(OPINION) Churchome, the Washington state megachurch led by Judah Smith and his wife Chelsea, has been slapped with a class action lawsuit for allegedly imposing a tithing policy on employees, in violation of state law, that requires them to give back no less than 10% of their gross earnings to the church or face disciplinary action, including termination.

One employee allegedly claimed that he was so committed to abiding by the policy he chose to sell his house during a financially difficult period so that he could afford to keep up with Churchome’s policy.

According to the Christian Post, The lawsuit, a 44-page complaint filed last Tuesday in the King County Superior Court of Washington, was filed on behalf of Churchome employee Rachel Kellogg and at least 100 other employees affected by the policy during the last three years.


It names Judah Smith, Churchome’s lead communicator, his wife Chelsea, the church’s lead theologian, and Chief Executive Officer David Kroll as defendants.

“Defendants have engaged in a systemic scheme of wage and hour abuse against their employees, including the requirement that all employees rebate ten percent of their gross earned wages back to Defendants in the form of tithes on a monthly basis or face actual or threatened pressure, discipline, or termination,” Kellogg’s complaint says.

Churchome did not immediately respond to questions about the lawsuit from The Christian Post Monday. Kellogg’s attorneys, Toby J. Marshall and Jasmin Rezaie‐Tirabadi of the Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC, contend in the complaint that the conduct of the Smiths and Kroll violate Washington’s Wage Rebate Act and the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

“Plaintiff and Class members are current and former Churchome employees who have been victimized by Defendants’ unlawful compensation practices, unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and unfair methods of competition,” the complaint insists. “This lawsuit is brought as a class action under Washington law to recover unlawfully rebated wages, which must be returned to Plaintiff and those similarly situated.”

The complaint also alleges that the defendants enacted the tithing policy “in pursuit of financial gain or livelihood” for themselves as well as their “marital community.”

Kellogg, who has been working for Churchome since December 2019, is currently a post-production producer, a position she has held since July 2022 after serving in other capacities. She also works remotely from Greenville, South Carolina.

According to the complaint, Kellogg was not informed of Churchome’s tithing policy in the job posting or during orientation when she was first hired.

It wasn’t until April 2020, a month after the church had stopped in‐person church services due to COVID‐19, that she learned how serious the tithing policy is during a remote staff meeting with Judah Smith.

“Defendant Judah Smith reminded all employees of Defendants’ policy that the employees were required to tithe ten percent of their paychecks back to Churchome, warning that former employees had been fired because they had failed to meet this company requirement,” the complaint says.

“I’ll be very honest: people have already been transitioned and moved on and fired because they were not tithing,” Smith allegedly told the meeting.

The church’s lead communicator further quoted a Bible verse he said was sent to him by former Seattle Seahawks quarterback and Churchome board member Russell Wilson to explain why employees “rebating ten percent of their paychecks back to Churchome was a ‘black and white’ issue and even more important than the religious rite of taking communion.”

“Giving ten percent of a paycheck that comes from the tithe –– to not tithe off of a paycheck that comes from a tithe doesn’t work for me. I’m just going to be real clear: it just doesn’t work for me,” Judah Smith reportedly said in the meeting, according to the lawsuit.


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