SAN ANTONIO, TX – Have you ever seen your church's income figures and casually estimated how much each attendee would have to tithe to reach the total? Have you ever looked around during a Sunday morning service and wondered who specifically is giving how much? Well in a time when privacy is regarded as highly as autonomy, Pastor Regan Miller of First Baptist Church in New Braunfels decided it is time to urge his congregation into a deeper level of financial accountability. For six weeks now, First Baptist's pre-service PowerPoint announcements include a chart with each member's tithe amount from the prior week.
This story from my personal story is too true, unfortunately:
As far back as I can remember, Chicago UBF has maintained a publicly viewable offering chart on a wall of the Chicago UBF church building. On this chart are written the names of all Chicago UBF members who offer a monthly tithe, the so-called "World Mission Offering," which is compulsory for all "committed" members of the group. This chart tracks each person's tithing month-by-month. Therefore, if someone fails to tithe for a given month, no matter what the reason, a blank space is there on the chart for all to see. If someone offers less than their normal amount for a month, no matter what the reason, a partially blank space is there on the chart for all to see. [Not only is it reflected on the chart, but the person who offers less than their usual amount will be pressured and guilted and sometimes publically berated for it.]
At least the fictional church in San Antone has the fictional integrity to disclose to its fictional members how much money they take in.