Money’s ubiquitous nature can throw its impor- tance out of balance. Too often the figures that we use to assign value to our work and time
come to represent our personal worth as well.
I’ve found that tithing—taking a set percentage of my
income “off the top” for God’s work in the world—helps me
keep money’s power in balance. Deciding that the first chunk
is God’s, and the second chunk goes to support the wider
community through income taxes, helps me remember that
my life is lived in communion with God and with my neighbours. For me, it’s a pretty intense spiritual practice.
Many ministers find it difficult to talk with their congregations about money. We’re not sure where to start. Tithing
makes it easier for me to talk with others about how money
can act both to free and to bind us, and how the decisions
we make around money show what we prioritize in our lives.
I find that it’s most effective to introduce the idea of tithing
to one person at a time. When someone asks me about where
the money comes from to support the church, or how much
they should give as a member, I talk about my experience
Dunbar Ryerson United has an introduction program for
people who are new to the congregation. One component
invites them to look at the way they use and value money
in their lives, and to consider setting aside a
percentage of their net income for action they
believe lives out God’s call. We’re starting to
build that conversation into our ongoing stewardship pro-
gram. We ask people to consider the work of the congrega-
tion and the work of Mission & Service in their tithe. We also
invite participants to remember that other work in the world
lives into God’s hope for a healthy and whole creation.
The discussions are in the early stages but I do know a few
people in the congregation who have taken on the practice
of tithing because I hear them talking about it. They find it
a freeing spiritual practice, and one that they are inviting
others close to them to consider. God only knows where it’s
going to end up.
The Rev. Richard Bott is the Congregational Development
minister at Dunbar Ryerson United Church in Vancouver.
DUNBAR RYERSON UNITED, VANCOUVER
• Location: an urban congregation; Dunbar
Heights and Ryerson United amalgamated
on January 1, 2017.
• Approximately 210 members.
• The people of Dunbar Heights and Ryerson
United gave $57,570 to Mission & Service
“The decisions we make
around money show what
we prioritize in our lives.”
A balanced life includes tithing
An invitation to give By Richard Bott