardship to run the campaign to raise funds to help cover our debt from building a new building. I have never liked the hired help approach and then I was really insulted when reading through the Impact web site how they guarantee a certain amount of take or there is refund of some of the fee. That kind of statement is based on predicting human behavior not trusting in God to speak to the members to give generously and to what God shows them to be proper to give to. It is amazing how it is always the members lack of whatever spiritual characteristic instead of God pointing out that maybe since the money wasn't committed the cause is not what the church should be doing at the time.

Katie said...

Anon 5:08,

YES, they paid much more. BUT since it was a THEOCRACY, it wasn't free will giving. It was a TAX. You know, the same kind of thing most of us pay to the DEMOCRACY>

Happy said...

I am so glad I quit going to the modern day church.

I sleep well and Jesus loves me. Not because I go, because I don't go.

If only others would do the same maybe these Pharisees and Tares would enjoy being paying for their piers by themselves.

I do know what I am talking about for all you "judges".

Leave your name and I will do the same - then we can debate My choice to stay away from hypocrites with the modern day church.

Anonymous said...

"That kind of statement is based on predicting human behavior not trusting in God to speak to the members to give generously and to what God shows them to be proper to give to."

According to the consultants, they are acting/speaking for God because they know from studies what human behavior will be to a certain stimulus.

Or how can we know what God is saying unless an Anointed tells us?.

Anonymous said...

The best way to introduce the lost to Jesus is simply one on one witnessing and just saying "come and see". It worked for Andrew in reaching Peter and has worked for me for many, many years. I think it disgraceful to attempt reaching people just for the sake of their wealth. If they ever found that the pastor was up to this they many be lost forever and wind up in Hell. Then their blood would be on the marketer and the pastor in my opinion. Christianity is free not bought for or sold to the highest bidder. Sad commentary on the church of our day.

Lynn said...

My husband says, "Like any other business, it's all about the money."

"high capacity people" is a euphemism for wealthy.

Lynn said...

Anon 5:06,

I think you are correct in your comments. Jesus and reaching the lost IS JUST SPIN. It's the cover. The end goal is getting a bigger, more powerful, wealthy church.

People in the church should simply sit back and observe what their money is being spent on. Then they'll see what the pastor, or actually the congregation values for real.

It's a business, and the leaders know they won't get anywhere waiting on the Holy Spirit to do some magic thing and make things happen. That's why they hire marketing people. Because thru psychology, we've learned a lot about how to make humans do what you want them to do. So they simply apply what's been learned. Nothing to do with any Holy Spirit.

That's why they have music and have the offering at a certain point in the service, etc. It's based on human psychology.

Anonymous said...

This video is really moving! It is awesome to see that we really do take seriously the Spiritual Gift of Giving and that we want to nurture that Gift.
I don't see the problems with this video that others see.
Maybe it is because I am a tither and I love to give to God.
Most of the time, people that don't tithe, hate those of us that do.
That's sad, don' you think?

Jon L. Estes said...

"This video is really moving! It is awesome to see that we really do take seriously the Spiritual Gift of Giving and that we want to nurture that Gift.
I don't see the problems with this video that others see.
Maybe it is because I am a tither and I love to give to God.
Most of the time, people that don't tithe, hate those of us that do.
That's sad, don' you think?"

Good word.

It seems, to me, they are trying to convince themselves that it is OK to not tithe.

Jesus spoke on tithing but that is not good enough for them. Yes, sad it is.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is because I am a tither and I love to give to God.
Most of the time, people that don't tithe, hate those of us that do. That's sad, don' you think?"

I believe Jesus wants his servants to give through love that nourishes his love for us. The tithe spiritual speaking is giving our self to Jesus. Money will interfere with that connection. A good example is FBCJax, need I say more.

Anonymous said...

"This video is really moving! It is awesome to see that we really do take seriously the Spiritual Gift of Giving and that we want to nurture that Gift."

The video is about targeting rich people so that the local mega-church can become more powerful and rich.

How is that different from what the world is looking to do?

Did Jesus target the rich or did he choose 12 ordinary fishermen as his disciples?

"I don't see the problems with this video that others see."

That's because you are blinded by the cares of this world. Refer to Jesus' parable about the sewer of seed.

"Maybe it is because I am a tither and I love to give to God."

Thanks for making my point. The OT Israelites gave 25% (3 tithes). You give 10% and think that you are right with God. Not even close. But even though you have not paid in accordance with OT standards, you are arrogant and use it as a chance to look down on others.

"Most of the time, people that don't tithe, hate those of us that do. That's sad, don' you think?"

