Perhaps the biggest dichotomy in the Christian religion is how the church obsesses more about collecting money for their corporate entities than it does about discipleship and personal relationships with its parishioners. And most ironic in this is that the very savior whom they claim to follow spoke out against the love of money, and on the topic of money, more than any other subject in the New Testament other than the Kingdom of God (The Gospel).
Many people have watched a televangelist, or heard some Christian leader on the radio and felt obliged or led to make a donation to support that ministry. However, this often comes with a caveat, such as the requirement to fill out personal information cards, which then leads to these ‘ministries’ sending out donation requests to your homes for the next two years or more.
Religion today is big business, with nearly all denominations and church incorporated through the government to receive a tax exempt 501(c)3 status. And with emerging technology allowing for people to be able to pay for things such as charitable giving with their Smartphones, the new money changers in the temple are run not by men, but by software applications.
Although churches are saying a collective hallelujah that a new generation of devotees is filling pews, a youthful congregation has its limitations. Twentysomethings might find religion, but not a lot of them have found that six-figure job. They don’t carry cash—and what, exactly, is a personal check? Still, about a quarter of them use mobile payment apps such as PayPal and Venmo regularly, according to a recent Accenture survey. And enormously popular services such as Seamless, Uber, and Amazon.com have normalized one-tap payments—91 percent of millennials use their phone to buy something at least once a month, market-research firm Statista says.
Tithe.ly is one of a handful of apps leveraging that spending behavior for the good of the church. Pushpay, which about 3,000 congregations employ, works similarly; worshipers decide whether to donate to a general budget or a specific program the institution designates. Another, EasyTithe, features a text-to-give option. It also provides technology for a Square-like credit card reader to await the faithful in church lobbies. Regardless of which app a congregation chooses, the point is convenience. “We call it frictionless giving,” says Dean Sweetman, Tithe.ly’s co-founder and a former minister at C3 Atlanta. He designed the app with C3’s wallet-light clientele in mind: “We see people giving all times of day and night. Nothing stands in the way.” – Yahoo Finance
Churches in the U.S. alone take in hundreds of billions of dollars each year, with additional perks such as not having to pay Federal, State, and Property taxes as part of the deal. And with the average salary for a Pastor being around $89,000 per year, with some who run mega-churches receiving salaries of $250,000, today’s Pastor is more like a CEO than he/she is an anointed of God.
Sadly, those who attend churches rarely discover that scripturally, an anointing as a minister of Christ requires no asking of money from other believers, nor a tithing program that was only relevant in the Old Testament where God ordered the people to provide for the Levites who’s sole purpose was the administration and upkeep up the temple. Instead under the New Covenant the scriptures openly say that God Himself is to be the provider, and for any purpose that he appoints someone to, if they remain in obedience to that purpose, then all necessary sustenance will manifest from Him. In fact, you will never once see a Disciple or Apostle in the bible ask anyone for money, and instead trust that God will manifest it according to His Will when it is needed.
From the time of Christianity’s (the religion) birth out of Rome in 325 A.D., the church system that evolved from there has always relied upon men to give and build its coffers, even to the point of threats which included violence, excommunication, and being ostracized. And as the church morphed into its ultimate construct as a corporate entity during the 20th century, this new chapter of money collection has entered the digital age, where personal requests for money are no longer necessary when there’s an App for that.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for Secretsofthefed.com, Examiner.com, Roguemoney.net, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.