Church rebate offer

I'm an ex-Christian will a story that you may have never heard before.

After 16 years of being an ex-Christian, I decided to see if I could get a refund on the money that I tithed to the church over the eight years that I was a believer. My years in the faith were divided between two different fellowships. I contacted my last pastor, and requested a refund of the money that I donated. He agreed to a refund and I am currently receiving a monthly check from them.

Even if you don't have documentation (I didn't either) of your giving, you might be able to get your money back.....I did, and let me tell you...it is so sweet!!

How did I do it?

First here is a short testimony:

I got 'saved' back in 1981. I attended a non-denominational church for about five years. I then left that fellowship and began attendance at Calvary Chapel. I became the worship/music minister. After three years I left the church. This was around 1989.

My experience with leaving the church is pretty typical. I was burned out on spending all my time and effort dealing with the music ministry. I left the church on very good terms with the pastor.

In the years that followed my leaving, I read and researched for answers to all the questions that had troubled me during my service to gods kingdom. I did not trust my pastor or fellow Christians to give me straight answers to my questions. After years of independent research, I now consider myself to be an atheist.

In my reflection on the years I spent in the ministry, I realized that I could never get back the time that I had invested. But maybe I could, at least receive back some of the money I had given.

I believed that whenever I put my tithe in the offering box, I was giving back to god. It was already 'his money'. I believed that the matter was totally between me and god. The church was simply the 'bagman' for my contribution.

Since my de-conversion, I now understand that I was psychologically manipulated into handing over ten percent of my income to the church. The pastor preaches about giving in such a way that if you don't give according to his scriptural interpretation, you are not a REAL Christian. This made me think: If I'm giving money to the church for the work of god, then it is a transaction strictly between myself and god. So....if I change my mind, and want my money back, the church should honor my request in the same way that they honored my contribution. It made sense to me.

I then contacted (via email) my ex-pastor and POLITELY requested a refund of all the money I had donated to the church in the time that I had been attending there. He admitted that he found the request unusual, but was willing to honor my wish.

Then it got down to business: Did I have any documentation of my contributions? Not really..... It had been over 16 years since my attendance at the fellowship, and I had not kept any records going back that far. Either had the church. The IRS could have given me documentation of my charitable donations for the years in question, but they would only show that donations had been claimed. The IRS docs would not show an itemization of who received the contribution. No help there. The bank account on which I wrote the checks had been closed and the branch was no longer in business.

It came down to this: My appeal was directly to my ex-pastor. He knew that I was completely dedicated (spiritually and financially) to the ministry while at the fellowship. He knew that I was trustworthy. Because we had such a close and friendly relationship during my years at the church, he simply put me in communication with the church accountant. The accountant and I negotiated an estimate of what my contributions probably amounted to, and we arrived at a dollar figure. They now are making monthly payments and I pinch myself every time the check arrives.

If this all sound too simple and unreal, understand this....For the sake of time, I have left out MANY details of the story. The only thing that I will add to this introduction, is the fact that all my correspondence with the pastor, secretary, and accountant was always pleasant, respectful, and to the point. At no time was I ever threatening or critical. I never discussed my personal spiritual opinions. I requested (not demanded) a refund of any amount that they would feel to be fair. My goal was to see if they believed what they had taught from the pulpit. Luckily for me, it appears they do.

I would suggest that before you begin a similar project, that you get all the information available in regards to your particular churches' policies on the subject of donations.

.....GOOD LUCK!!

Billy Braun

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't be shy, come back and tell us the details.

Anonymous said...

Oh, do tell, post it here!!
Naomi

Tim Simmons said...

Yeah, he'll post the details - as soon as he makes them up out of whole cloth. C'mon, this is no different than the "send this email to all of your friends and Bill Gates will send you $xx.xx"

What church is going to refund even IF you had proof of each tithe? There's no way this is happening.

Tim

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how much money I gave to one church. But I know I'll never get back the $200 I gave to another church because that church (if it's still around) has a paster that thought that my Dad's $20 sign by a pen....s is worth more and therefore gives him the right to verbally accost me for wanting to find peace with a dad that wanted a disabled daughter out of the house and out of his life just because he wanted I wouldn't play the role of his wife! That pastor sold me out for $20 and didn't even bring a Bible. But he what he wanted to do with a 28-yr. old disabled woman could be regarded as both assault and sexual assault. If he thought that the $20 was worth more, Then I want my $200 back! But you know what? That creep will just say he doesn't know what I'm talking about or hollar that I gave it so it's lost, or call me an indian giver, or scream on about hell. He's an AOG preacher.

So I know I'll never see that $200 again. I hope he chokes on it. The creep!

I'm glad he doesn't know where I live either. I don't need HIM in my life.

I think there should be a law (well, no, we have too many laws already but what the heck... what's another?) that says that if a person deconverted, and want their money back, a church has to refund it and that all churches must keep records of who gave how much so in case of a refund they can give it back.

That'd make them be more careful who they screw over too. As I've heard of some money-fraud situations in churches in various articles.

