Bible Question:

My pastor cannot preach a sermon without bringing up tithing and attendance. I believe that it's the church's job to care for the poor following the example in Acts, and I do give; but this has gotten to be a real spirit killer and it's affecting my ability to pay my own bills. We are a very small congregation with only a handful of members. We are for the most part either elderly, disabled and low-income with barely enough to meet our own needs. The pastor brings up Hebrews 10:25 at nearly every service as well, which I feel is a misuse of “forsaking” as that means to abandon or leave (as in altogether). I was going to all the services plus Bible study and happened to miss three Wednesday evenings due to exhaustion during the weeks following my brother's melanoma treatments and returned to a sermon once again that included the attendance issue. I want to attend church. I want to serve the Lord. I don't want to lose what zeal I have left after nearly a year of this kind of thing.

Bible Answer:

The priority of the pastor is to teach the Bible, period. We would encourage you to read the articles “Thoughts On Selecting A Pastor.” Both articles address the issue of a pastor’s priority responsibilities. Church attendance will usually not be an issue when a pastor or teacher fulfills his responsibility with excellence. This does not mean that God will increase the attendance of the church or the size of a Bible study. That is God’ decision. The success of a ministry also depends upon the godliness of the leadership. When a church starts struggling with money issues, it usually indicates that either 1) the church leadership is spending more than God wants to provide, 2) there is sin in the leadership or 3) God’s pattern for the church is being violated. We would encourage you to read “Recovering the Pattern of Biblical Leadership,” “Marks of Spiritual Maturity” and “Sinning Pastors/Leaders: What to Do?

Conclusion:

It would appear that your pastor is concerned about attendance and the financial health of the church. Therefore, he is applying pressure to those in attendance. Instead, he should look to God and ask for guidance and direction. People will attend and give when they feel that there is good reason to do so. When the church leadership takes care of the depth of its ministry, is a godly example, and ensures that its ministries are biblical, then God will take care of the breadth of the ministry.

Reference Links:

Thoughts On Selecting A Pastor
A Call: Teach The Bible
Sinning Pastors/Leaders: What to Do?
Marks of Spiritual Maturity
Recovering the Pattern of Biblical Leadership