What I think is sad is someone who has obviously not learned how to interpret scripture in context and who only listens to his pastor and tradition and is walking in darkness. You are being manipulated and you don't have a clue about it.

Also you are judging the motivations 97% of all church members without knowing them.

Wrong and unbiblical.

Anonymous said...

"Good word."

Good = agree with me and my self-serving interpretation.

"It seems, to me, they are trying to convince themselves that it is OK to not tithe."

It seems to me that you are trying to ignore the fact that the OT Israelites paid 3 tithes not one. And that you are not living up to that standard and pretending that you are. God is not mocked.

"Jesus spoke on tithing but that is not good enough for them. Yes, sad it is."

Jesus also spoke on slavery but it does not mean that he was endorsing it.

As usual Jon, you ignore the context when it benefits you personally.

Jesus was condemning Old Covenant Jewish Pharisees for using the OT tithe to avoid helping their family members.

If you are a hypocritical Jewish Pharisee who doesn't support his family, I suppose that verse applies to you Jon.

Still waiting on answers to how you able to become obese without over-eating and how you are not guilty of touching God's anointed if every Christian is indeed anointed.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is because I am a tither and I love to give to God.

are you really giving to god or a system that seems to enjoy the pleasures of this world and seeks power within the rankes of the assembly. sounds more like iseral assembly with asshur that brought about destruction and death and sorrow and pious leaders etc.

Dee Wartburg said...

Jon

RC commented on this blog about the sacrificial lifestyle that he leads. My guess is that he gives far more than your mandated tithe. But, you seem to convey that so long as one tithes, one is giving sacrificially. You are covered, so to speak.

I prefer another way of thinking. How much should we keep? Everyone needs to assess how they use their money. Those folks also need to assess how the church uses their money.

We, for example, wouldn't give one thin dime to help Brunson build out his offices at FBC Jax. However, we would give money to help some missionary friends or to help out a Christian school or to an inner city ministry.

Jesus always carried the "rule" far deeper than the Pharisees. So what if you haven't committed adultery? If you have looked at another with lust in your heart you have. And, my guess is that you, along with every other male have fallen in this area.

Jesus demands it all. But Jesus knew that we are unable to give it all. He knew we were unable to "go and sin no more." That is why He died on the cross.

I say that your tithe is only a pittance and that true obedience would mean to sell all that you have and follow Him. I think He said that, didn't He? So, why hesitate?

Anonymous said...

I had to turn it off. Couldn't hear the word "capacity" one more time.

Beyond disturbing.

Jon L. Estes said...

"RC commented on this blog about the sacrificial lifestyle that he leads. My guess is that he gives far more than your mandated tithe. But, you seem to convey that so long as one tithes, one is giving sacrificially. You are covered, so to speak."

I hope I have not conveyed that. Malachi 3 not only speaks of the tithe but of our offerings. So the precept would be 10 % +. it is not about being covered it is about trusting God and living out His word.

"I prefer another way of thinking. How much should we keep? Everyone needs to assess how they use their money. Those folks also need to assess how the church uses their money."'

Here is where I conflict with you. No where do we find it is our money. You use it in how folks use their money and how the church uses their money.

How does one keep something that doesn't belong to them. If I took the car in your driveway and said it was mine you would say I was crazy (or at least you ought to). My argument was I needed it to make it through life. You would still think I was crazy. As a matter of fact you would probably call 911 and say someone stole the car out of your driveway. You know what - you would be right.

Jon L. Estes said...

"I say that your tithe is only a pittance and that true obedience would mean to sell all that you have and follow Him. I think He said that, didn't He? So, why hesitate?"

yet, I don't have anything to sell - he owns it all. Now if I took possession of any of it and made it mine, then I ought to sell it.

When Jesus made this statement He was trying to get the man to know he did not have anything to sell. He missed the point, as many do today.

Anonymous said...

Malachi 3 not only speaks of the tithe but of our offerings. So the precept would be 10 % +.

Was Malachi an old testment Jesus that commanded 10% or down you go?

Anonymous said...

yet, I don't have anything to sell - he owns it all. Now if I took possession of any of it and made it mine, then I ought to sell it.

I am sure there is something in your name. Maby your car or house. or meby your SS number.

Anonymous said...

I was raised in a mainline Prebyterian Church in town with lots of community leaders and lots of money. All sweet people.

I became a Christian in my teen years and started attending a Baptist Church that was very large in a rough section of town. The pastor and people there were such a good example to me. There were some very wealthy people there, but there were more lower middle class people and several poor people.

