Tithing is a religious practice in which believers donate 10 percent of earned income to a church and/or religious organization. Tithing is most commonly associated with Christian doctrine and collected during weekly services. Amish plainclothes communities rooted in German Anabaptist traditions do not practice a traditional form of tithing. Instead, they donate as financial needs arise within their communities.
Amish church congregations do not practice a traditional weekly offering during church services. Most Catholic and Protestant Christian churches conduct an offering at the end of each service. Volunteers pass a plate around the worship hall, and each congregant deposits a portion of his tithe in the plate. The Amish believe that such open displays of giving are ostentatious and showy, encouraging self-aggrandizement and boastfulness. They teach that giving should operate quietly or in secret without seeking personal recognition.
Many Christian churches encourage members to donate a set monthly tithe by check or direct bank withdrawal. The Amish do not engage in such a rigid method of collecting money. They believe monthly payments impede more generous and spontaneous giving, which congregants can tailor to individual needs and circumstances.
The Amish do not conduct building campaign drives or money-raising festivals as other churches might. They keep church expenses low, partly by meeting in the homes of individual members. They select Amish clergy from male members of their individual communities. A man chosen for the Amish clergy usually earns a living as a farmer because he is not paid for pastoral work.
The Amish encourage members to give generously to others in their communities as each need arises. They believe that this kind of giving is reminiscent of how early Christians helped each other. Amish giving often exceeds the 10 percent tithe. It also provides a reprieve from giving for families experiencing financial difficulties. As needed, Amish communities pool resources to provide for healthcare, sustenance and other needs for individual families.
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