Q. I don’t belong to a local church because of those I’ve visited, none really preach the word and seem more interested in programs that benefit themselves than helping the poor. Does God really want us to find a local church (even if we don’t believe they’re acting according to Biblical principles) and tithe there? Or can I keep doing what I’m doing, giving and tithing to various ministries as He leads?
A. I don’t see anything in Scripture that either requires us to belong to a Church or tithe to one. Some have interpreted Hebrews 10:25, which says we shouldn’t give up meeting together, as a mandate to attend church. I think it can also be fulfilled through a number of other ways such as small groups, home Bible studies, para-Church involvement, or even participation in on line communities. The Lord certainly would not require us to attend and support a church that isn’t focused in His word.
The intention of Hebrews 10:25 is for believers to give and receive encouragement in order to guard and strengthen our faith. And the purpose of tithing is to demonstrate our gratitude for everything the Lord has given us. How we accomplish these things is up to us, consistent with the counsel of the Holy Spirit.