The pastor never catered to the wealthy and always reacted to people the same, regardless of their economic status. That quality was something that my parents and other members of my extended family noticed and appreciated about that church, even though they would not have joined that church.

When we started a church in 1992 one of the things we wanted to do was to acheive that NT example of having a church made up of poor and rich alike, all being treated equally in the sight of God. We took that vision from the Baptist Church that I joined in my teen years.

We would never engage in this sort of thing.

And to someone who asked, we do not use church marketing companies.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Practioner Jon, please look at this an let me know what you thank, respecifully

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7978718758076053201#

Jon L. Estes said...

"Was Malachi an old testment Jesus that commanded 10% or down you go?"

Malachi, the book, is God's word.

Anonymous said...

Malachi, the book, is God's word.

What school did you go to to learn that?

Anonymous said...

Malachi 3 is what some seminary taught you to say when a minister needs money, plain and simple.

Been there, done that, - and heard it too!

Jon L. Estes said...

"Malachi, the book, is God's word.

What school did you go to to learn that?"

Now I understand why you believe the way you do.

Would you like to tell us which other of the 65 remaining books are not God's word?

Anonymous said...

Jon Estes,

Why do you deny Deuteronomy 14:22-27 and Deuteronomy 14:28 by giving only 10% and claiming you have met God's requirement of 3 tithes?

You must be one of those liberal preachers that believes that just because something is in the Old Testament it isn't for today.

Is the book of Leviticus any less a work of God than Malachi?

You can't just ignore scripture because you are too stingy to give God his full 25% as stated in the old covenant.

By your own standard, you are a thief my friend and under God's curse.

Shame on you for condemning others while cheating God out of the additional 15% that he is owed by old testament standards.

Until you are giving 25% minimum, you have zero credibility.

Anonymous said...

A quote in my office still stands:

Christianity began in Jerusalem as a simple set of relationships;

Went to Greece and became a philosophy;

Went to Rome and became an instituation;

Went to Europe and became a culture

Came to America and has become an enterprise.

Anonymous said...

"Was Malachi an old testment Jesus that commanded 10% or down you go?"

Malachi, the book, is God's word.

March 30, 2011 12:47 PM

Jon is playing the preacher card on you guys with silly semantics. We must ask if Malachi is applicable in context to us as "law" to be obeyed in the NC.


Here is Malachi 1...for context:

6“It is you priests who show contempt for my name.

Check out Malachi 2 for MORE context:

1 “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.
3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants[a]; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.

7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.

Sound familiar?

In fact, many "pastors" today behave exactly like this. That is why I am so Thankful that Jesus Christ made it possible for all believers to be "ministers" in the Holy Priesthood. There are no "special people" anymore. And WE are the temple of God. Not a building.

Anonymous said...

yet, I don't have anything to sell - he owns it all. Now if I took possession of any of it and made it mine, then I ought to sell it.

When Jesus made this statement He was trying to get the man to know he did not have anything to sell. He missed the point, as many do today.

March 30, 2011 11:08 AM

Oh, this one is good...very rich...no pun intended. You really love to twist the word. Marketing to the rich these days, Jon?

Anonymous said...

Jon is the poster boy pastor for why everyone MUST be a Berean.

Anonymous said...

You mean that today's preachers are not specially anointed like Jon Estes says?

Oh yeah, that's right, he changed his position on that after someone tried to pin him down on who the modern day prophets and kings are.

But now his interpretation of "Touch Not Thine Anointed" doesn't make any sense while he is claiming that every Christian is anointed.

One error begets another.

WishIhadknown said...

So, Jon, I want to get his right in your opinion God has mandated the oppression of the poor. Because by requiring 10% from everyone regardless of income God makes it easier for the rich to be obedient than it is for the poor. Is that your position?

WishIhadknown said...

Jesus’ speaking on tithing is recorded twice:
Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
Luke 11:42 "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

To get that Jesus mandated tithing from those two verses is like asking Mrs. Lincoln how she liked the play.

Junkster said...

Jon L. Estes said...
Malachi 3 not only speaks of the tithe but of our offerings.


Jon,
Malachi 3 says that they were robbing God in tithes and offerings, and commands them to bring the "whole" (kowl = all or every) tithe. As many have pointed out (and you have conveniently ignored), multiple tithes were commanded in the OT. Which one is it that you give and teach your people to give? Why don't you give or teach others they are required to give all 3?


When Jesus made this statement He was trying to get the man to know he did not have anything to sell. He missed the point, as many do today.

If that's what Jesus meant, then you're right that many people miss the point. But could it be that so many people (including centuries of Bible scholars) understand this verse to be saying something else because yours is the wrong interpretation?

