The Door-Step Evangel

What Truly is a Love Offering?
Dr. Erich McCandless

Most of us are aware of the missionary and other "special" speakers through our churches to whom we give traditional "love" offerings. But are these offerings really "love" offerings, or does our "love" offering term need re-explained?

Most church missions treasurers and pastors are now aware that the I.R.S. here in the U.S. has requested (demanded) that churches send them the social security numbers of all to whom they give above a certain sum. We've realized by now that this is to check social security numbers to see if all offerings are recorded as salary and taxes paid.

But, we've asked, are all these offerings personal salary for these speakers? No, it's not. Most is used for expenses, or in the case of monthly support of missionaries on the field, most constitutes "work fund" monies. Now why should they pay taxes on monies not salary? Therefore, we've seen a move away from writing mission support checks directly to a missionary. Now, we generally write them to a ministry such as in our case here E.B.T. (Empire Baptist Temple) Australia Expense. We then determine the amount our missionary should designate to their "salary," or as we call it family care. The rest is work fund, or expense of the work monies.

Now to our original thought question: What really is a "love" offering? When we have special guest speakers including missionaries and we give them the traditional "love" offering, is it an income gift, a salary, or an expense offering? In most cases it would be an expense offering. Most missionaries must spend all they receive on the road just to live, travel, etc. Hence, the expense of getting to our church. Several things are necessary which would not be if it were not for the deputation/furlough. These are expenses and should be thought of as such. We should promote in our churches the idea of "expense offerings" rather than "love" offerings. Pastors and church folks need to see, or think this difference. Most look on a love offering as a gratuitous or gift offering, something above and beyond, an "honor" gift, when in fact it often does not even meet expenses, neither for the missionary nor for the special guest speaker.

I'm suggesting we consider "expense offerings" rather than "love" offerings. Title change only as a thinking change.

The Door-Step Evangel is published in the interests of Evangelism and information as a Church paper, sincerely devoted to the cause of Jesus Christ. We are in favor of everything that is right and opposed to everything that is wrong.

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