Help your child understand the purpose of tithing to the local church.

How to Explain Tithing to Children

by Karen Hollowell

The concept and practice of tithing can be difficult to explain to a child. If your child watches as you place money in the collection plate at church, he is probably already asking for explanations. As with many other Biblical teachings, simplicity is the key when talking about giving to the church. You may need to look up scriptures that reference tithing so you can be better prepared when your young one asks. Just don't wait until he is sitting next to you in the pew and wants to know why the man in front of you didn't put any money in the plate!

Offer a child-friendly definition of tithing. Say something like, "Tithing is a way for God's people to help others." Then give practical examples of how the money is spent — paying the pastor's salary, funding outreaches or missions trips, feeding the homeless. Explain that the pastor's job is to lead the people in the church and be there to help them when they call him. If you have a job outside the home, tell your child that the pastor has to get paid just like you do so he can take care of his family, too.

Tell your child why you tithe. Explain that you give money to the church every week or month because you belong to the church, and God is pleased when His people help take care of His house. Make it clear that there are no rules to make you tithe or tell you what amount to give. Compare tithing to giving gifts at Christmas time, a time when gift-giving is an expression of love for each other, not a requirement.

Demonstrate how you tithe. Show your child the envelope most churches provide to place your money or check in. Point out the lines where you write your name. During the worship service, when the offering is being collected, let your child put the envelope in the plate. This simple task makes a child feel like a part of the congregation because he's getting to do a 'grown-up' thing.

Explain to your child how he can participate in tithing. A 4- or 5-year-old should be able to understand what an allowance is and and what it's used for. Begin giving him a small amount each week. Begin with $1 in quarters. Set up three jars or envelopes and label them "Keep", "Save" and "Tithe." Let your child keep two quarters, save one, and tithe one. Although this is a larger amount than the typical 10 percent, it doesn't matter. Young children won't understand percentages, and there is no set rule that tithes have to be a certain amount anyway.

About the Author

Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.

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