WishIhadknown said...

After watching the video one thing that is for certain is that Willie Sutton got it wrong.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for men that want to Glorify God thru their Giving!

This Video has inspired me to give and to want to be a High Capacity Person.

I am tired of sitting on the sidelines and being a nobody.

I want to give all I have and see the Kingdom come!

Where can I find more material like this?

Thank you for sharing this and I hope that guy comes to my Church!

turnureyesonJC said...

What's so bad about success?

Why is it that when a Pastor wants to ask the wealthy for money that YOU call the Pastor the Anti-Christ?

My Pastor took up a "love offering" this past Sunday to help pave the parking lot. It is awesome to be a part of something like this that will help build the Kingdom of God.

Our Pastor told us that we are going to "Pave the Way" for people to go to Heaven!

Who could be against that???

WishIhadknown said...

"I want to give all I have and see the Kingdom come!"


Then do it! What's stopping you.

WishIhadknown said...

Still trying to figure out how the church is the storehouse. I found this and thought it was interesting:
“Today our church building is typically interpreted as the Old Testament storehouse. If we look at the description of a storehouse, would a church really fit this description? Isn’t a storehouse called a storehouse, because it stores things? For instance in the Old Testament, the Israelites brought the first fruits and tithe to the storehouse, so that it can be stored until it was later distributed. How long does the church hold on to your tithe or offering check for? One day(typically), a week, or a month at the most. The banks biggest customer on Monday mornings is church secretaries depositing the tithe and offering checks from Sunday services. So, really your church doesn’t store your increase, the bank does. Wouldn’t the bank be a better, literal interpretation of what the storehouse was in the Old Testament?
Hmmm, are the wheels turning yet? I usually get the argument, about the church being where our money is distributed to the poor and missions. Well, doesn’t a bank distribute funds as well? No, I don’t think the bank is the storehouse, nor do I think that the church building is the storehouse. The literal interpretation of the storehouse is the kingdom of heaven. “Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven”. It is the place where we store our spiritual and eternal increase (our precious stones and crowns) and it is where we will distribute to Jesus Christ our king and High Priest.”
Guess Priest needs to change his ID to “Idontknoweither.” :)

Anonymous said...

What's so bad about success?

it depends on what you consider success.

Anonymous said...

What's so bad about success?

it depends on what you consider success.

March 30, 2011 11:11 PM

Yep and the abundant life is being filled with the Holy Spirit. Growing in Holiness.

Some of these guys are closer to Osteen than the Word.

Anonymous said...

Giving works!

2 years ago I gave my last $25 to our Church's building campaign. Our Pastor said that the Widow gave her mite and I should give like that too.

I was absolutely broke!

Next day, went to the mailbox and Verizon Wireless mailed me a refund of $50!!!

God doubled my money!

This is Proof...You can't lose with the stuff we use!

Jon L. Estes said...

"Malachi 3 says that they were robbing God in tithes and offerings, and commands them to bring the "whole" (kowl = all or every) tithe. As many have pointed out (and you have conveniently ignored), multiple tithes were commanded in the OT. Which one is it that you give and teach your people to give? Why don't you give or teach others they are required to give all 3?"

You would need to change the word used in Malachi (ma'aser) which means a tenth.

You can twist it any way you want but you can not make it say more then it says without changing it or rewriting greek.

Jon L. Estes said...

"When Jesus made this statement He was trying to get the man to know he did not have anything to sell. He missed the point, as many do today.

If that's what Jesus meant, then you're right that many people miss the point. But could it be that so many people (including centuries of Bible scholars) understand this verse to be saying something else because yours is the wrong interpretation?"

Jesus had no desire for what the rich man had, he wanted the rich man. he wanted this man, as He wants us, to understand:

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

He wanted the rich man to know:

Deut. 10:14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.

I am OK with you thinking my interpretation is wrong. It won't be the first time people have thought that and were wrong themselves.

tikatu said...

"Would you like to tell us which other of the 65 remaining books are not God's word?"

Well, thinking along those same lines, Jon, if tithing - a part of the Law that God gave Israel - is still required of us today, please tell me which of the other 600+ other laws did Christ not fulfill? And please explain why, in Acts 15, the apostles were so against making Jews out of Gentiles.

Anonymous said...

Well, thinking along those same lines, Jon, if tithing - a part of the Law that God gave Israel - is still required of us today, please tell me which of the other 600+ other laws did Christ not fulfill? And please explain why, in Acts 15, the apostles were so against making Jews out of Gentiles.

Jon seems to be a predator and can not attain grace; He must be admitted to the hospital.