And churches should be considered "Entertainment" and thus NOT exempt to taxation! Nor religious doctrine should be considered for things like public policy.

Ah so we can only wish.

Anonymous said...

that's cool, you know this means christians aren't all complete assholes.

Now if I could only swine one of those big evangalical churches of a few thousand dollars, I'd be a happy man.

Anonymous said...

To Tim,
I really did get a refund from my ex-fellowship. I left the church on very good terms. All I did was email my ex-pastor and explain that I gave the money in faith and now I would like it returned. I was very non-threatening, polite and respectful. He said ok and put me in touch with the church accountaint. He and I worked out a fair dollar amount based on my honest recollection of what I gave to the fellowship. They are sending a check every month till the balance is paid. I can hardly believe it myself....
Billy B.

Anonymous said...

I was into the tithe BS myself as a 20-23 year old man I tithed about 1,500 USD total...for a college kid that was allot...I wish I could get that back...The pastor I gave the money to lived in a 500,000 dollar home had 4 cars....I can't believe I was so stupid to give them f#cking bast#ard 1 cent.
leaf

Anonymous said...

Fuck His Holy Name. Fuck Jesus and all his fucking fundy worshipers. Fuck em all! We all need a refund for giving so much time to a lie filled with liars! Fuck YOU JESUS I wanna gaddamn REFUND for worshipping a false fucking savior! I have spent ten years in the FAKE contemporary christian music industry and I will be giving my gaddamn testimony soon. It is all fucking fake and these christians are all fucking fake!


J. Brown

webmdave said...

Billy sent in more information on his refund. I updated the letter above accordingly.

Anonymous said...

You Got Saved?
"How is it that you get saved?

Salvation is something that you cannot get.
It is either given or it is not given, It is all of God choice, not ours...
Those who are believers in this economy of God's grace, were saved before the foundation of the world.

(Ephesians.1:1-13). We have no say-so in the matter what-so-ever...
"All is of God"
He is the one operating all in accord with the counsel of His will. "Not our will"
To speak as a man is synnonymous with speaking as a fool...

If you give something then you have no claim on that gift, a gift is a gift... You "We" no longer have a claim to it.. You have no right to it anymore...


"You" got 'saved' back in 1981. I attended a non-denominational church for about five years. I then left that fellowship and began attendance at Calvary Chapel. I became the worship/music minister. (Just what is this terminology)? music ministry?

After three years I left the (that) so-called church. This was around 1989.

My experience with leaving the church is pretty typical. I was burned out on spending all my time and effort dealing with the music ministry. I left the church on very good terms with the pastor.

I have been there and done that!

"Christian Fellowship" is not a matter of doctrine. It is for those in the "Christ"

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,
You need to hash these issues out with your fellow believers..not me. I don't buy any of it any more......have fun.
billy b.

Anonymous said...

I must say I can understand tim simmons being sceptical about this, but you sound fairly genuine so nice one for doing this!
I don't think there is any chance of me getting of the money my old pastor robbed me of, besides I've fallen out with one of his daughters and wouldn't speak to him for that reason alone. But even if i did try, i wouldn't fancy my chances..but again well done for getting your rightful money back!

Anonymous said...

I'm curious ... since you probably also reported your donations as tax deductions, are you also playing nice with the IRS?

Anonymous said...

I have been self employed for years and I have always played it straight with the IRS. I'll claim this income and run it through my checking account. It's like finding lost cash, so I'm thrilled to be able to keep any of it. (ya know, Tim, you need to maybe meet some new friends...he he.)
Billy B.

Anonymous said...

The only way that you could get a refund from a church after tithing for x-number of years would be if you could prove that they deceived you, which would mean proving that Christianity is false. You can't really do that, because it would mean proving that God doesn't exist.

If you decided that you no longer wanted to be an American, and you moved to the Netherlands and became a citizen, the United States wouldn't refund you the money that you gave to the government to support the country to which you no longer belonged. The same is true of your church.

If you belong to a sports team's fan club, and after 10 years of supporting the team, you decided that they were never going to win a championship, the fan club wouldn't refund your money. Even if the team went bankrupt, you wouldn't be entitled to a refund. You made a decision to support that team, and your financial loss is your problem.

If someday your pastor admitted that he had been lying to you for so many years, THEN you could be given your money back. But what pastor is going to do that? Religion isn't subject to proof, because it's built on faith. You'll never be able to prove that Jesus wasn't God's Son, so why should you be given your money back by a church because you no longer believe?

Anonymous said...

I find this interesting, the whole topic about money, when you give your life to Christ and die to your flesh, money becomes nothing, It's sad that churches go astray and people stop believing in Christ as thier savior, humans sin and because of this we cannot expect anything else, we must believe the word and what God is doing in our lives. I wish you all the best and am sad to know that what someone did to you prolly made you walk away, remember God does not forsake us, we forsake him. going to church or being part of the ministry, including pastors does not make you a Christian, dying to ourselves and living for Christ does. the worldly refund of money won't make up for what you'll lose in eternity.

Anonymous said...

