Electronic giving offers churches new opportunities to teach generosity.
But it’s good to step back for a moment and consider some basic truths behind generosity and giving.
Giving is Worship
Above all, giving shows an awareness of the image of God within us, and God is generous. Worship and giving go hand-in-hand as we express our love for God. The offering plays an essential role in worship. An offering is not appropriate in every worship service, but should be a standard part of regular weekly worship.
With electronic giving, the act of giving is separated from the act of worship. When you set up a recurring gift to your church, the bank writes and mails a check automatically at the specified interval. No further input is needed from you, and you don’t bring cash or a check to the sanctuary.
Still, you have a need to worship through giving. So provide offering slips for your online givers. Writing your name and amount of your weekly gift and placing it in the offering plate is an act of worship.
Meaningful Gifts are Sacrificial and Habitual
The Paradox of Generosity, by Dr. Christian Smith, is a great read. Smith demonstrated that donors who gave as a habit and were sacrificial in their giving received the most benefits from their generosity. The best pattern for giving, according to Smith, is one that thoughtfully determines the level of gift to a cause, sets that gift up as a habit, and reviews the level of gift periodically.
Electronic Giving and an Annual Stewardship Emphasis together present a perfect opportunity to teach this pattern. Set and review the gift annually, then establish a recurring electronic gift. When bad weather cancels worship, your gift continues uninterrupted. When you’re ill or on vacation, your giving doesn’t miss a beat. Your church benefits from steady income, and you effortlessly achieve the generosity you intended.
Giving is Essential to Discipleship
Jesus praised a widow for her gift of two little copper coins. The good sheep of Matthew 25 show their generosity toward “the least of these,” while the goats don’t. Love your neighbor as yourself – all of this requires giving of ourselves. And while money isn’t the only way to give (“while I was in prison, you visited me…”), it’s an important and necessary avenue for giving.
Money represents our values, and if we value others, we will give money. The old stewardship phrase is “time, talent, AND treasure,” not “time, talent, OR treasure.”
Managing money electronically is more and more the method of choice for many, even those of us in the pews. For some, it’s a nearly exclusive vehicle for money management. There’s no cash in the wallet and no checkbook in the purse. Instead, you’ll find a debit or credit card there. And bills are paid on the cell phone while waiting in line to buy groceries.
Electronic giving is quickly becoming normal. One task you face as a church is inspiring generosity within this electronic age. Keeping in mind the fundamentals of why we give will help as we go about changing how we give.
For more insight and practical help with electronic giving, set up a complimentary phone call with one of our consultants today. We’ll discuss your goals and how to achieve them successfully to move your church forward. Call (888) 558-6873 to schedule now.