Junkster said...

Jon L. Estes said...
You would need to change the word used in Malachi (ma'aser) which means a tenth.

You can twist it any way you want but you can not make it say more then it says without changing it or rewriting greek.


No, Jon, the form in Malachi 3:8 is ha-ma'aser (literally "the tithe") and in 3:9 it is ha-ma'aser kal-'et (literally "every the tithe"). Contextually and linguistically it means all of the tithes, which is why the KJV translates it (correctly) as "tithes" in both verses.

And Malachi was written in Hebrew, not Greek.

So, again, why do you insist that God requires Christians to obey a portion of God's tithing laws for the Jews but not all of it?

Junkster said...

Jon L. Estes said...
I am OK with you thinking my interpretation is wrong. It won't be the first time people have thought that and were wrong themselves.


If your interpretation were right, then the Bible would not be inerrant. At the end of the account, Mark says, "And he was sad at that saying and went away grieved for he had great possessions." That says that the man did possess things, and that he didn't want to give them up for the sake of following Jesus.

If Jesus was trying to teach the man that no one possesses anything (your interpretation), then Mark was mistaken in his understanding of what Jesus was teaching. I believe that Mark was inspired of God to rightly interpret what Jesus meant.

While it ias true that ultimately God possesses everything and not us, that is not what this passage is about. Saying it is requires reading some meaning into the text that just isn't there (eisegesis). Nor is the passage saying that wealth is bad and God expects everyone to sell everything and give it to the poor. The intent of the passage is simply to point out that holding on to the things of this world rather than following Jesus is foolish. No reason to make it any more complicted than that.

Anonymous said...

"I am OK with you thinking my interpretation is wrong. It won't be the first time people have thought that and were wrong themselves."

This statement is disturbing coming from a pastor. It seems to indicate that it is all a matter of opinion. Could be right could be wrong. Who knows?

This attitudes trivializes "showing ourselves approved" and "rightly dividing the word of God."

Of course, it comes in handy when you give ridiculous, self-serving interpretations that you can't defend with scripture.

Anonymous said...

"Malachi 3 says that they were robbing God in tithes"

"Tithes" is plural Jon. So, why are you only paying God one of three tithes commanded in the OT?

Oh, I get it, you are one of those liberal pastors who thinks that just because a command is given in the OT, it is not valid for today.

Since you only obey one of three tithes commanded in the OT, what other commands given in the OT are we supposed to ignore.

God never changes.

Argue it out with Jesus, brother.

Jon L. Estes said...

"It seems to indicate that it is all a matter of opinion. Could be right could be wrong. Who knows?"

Are you one of the anon's who claim those who support pastors like Mac Brunson are mere followers of men? Those who don't accept your interpretation on tithing are mindless pew-sitters? kool-aid drinkers?

Yet you want me to blindly take your position on the things we disagree upon. Why should I follow you?

Your argument will be that your position is biblical, mine is not. I guess we can say your opinion is simply that.

1 Cor. 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Do you ever get tired of trying to find fault with those who are brothers in Christ who see things a bit differently? Yet, each are working hard to be honest with the whole of scripture and not be a stumbling block.

To be open, I am tired of fighting. Nothing I have said is heretical. Nothing you have said is new to the scene.

We differ. If you want to find a time when we are in the same area and have coffee, we both might discover we are more alike than we would admit and actually like each other. I could be wrong, I hope not.

I'm tired of being consumed by aimless tit for tat and will hang around and work hard to only reply to the subject at hand.

This post applies to all anons, whoever you may really be.

Anonymous said...

"Are you one of the anon's who claim those who support pastors like Mac Brunson are mere followers of men? Those who don't accept your interpretation on tithing are mindless pew-sitters? kool-aid drinkers?"

Changing the subject will not help your credibility Jon. I have not stated my opinion on any pastor or "pew-sitter."

You have made a claim and are therefore required to defend it.

Your proof-texting and scripture-twisting (using a dictionary after proclaiming that you don't need a dictionary to understand the word), is insufficient.

Try again.

Anonymous said...

"Yet you want me to blindly take your position on the things we disagree upon. Why should I follow you?"

Straw man argument.

I have given scripture to support my position. Ignoring scripture supporting the other two tithes mentioned in the OT, doesn't make them disappear.

You will need to show why those two tithes are not in effect for today while still maintaining your proclamation that all Old Covenant commands are still in effect today.

Then you will need to show how that harmonizes with scripture in the new covenant that contradicts your teaching on that subject.

Good Luck with that my friend.

Anonymous said...