Dante,
I don't know why the pastor agreed to refund my money. You would have to ask him for his reason. I suspect that his reason for returning my money is the fact that we were/are friends and he respected my request. There could be a more complicated answer...again; I got the refund without any proof. All I had was my honest word that I had in fact made the contribution.Evidently that's good enough for some folks.
Billy B.

Anonymous said...

Brent,
I did walk away from the church as a result of how the church treats it's people. The good news is that once I separated myself from the non-stop conditioning that I was allowing myself to be subjected to, I was able to see how I was being tricked into believing things that really don't make sense. I wouldn't expect anyone in the faith to believe me, but, I am finally really happy. You might have to figure it out yourself, I hope you do.
Billy B.

Anonymous said...

Riverbank,
Yeah...I can't remember a time when I had a chick piss off at me, and it somehow turned into a cash rebate...byw..thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm just giving tim a hard time cause I'm hoping we can all have a laugh over this...like I said: I can hardly believe it myself...
Billy B

Anonymous said...

To all the Christians who might read this comment...

Stop trying to re-convert us.

You are only making us tired and annoyed. We believe the Bible to be an ancient collection of stories and we have no interest in adapting our lives to a two thousand year old doctrine. Please, before you put your book in our faces, think and answer yourself this: Am I really going to reconvert them? If not, why bother posting?

Anonymous said...

Newcult111,
Yes, right on,THANK YOU!!!!! I was once married to a woman and all we did was argue and disagree for years. I finally decide I was through with trying to change someone elses mind. It rarely (if ever) works, unless they are truely and sincerly seeking rational solutions for the problems at hand. I refuse to argue with people who are unable to admit when they are so obviously wrong. Typically this results in reinforcing their dogmatic position....but that's their problem. All I can hope is that some day some way, something breaks through the wall. Life is too short to spend my time feeling responsible for someone elses ignorance. That was the how the church wished for me to live, and it really is a waste of caring.
Billy B.

Anonymous said...

Wow! If only I could get back the $ I was manipulated by hungry hands to pass the plate! I gave thousands and took in thousands as a performer FOR THE CHURCH with no pay---it was all for the lord. Shit, if I had the money back, I could finally pay off the burden of student loans!

I understand your pain "Jesus Fucked a Prostitute in the Ass" it's obvious you didn't have a pleasent "Contemporary Christian" expierence, nor did I---however, I vent through blogging: www.ifjesuswereapopsicle.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Stevie P.
I've often joked that if I had the balls and total lack of scruples, it would be so easy to fleece the flock. As a musician I have seen how powerful music is as a devise to put 'em under the ether. Let's start a cult....wadda ya say?
Billy B.

Anonymous said...

Billy,the last year of my church experience my wife and I gave $5,000($3,000 towards a building fund).
The same year my wife totaled her car.With liability only,we couldn't afford another.
This caused undo stress on our marriage. I left the church and ministry that same year.
She divorced me soon after.

I've often thought about asking for my money back,...thanks for you post! freedy

Anonymous said...

I would not try and get anyone back to living for Christ, this link was for some reason attached to a Christian website, maybe a link someone had put on, I am pretty open minded and have no problem looking at both sides. I have been in both positions, both have problems and hard times, by far the people of "the world" will try and steal your money more than any church, maybe I shouldn't say any. The ones I have attended wouldn't. I would never say you are wrong, I just believe in heaven and hell and what it takes to stay out of hell. my life is better now that I serve Christ and am saddened to hear folks have been mistreated by others in a church enviornment, But I believe the wrong doing came from people not God, it's not all roses but I blame people for what happens in the world and hope you all have a great fulfilling life. No worries folks

Anonymous said...

Don't take the first part of my blog out of context, I won't force my beliefs on others, just another opinion.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Billy I've often heard people on this board joke about how their church should refund all the money that they tithe and offeringed with, but wow! Someone who had the nerve to actually ask for it back? That is so hot. I want your number. Now.

Anonymous said...

Hey Freedie,
I believe that there were two factors that brought my results. 1st-I left the church in excellent standing. 2nd-My attitude was non-threatning and I was sincerly willing to graciously accept however they wished to deal with my request.
It took all the courage that I could muster just to initiate contact with my ex-pastor. He is very carismatic and I am easily intimidated by him. The last thing I wanted was a big nasty battle of opinion on church doctrine.
I also had to deal with two assistant pastors before my ex-pastor could deal with me.
I think that nice people can work things out. Give it a shot and be happy with whatever they decide. nothing to lose, ya know?
Billy B.

Anonymous said...

scatteredmosaic,
Yeah, I'm pretty tough at the keyboard...ha ha.
seriously....I just thought that all they could say is 'no'. Why not ask....? If the whole point of giving at church is to demonstrate your faith, then the dollar amout isn't the the issue. So...since it's not the money.....give er back, jack.
Billy B.

Anonymous said...

RE: Church Rebate Offer

Just when I thought I heard it all.
One observation:
The pastor sounds like a much more honorable person than you. Apparently he values you more than your money. I wonder if you've considered that?

Pageviews this week: