(I write this as a person running a spiritual community. I don't have answers yet, but the questions are making me think and search for them.)
I paid hundreds of dollars to hear Seth Godin speak for 8 hours. Was it worth it?
I pay $10 every time I go to yoga. Is it worth it?
We all pay hundreds for concerts, or to go to conferences, we pay gym and club memberships, we pay $10-$15 per person for a movie and, most of us answer, yes it's worth it.
That's why we pay it.
Is church worth it? Would we pay $10 every Sunday? $5? $1?
If we want to know why a church experience (and again I say this as a pastor who gets to take advantage of this) is often not that great, it's because the "church" rarely has to ask, or be confronted with, the question, is it worth it?
Many churches, instead, get free passes and survive on guilt and "gifts to God", or small groups of wealthy individuals, not, always, on just being worth it.
If there was no concept of tithe, how many churches would survive? In a sense, the tithe lets a lot of church structures off the hook - never forced to ask questions like: is this working, is it worth it, why or why not?
In the end, of course, the concept of tithe is ending or at least fading. That's why most churches (including, perhaps, the one I'm at) will probably go the way of the tithe.
They aren't worth it.