Tithes create bonds across borders




A home in the Charlotte Model Community, which Habitat El Salvador started developing in June 2007

Read more inspiring examples of tithe relationships in Habitat World. 

By Bert Green, Habitat for Humanity Charlotte’s strategic initiatives director

We recently celebrated two milestones at Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte, North Carolina: Our tithe donations topped $3 million, and the number of houses built overseas using those donations crossed the 1,000-mark.

Based on the Biblical precedent of giving 10 percent of one’s first fruits to God, Habitat affiliates are encouraged to send 10 percent of their local fundraising dollars to a sister Habitat organization in another country to help build homes there. We started tithing in 1987. In 1992, Habitat for Humanity International established a new national organization in El Salvador and asked if we would direct our tithe there.

We have been tithing consistently to El Salvador for 20 years. One problem there is that many families don’t have the income to buy land. In light of that, we decided to purchase a large parcel of land and build the Charlotte Model Community, providing about 60 houses for grateful families who had been in cramped and challenging conditions.

I used to think it was better for me to write a check than to spend money to fly to El Salvador. But until I went down there, until I saw the community and worked side by side with the local people digging footings, I didn’t see the power of the work being done. Folks who volunteer there come back with a different perspective on the importance of our ministry and of their own lives and blessings.

The secret of our success is that we encourage people from Charlotte — our staff, donors, homeowners, volunteers, churches — to go to El Salvador and work alongside the local people. We have also encouraged other affiliates who don’t have a tithe partner to come with us and experience what we experience.

As a result of these working excursions, our tithes — and the enthusiasm for the work in El Salvador — have grown steadily year after year.