I’ve heard plenty of sermons on giving. They tend to focus on the importance of giving, the reason for giving and even how much we should give, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone preach on how we should give. Probably because these sermons tend to come up around the same time giving campaigns at churches and it’s implied you should just write a check to the church. While that is certainly a good thing to do, I can’t help but think the advice is a little biased. Should we give 100% of our offerings to our local church alone? I tried to find instructions in the Bible, particularly the New Testament on how and where we should give. In the Old Testament the standard was a tithe (10%) along with other offerings. Most Christians believe we’re no longer bound by this requirement of the law and we’re free to give what we choose. However, it seems this freedom is used as a license to give less far more often than a license to give more. I still think 10% is a good guideline to follow, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t believe there are any New Testament passages on how much we should give. In fact, I could only find four instructions on how to give: Support You Ministers - In 1 Timothy 5:17-18 and 1 Corinthians 9:4-14 we’re plainly told that those who preach the Gospel should be supported by those who benefit from it. I think there’s little doubt that we need to give to our local churches and anywhere else where we regularly benefit from others preaching the gospel. Support Missionaries - While we know that Paul was a tent maker and chose to work for a living in addition to preaching the Gospel so not to be a burden on those he preached to (2 Thessalonians 3:8) he also clearly accepted support from believers of existing churches to help support him when going out to minister to new people: Romans 15:24, 1 Corinthians 16:6 and 2 Corinthians 1:16. Provide for the Poor - Matthew 25:34-40, Luke 3:11 and James 2:15-16 are all great examples where we are told that we should provide for those in need. I think few would argue otherwise. Give Cheerfully - God is always concerned with our motives and the reason why we do things is just as important if not more so that what we do. As 2 Corinthians 9:7 states we are to give cheerfully, not reluctantly or under compulsion. Beyond those requirements I believe we are free to decide the best way to be a good steward of the resources God has entrusted us with. I know at most churches a percentage of the offering collected goes to support missionaries and provide for the poor. I’ll cover this more in another post, but in the early church it appears these three different areas of giving were separate. Do you believe it is best to give our entire offering to our local church or give separately in each of these areas? Is it wrong to deprive your local church of resources that would otherwise go to it in order to support outside ministries and charities? Are there other instructions on giving that I missed?