"Your argument will be that your position is biblical, mine is not. I guess we can say your opinion is simply that."

Circular argument.

Back to my initial claim that you are stating that it is all a matter of opinion. Who knows?

But, of course, that is a self-serving view when you can't support your view with scripture isn't it?

You can easily settle the dispute by showing why two of the tithes in the OT are no longer in effect for today.

Until you can do that Jon, you are wrong by default.

Anonymous said...

"1 Cor. 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying."

This verse, of course, has nothing to do in context with ignoring the clear teaching of scripture (3 tithes in the OT), but it is a great proof-text when you don't want to deal with the truth.

Jon L. Estes said...

Do you ever get tired of trying to find fault with those who are brothers in Christ who see things a bit differently?

I guess not.

JD Grear has a great article in the Biblical Recorder on tithing. I think you would enjoy it but disagree and that's OK.

Anonymous said...

"Do you ever get tired of trying to find fault with those who are brothers in Christ who see things a bit differently?"

You mean like a person who criticizes others for not taking the OT literally when it benefits him (touch not mine anointed, definition of gluttony, tithe still in effect for nc christians) and yet ignores other OT commands that don't benefit him personally (stoning children for disobedience, multitude of sabbath laws, and ignoring 2 or 3 tithes commanded in the oc)?

Yes, I have a problem with hypocrisy.

"Yet, each are working hard to be honest with the whole of scripture and not be a stumbling block."

So, was Paul criticized unbiblical teachings and encouraged the Bereans to test his teachings in light of scripture?

I think I'll stick with Paul's teachings and ignore yours.

Jon L. Estes said...

JD's post on tithing.

http://timbriggshere.posterous.com/tithing-and-giving-jd-greear

Anonymous said...

"I guess not."

Ignoring OT commands while criticizing others for doing the exact same thing is not "looking at things a bit differently" Jon.

It's blasphemy.

You are saying that God didn't say something that he did say when you promote 1 tithe when three are commanded in the OC.

Anonymous said...

"Does God Require Me To Give A Tenth Of All I Own?"

John MacArthur:
http://www.gty.org/Resources/Questions/QA144_Does-God-require-me-to-give-a-tithe-of-all-I-earn?q=tithe

Anonymous said...

"To be open, I am tired of fighting. Nothing I have said is heretical. Nothing you have said is new to the scene."

On the other hand, I never grow tired of defending the Word. The Bible commands us to do just that. It matters not whether we are tired or not.

So, your best argument is that your view is not heretical? That's pretty weak my friend.

You can end the "fighting" quickly by answering the question of why you are ignore 2 of 3 tithes commanded in the OC.

Nothing new? How could asking you why you are ignoring parts of the OC be new?

Red Herring.
Nothing to do with truth.

Anonymous said...

"We differ. If you want to find a time when we are in the same area and have coffee, we both might discover we are more alike than we would admit and actually like each other. I could be wrong, I hope not."

I don't take discussions on the Bible personally. I don't dislike you Jon. I just think you are more interested in tradition than you are the clear teaching of scripture.

If you are not willing to answer my questions in public, why would I suppose that you would be different in private?

Nothing against you.

Just answer the question of why 2 our of 3 tithes practiced in the OT are not for today.

Jon L. Estes said...

Anon -

It is my heart to criticize no more. If I am committing blasphemy I promise it no longer is in my heart to speak harm.

I do not have all the answers on all the tithes. I do have what I believe God has shown me and am glad to stand firm on that until He shows me otherwise.

If my responses do not suffice, I do not know what to tell you. They are my answers.

I discovered today that I am glad we are different. I would not want a world of people like me. It would not be a good place.

Thank you for your love of God's word. I confess I love His word also. I have not yet arrived but my journey, for the most part, has been sweet and blessed. I hope I have not made your journey more difficult or discouraging. If so, I sincerely apologize.

New me...

Anonymous said...

"I'm tired of being consumed by aimless tit for tat and will hang around and work hard to only reply to the subject at hand."

Not sure how asking you to defend your position biblically after making a claim that seems to be contradicted by scripture is "aimless tit for tat."

I was under the impression that all Christians should be able to do that.

If you can't, then you should re-examine your position.

That's what I did. I was once an ardent supporter of the tithe. And to be totally honest, it was because the only thing I knew about it was what my local pastor told me.

It wasn't until I was able to listen to some really great preachers like John MacArthur and J. Vernon McGee that I understood that the model for giving in the NC is free will giving, and that the Israelites paid 3 tithes. It's not logical that we would only pay one of them today.

In other words, I once was where you are now, but I was able to get more information through some great Bible teaching and choose the interpretation that matched most closely with scripture in context.

