Relational Tithe


Relational Tithe was founded by Shane Claiborne and Darin Peterson. The vision is to have a place on the web where people can be involved in meeting the needs of others. Users post their needs, which include everything from travel expenses, rent or auto repairs. Members of the site then have an opportunity to give financially to those in need through the site.

In theory I love this concept. In the past, when we were without a local church body, we have adopted the same principles of tithing. We would set aside our tithe and wait for the Lord to present us with an opportunity to bless someone through our giving. We felt like we were actually living out what the church was intended to be whenever we helped someone cover their rent, or go on a missions trip, or fund their music ministry, etc.

We always found it to be a far more fulfillling method of “tithing” then simply scratching a check and putting it into the collection plate religiously each week.

So I thought we could talk about this a little bit. First the pros (which are obvious) and cons (which I have found of a few) of the website. Also, the idea of a “relational tithe” in general. Is it a more accurate model of what the church did in Acts? Why don’t we see more bodies of believers going in this direction today?

5 thoughts on “Relational Tithe

  1. well…
    if we want to get technical about how the early church operated, we’d find ourselves giving WAY more than 10%.

    we’d also find ourselves in “church” about 5-6 days a week.
    we’d be “religously” praying and studying our bibles.

    we’d also be speaking in tongues, praying for the sick with an expectation of healing and witnessing miracles. (that’s my charismatic appeal to the masses)

    also, we’d be excommunicating sinning believers who refused to repent.
    Good times!

    The Jews had a cool system in place:
    one of the things you were expected to do was “tithe” to the local temple for the poor. This was not THE tithe, it was an additional tithe set aside for the poor of that community.
    Many historians believe that the early church was following this model, while giving more to special offerings for other churches (see 2nd cor 8-9)

  2. what we very often forget when reading about the church in acts is the context in which that church existed. the religion of judiaism. and how much of their culture was religion (weather jew or christian), and how that affected what the church looked like, for better or worse.

  3. The one “con” I find with the Relational Tithe website, is that it’s not actually relational. There is a missing component that is, in my opinion, crucial to the very idea of tithing “relationally.”

    While taking care of each others needs is a noble venture, there is a community component that is likely missing when we send relatively anonymous people money via the internet. Am I alone on this?

    if we want to get technical about how the early church operated, we’d find ourselves giving WAY more than 10%.

    Fine by me. Depending on what it’s actually going toward.

    Stem, as our resident senior pastor I’d like to get your take on this question…

    Pointing out that Cheryl and I have already adopted a “relational tithe” approach in the past, I was wondering what your take on it might be. If a couple – in lieu of being part of a traditional church body – were faithfully setting aside their tithe, and doing their best to listen and watch for the Lord regarding where, when and how much to give – and to whom. Do you feel this method of tithing should be considered valid? Does it grate against Scripture in any way?

    Is it just counter-cultural? Or should it be considered unbiblical?

  4. my take is to not forsake the assembling of yourselves together 🙂

    i understand that there are a lot of things about your personal situation that i don’t understand. but i do hope (and pray) that you are actively seeking to become involved in a local body. it’s very hard to replace corporate worship…teaching….accountability.

    scripturally, we are to “bring the tithe into the storehouse” (prov. 3) the storehouse was of course the temple and then later the church.

    speacking of which, the early church had folks in charge of the “distribution”…but everyone gave to the church itself. individuals weren’t in charge of where the $ went…unless they just gave it on their own, which we ARE encouraged to do.

    since you are not currently attending a church, i think what you’re doing is within the spirit of scriptural tithing.
    you should find a starving church planter and give him about 6 months worth….i can’t tell you what that would have meant to me and my wife back in the day.

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