Texas Megachurch Promises 100 Percent Refund in Tithe Challenge if 'God Doesn't Hold True to His Promise of Blessings'
US Protestant Churches Implement Giving Campaign Annually to Encourage Members to Tithe Regularly
Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, led by Pastor Ed Young, has launched a 90-Day Challenge, encouraging members of the multi-campus megachurch to put God to the test by "bringing (their) tithes and offerings to the House."
"Each of us has a unique opportunity to be a part of the incredible life change happening around us at Fellowship Church by bringing our tithes and offerings to the House," reads a description of the 90-Day Challenge. "If you are not tithing already, the 90-Day Challenge is the best place to start. We commit to you that if you tithe for 90 days and God doesn't hold true to his promise of blessings, we will refund 100 percent of your tithe."
The campaign, tied to a sermon series titled, "The Tipping Point," references Malachi 3:10 in the New Living Translation: "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,' says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, 'I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!'"
The first part of "The Tipping Point" sermon series was presented by guest preacher Brad White on the weekend of June 7. White is the senior pastor of LifePoint Church in Tampa, Florida, and also a board member at Fellowship Church.
"In this series that Pastor Ed Young has called 'The most provocative series of the year,' we'll learn just what it takes to reach the tipping point in the life God has given us. And we'll discover how one small change in our lives can cause unbelievable momentum that lasts forever!" it states on fellowshipchurch.org.
In his sermon titled, "First Things First," Pastor White preached about finding financial freedom in God's protection and provision by putting God first in every area of one's life. Watch White's "First Things First" sermon online at fellowshipchurch.com.
90-Day Tithing Challenge Very Common
Fellowship Church is among numerous U.S. congregations that launch a 90-Day Challenge every year to encourage members who have not tithed regularly for the past six months or who do not tithe at all to contribute 10 percent of their income to their local church.
A Google search of "90 day challenge" reveals several U.S. congregations' terms and conditions for the tithing campaign, many of them similar and all of them guaranteeing a 100 percent refund for unsatisfied participants who do not experience God's faithfulness.
The Rock Church, a multi-campus megachurch in California led by Pastor Miles McPherson states on its website that the 90-Day Tithe Challenge is "designed to encourage you to trust God with your finances."
"I think you will be amazed to discover how much better you will live on 90 percent of your income with your faith in the Lord versus 100 percent of your income and just your own strength. When we bring our first and best to God, He promises to bless the rest," the campaign website continues. The Rock Church welcomes more than 16,000 worshippers every Sunday in-person or online.
Another church, Laurel Ridge Community Church in Oakley, California, required participants of its 2013 tithe challenge to agree that: "I understand that my request for a refund can only be made 90 to 120 days after my first tithe payment." It also states in the six-point agreement that "any request for refund must be made in writing and received by the Laurel Ridge Church office and/or lead pastor within 30 days of the end of the 90-Day Tithe Challenge."
Pastor Perry Noble's NewSpring Church also carries out a 90-Day Challenge, and Pastor Noble explains in the video below why he challenges members to participate in the tithing campaign.
J. Clif Christopher, a certified church growth consultant and Certified Fund Raising Executive, suggests in a 2011 ministrymatters.com article that there are three important factors in churches making the 90-Day Challenge successful, primary of which is that "the pastor must tithe and very specifically testify to it." Christopher also suggests that "the emphasis must be on the spiritual benefit and never the monetary benefit to the church."
"Following this you can have a 90-day Bible reading challenge or a 90-day worship attendance challenge or a 90-day devotional or prayer challenge. Perhaps all will lead to life‐long change and the making of disciples," he adds.
Although the Old Testament describes a requirement of multiple tithes equaling about 23 percent, Protestant leaders in the U.S. commonly call for members to contribute a single tithe, or one-tenth of their income to enable local churches to meet financial burdens, pay their staff and provide outreach to their communities.
While some Christians point to New Testament accounts of believers being encouraged to give financially to support the ministry and their faith communities, there are others who remain skeptical of the modern-day church because they view it as compulsory or legalistic giving that is open to abuse.
According to the annual "State of the Plate" survey, there are about 10 million tithers in the U.S. that donate more than $50 billion annually to religious and charitable causes, with 97 percent prioritizing giving to their local church.
Below is a collection of videos of church leaders commenting on the 90-Day Challenge.