These teachers were able to answer seeming contradictions (3 tithes in the OC, free will giving taught in the NC).

Until you can do that, I will stick with the answer that matches most closely with scripture.

Anonymous said...

J. Vernon McGee on YouTube.
Is The Tithe For Today?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrWItOyH3fs

Jon L. Estes said...

"These teachers were able to answer seeming contradictions (3 tithes in the OC, free will giving taught in the NC).

Until you can do that, I will stick with the answer that matches most closely with scripture."

I disagree. I do not have to change my belief because these men believe differently than I do. There are two positions on this subject and both have been made from scripture. We disagree and neither your mind or mine is going to change at this time.

There are great men of God who preached the tithe. I can see both sides but I hope I have not attempted to make you change your mind. That is God's job, not mine.

If you need to post more, I'm OK with that but I am finished with this discussion. Nothing personal but it is going nowhere.

Anonymous said...

You can't argue with what God does!

I gave my Church a $5000 vow for our Building campaign.

I just got my tax return back....

$5000 is coming back in my taxes!!

I am just going to sign the Check over to my Church.

If I had not made that vow, I bet I would have owed taxes!

God is good!!!

This stuff works!

WishIhadknown said...

"I just got my tax return back....

$5000 is coming back in my taxes!!

I am just going to sign the Check over to my Church.

If I had not made that vow, I bet I would have owed taxes!"

The only thing that shows is your poor tax planning. If you were managing your finances correctly you would never overpay.

Anonymous said...

"I disagree. I do not have to change my belief because these men believe differently than I do."

Jon, Jon, Jon. This is a straw man argument. No one is saying that you should agree with these men because they believe differently than you do. That's not even logical.

You should agree with these men because:

1) They have a track record of rightly dividing the word of truth and are well-known for doing exhaustive study before coming to a conclusion. It also helps their credibility that they take a position that adversely affects their income.

2) They can answer questions that those who support the tithe can not answer. Why are many modern day proponents of the tithe only teaching one tithe when there were three in the old covenant. And what about the contradiction of teaching a tithe when Paul teaches each one to give what they feel lead to give without compulsion. There is a reason that they have answers and you don't. It's because their view squares with scripture and yours doesn't.

3) One sure way to know that your interpretation is incorrect is when your interpretation contradicts other scriptures in the Bible and you are not able to give an answer for those contradictions.

Anonymous said...

"There are two positions on this subject and both have been made from scripture. We disagree and neither your mind or mine is going to change at this time."

Yes, but only one view leaves the Bible inerrant by not contradicting other scriptures, and is also able to answer other inconsistencies (like two other tithes being disregarded in the OC).

As I stated earlier Jon, I formerly held your view and did in fact change my mind because of the compelling evidence that I was exposed to.

Between the two of us, you are the only one that has shown an unwillingness to change in the face of inconsistencies with scripture.

When given a choice between tradition and a correct hermeneutic, I will go with scripture every time.

Anonymous said...

"There are great men of God who preached the tithe. I can see both sides but I hope I have not attempted to make you change your mind. That is God's job, not mine."

God gave me a good logical mind. He expects me to use it. He tells me to not only love him with my heart but with my mind as well.

God did change my mind (I was a believer in the tithe when I was younger and less informed).

Why would I revert to the view I had before I was better informed?

Think of it from an outsiders point of view. If you knew nothing of giving to God, and one side could answer all of your questions and harmonize their view with all of scripture (OT and NT) and the other couldn't - which way would you go?

Anonymous said...

"If you need to post more, I'm OK with that but I am finished with this discussion. Nothing personal but it is going nowhere."

I disagree. It is going somewhere. Not necessarily with you, but I am quite certain that hundreds of others are reading these comments, and many are reconsidering their traditions in light of scripture as I did.

Anonymous said...

When we pray we are enter into the closet and its only between us and God. Same is true of offerings. They shouldn't be cheapened by filling out cards, marketing groups, and especially telling someone how much one gives. Man tries to glory in his giving which makes it worth zero in the eyes of God. The widow didn't jump up and exclaim I gave it all brothers!!!

Junkster said...

Watchdog,
Here's an interesting article with a different response to criticism than we've seen from many mega-pastors lately:

7 lessons we can learn from critics

31. March 2011
by Thom S. Rainer, Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn.

I really don’t like to be criticized. A criticism can make my entire day gloomy. I have to wonder how someone so thin-skinned ended up in the position where I am today.

Still, when it’s all said and done, I have to say that I have benefited in many ways from criticisms. Indeed, part of my training to be a better leader comes from dealing with critics. Let me share with you seven lessons I have learned from them.

