Generosity Gap: Christians and Pastors Tithe and Tip for Different Reasons

Generosity Gap: Christians and Pastors Tithe and Tip for Different Reasons

Survey identifies the main motivations for giving money.

The most common reason Christians feel called to give generously is to reflect God’s character to others—a motivation that impacts everything from tithing to tipping.

Evangelical leaders, on average, say they tip a solid 20 percent, according to a survey released earlier this summer by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). A majority of NAE board members—which include leaders of denominations, ministries, and Christian colleges—will adjust their tip depending on service, with some giving servers higher tips for good service and others adding more when service was slow.

Especially with the skewed perceptions of Christians as bad tippers, “tipping is an opportunity to minister,” said Jim Tolle, pastor of El Camino Metro Church in Los Angeles. “Since life is difficult for so many—especially in the food service industry—I try to be as generous as I am able to be.”

Pastors like Tolle have a different approach to generosity than the average Christian, Barna Research found in a new report on The Generosity Gap.

Pastors most often see generosity as an attitude (38%) and a response to Christ’s love (47%). A fair share of Christians agree, but they tend to view circumstances as a major factor in driving generosity, with 40 percent saying compassion is the primary force behind their giving.

American Christians are five times more likely than their pastors to consider generosity as spur-of-the-moment and as driven by duty, Barna reported.

More than any other generation, 45 percent of millennials believe that generosity is always or often spur-of-the-moment, compared to 20 percent of pastors, according to Barna. Similarly, a recent survey by the Evangelical Council …

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