Answer: Whew, those are tough questions! The answers are based on the culture of each church. The congregations where I have served took the position that pastors should have no knowledge of any person’s giving or giving pattern. They based that view from this passage:
My brothers and sisters, do not show prejudice if you possess faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if someone comes into your assembly wearing a gold ring and fine clothing, and a poor person enters in filthy clothes, do you pay attention to the one who is finely dressed and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and to the poor person, “You stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor”? If so, have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil motives. (James 2:1-4)
The Bible Knowledge Commentary reflects on verse 4: “The illustration is followed by a penetrating inquiry: Have you not discriminated among yourselves? The question in Greek assumes an affirmative answer. James’ brethren must plead guilty not only to discriminatory divisions but also to assuming the role of judges with evil thoughts of partiality.” The fear in churches is that if pastors know a person’s financial giving, that they will receive preferential treatment. John says that “perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18)
There are ways to preserve anonymity while still helping major donors. You can get a list of the 50 top leaders, without giving data. You can help these folks learn how to give generously and strategically. Churches do a great deal of training, but not with these folks. We may spend 8 hours training someone to work in the nursery or with youth, but what training do we provide for people of means?
Brad Leeper at Generis would suggest that top leadership in a church know the giving patterns, so as to teach and mentor those folks on great giving.
Alan Wildes wrote for XPastor, A Pastor’s Guide to Accelerating Generosity in Churches. Brad Leeper has contributed many articles on generosity, such as Generosity Issues Every Church Should Consider for 2013. Brad also wrote Making Unusual Generosity the New Normal.