Original Research: HTS Historical Thought and Source Interpretation

Beyond tithes and offerings: Revolutionising the economics of Pentecostal churches in Zimbabwe

Kimion Tagwirei
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 4 | a7211 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i4.7211 | © 2022 Kimion Tagwirei | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 November 2021 | Published: 29 June 2022

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Kimion Tagwirei, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

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The Zimbabwean economic crisis has exposed the unsustainability of traditional sources of Church finances. Churches that depend on tithes, freewill offerings and donations have been facing incapacitation, a disturbing predicament that has been further worsened by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the context of abject poverty and perennial price hikes of basic commodities. While attention has been given to the exploitative commercialisation of the gospel by charismatic churches, scholarship on the economics of classical Pentecostal churches is scanty. Observing fluctuating, unsustainable and unreliable incomes, this study explored the vulnerability of operating without diversified revenue and fundamentality of economising ecclesiology. Applying a theonomic reciprocity concept and using a literature-based approach, this article overviewed the nexus between ecclesiology and economics, reviewed and problematised traditional sources of ecclesial finances. Resultantly, it proposed diversification of revenue through business, interrogated problems and panaceas of doing business as churches. Conclusively, the study argued that when churches establish investments, they will not only sustain themselves, but also missionise their businesses and advance the gospel in the marketplace, hence the rationality of revolutionising their economics.

Contribution: This article debunks the interplay of ecclesiology and economics by reviewing contextual realities and financial sources of classical Pentecostal churches in Zimbabwe. It calls for scholarly and clerical attention to a theology of stewardship and investment towards economic sustainability, effective operationalisation and realisation of missio Ecclesiae in volatile contexts.


tithes; offerings; stewardship; economics; sustainability; investment


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