Anonymous said...

"Vasquez, Rachel Sophia" , "Jeffrey Lam" , "AndreasBell" , "KeithHorbatuck" , keith.h.horbatuck@lmco.com, "JamesWalker"




WishIhadknown

The only thing that shows is your poor tax planning. If you were managing your finances correctly you would never overpay.

Wishhadknown, That person was probably taught by one of the most liberal pastor in the SBC Brunson.

Anonymous said...

"There are great men of God who preached the tithe."

Jon, this is only the beginning of your wrong thinking about truth. There are NO great men of God. There are only depraved sinners saved by the same grace as any of us.

This is man worship. They are only messengers and even then, we MUST be Bereans. This thread proves it. The resident "pastor title" gets a lot wrong and uses only strawman/ad hominem arguments.

Anonymous said...

"In other words, I once was where you are now, but I was able to get more information through some great Bible teaching and choose the interpretation that matched most closely with scripture in context."

Anon, do you mean you were a pastor making your living teaching the tithe like Jon does?

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic: An excellent post ... VTM Bottom Line [Paul Burleson] > DISSENSION

Arce said...

I grew up in a home that practiced the (one) tithe and have practiced it most of my life. That is, I strove to give at least 10% of my gross monetary income. I even testified that God gave the Jews the concept of the tithe and the Arabs the mathematics that make it easy for modern Christians to tithe.

(BTW, we Christians should study how some Muslim sects practice giving -- they are more generous with fellow believers that we seem to be.)

As I have matured and worked with poor people and homeless people, some of whom have a faith in Christ that challenges me greatly, I have come to a different understanding. Our call as Christians is to manage everything we are and have, time, talents and money, for the cause of Christ.

It is a hard standard we impose on ourselves by our commitment to the cause of Christ. Under that standard, a tithe is a guideline and may be more or less than we should give. Jesus said to give it all away.

Our modern society calls us away from serving God to "leisure" activities, cable TV on big flat screens, food to rich for our own good health, McMansions, luxury automobiles that consume precious natural resources and pollute the earth we are to care for, travel to exotic places instead of hands on work with the poor in our own area.

Please don't argue about the tithe. But please do not make God into some accountant who keeps notes on how much we put in the plate. IF He does that, all the highly paid mega church preachers will have a lot of 'splaining to do for what they have done with the money, time and talent He entrusted to them to steward.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Arce - thank you for contributing to the blog and telling your testimony of serving the poor and down trodden through your money, and in the other ways that I know that you do. Readers, I know Arce's story and his lifestyle of service to others. What he says is true.

I don't wish to argue the tithe, as I don't think there is anything to argue. The Bible is very clear that the tithe (meaning the 10% "tithe" that is preached today) is not binding on Christians, yet preachers abuse their congregations by threatening them with it. I'm not interested in debating it with Jon Estes or others who defend it. It is indefensible.

In the coming weeks I will show how mega preachers are continuing to be creative in how they misuse scripture to try to convince people to tithe. We'll look at the "generosity campaigns" held at churches as a means to increase revenue using church marketing consultants.

cheezewhizchurch said...

I was hoping to hear more about the whole concept of "generosity consultants" in the comments that followed. The entire materialistic outlook engendered by these experts, consultants, mentors and coaches that riddle the church today should be a huge concern.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Cheezewhiz...it is coming in future posts.

First, tomorrow, is the April Fool's spoof post.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, do you mean you were a pastor making your living teaching the tithe like Jon does?"

No.
Not a pastor.
Don't believe that the tithe is a part of the new covenant. Free will giving is taught in the NT.

Anonymous said...

No.
Not a pastor.
Don't believe that the tithe is a part of the new covenant. Free will giving is taught in the NT.

April 1, 2011 11:36 AM

That is why you were able to see the truth of the teaching about the tithe. It is hard for those making a living off teaching it. It would require huge faith to teach the truth when one is a pastor...Holy Spirit led giving.

Anonymous said...

"Does God Require Me To Give A Tenth Of All I Own?"

John MacArthur:
http://www.gty.org/Resources/Questions/QA144_Does-God-require-me-to-give-a-tithe-of-all-I-earn?q=tithe

Anonymous said...

J. Vernon McGee on YouTube.
Is The Tithe For Today?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrWItOyH3fs

Arce said...

Dog --

Perhaps I was unclear. I was not talking against people like yourself who disagree with the tithe as a requirement, but those who preach that a tithe is necessary to be "good with God" so to speak. Grace and peace to you and your correspondents here.