INDIANAPOLIS--One of the most visible changes in the procedures of the United Church of God involves tithes and offerings. Dennis Luker, a member of the transitional board of the UCG, explained the new policies to delegates at the general conference here May 1.
The big change: Church members will send their tithes to their local church instead of to the home office.
Mr. Luker called the policy a "recommendation" of the organizers of the UCG and the board of directors, although anyone would still be free to send donations to the home office.
At the time of the next general conference, the policy on offerings, which he then explained more fully, "can be revaluated."
A doctrinal statement will eventually be developed on tithing, but "I think all will agree that it [tithing] is a biblical way of financing God's work," Mr. Luker said.
The recommendation of the UCG is that tithes be collected locally at the congregation, although not during church services, then sent to a bank account set up in the area by the local church opened for that purpose.
Director Ray Wooten explained more details in another address the next day.
Mr. Luker said the recommendation is that "all local church expenses be paid from these tithes and offerings, then the rest be sent to the home office."
He digressed for a moment to note that "our headquarters is going to be called the home office. Isn't that a warm, friendly term?"