9Marks recently received the following question:
"I have grown up in a church culture where giving is always secret. Perhaps a trustee, treasurer, deacon or two know the giving of each family (someone prepares the tax receipts), but the pastors of the church remain in blissful ignorance. The reasons for this range from official policy to the pastor's desire to avoid favoritism (James 2:1-13).
But is this practice biblical? Jesus teaches on money and giving more than any other topic except the Kingdom of God. Giving is such an important spiritual thermometer (Matthew 6:21, Matthew 19:16-26). And Jesus taught on the topic as he watched the widow give all that she had--her very life--at the temple (Mark 8:41-44).
When it comes to shepherding, it seems perilous to neglect one of the most important evidences of spiritual fruit, or lack thereof. How should the elders of the church handle this sensitive subject? What are the biblical and pragmatic reasons for and against pastoral oversight of the offering plate?"
Here are a few thoughts. (Any other 9Marks bloggers are more than welcome to weigh in.)