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The Covid Pandemic changed a lot of things for churches. The move to online services forced churches to change how they solicit donations and offerings.
Passing the basket was no longer an option during the pandemic and taking a weekly offering stopped for churches.
Most churches are back to in-person services, yet some have not resumed the offering portion of the service.
A trend that I’ve recently noticed is, that some churches no longer take an offering during the church service.
Instead, they have offering kiosks at the doors and opportunities to give on their website or instructions for how to give as part of their weekly announcements.
It takes a faith-filled leader to take such steps as the weekly offering is how many churches raise the necessary donations to fund their ministry.
Technology has come a long way and churches are learning to use these technological advances to help facilitate what they do.
Some of those technologies are in the form of donation collection.
Trends That Are Changing How Donations Are Taken
Giving Kiosk – A new trend that churches have adapted to is a giving kiosk. A tool that has been around for twenty-plus years has taken off in the church community.
These portable I-pad sized computers allow members to give electronically on a church campus.
Making it convenient to give a weekly tithe, register for events, or pay for other event-associated fees.
This handy equipment makes bookkeeping easier (no more data input of donations) and keeps contributions and payments secure.
Automated Giving – Most donation software requires you to set up an account. After an account is set up it gives you the option to automate your giving.
This automation allows members to have their tithes given weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
The advantage for the church is, that this automated giving provides some level of predictability for donations.
It also lets members view their giving history and allows them to print a giving summary.
Text To Give – Text to give has been a very popular way for members and visitors to give. They can simply send a text with a donation amount, and they will be sent an acknowledgment of that gift.
This is particularly popular with a younger generation who rarely carries cash and likes anything that they can do on their phone.
Offering Boxes – Churches have had offering boxes at their doors for a long time. These boxes are used for traditional giving for members who prefer to give cash or check.
This donation approach makes it convenient for members but does require someone to empty the box and transport cash and checks to a secure location.
You need to have good cash handling policies to ensure these funds are secure and not susceptible to embezzlement.
But there are fees with credit cards!
Yes, there are fees for processing credit cards. Those fees can be anywhere from 2% to 3% of the credit card donation. You can approach this concern in one of two ways.
The first is to consider that credit card processing fees are the cost of collecting donations.
The advantage of this approach is the accuracy of the giving and eliminating the error of a miscalculation of donations.
The second approach (which my church does) is to ask the member to cover the cost of the processing fees. Most people will gladly do this to help save costs for their church.
How can these changes help increase giving?
No one goes to church with the hopes that they will hear the pastor begging for money. Nor do they like to be guilted into giving.
We know that giving is a privilege and a part of the Christian call.
However, a heavy-handed giving plea can be a major turn-off for someone who is seeking and hoping to find God in church.
Visitors don’t want to be guilted into giving. An unbeliever or someone new to the faith doesn’t understand the principle of tithing and doesn’t understand why churches take an offering.
To put a heavy hand on giving, until someone has that understanding, can be a barrier to further pursuit of faith.
And, it can backfire and validate a known perception that “churches only want your money”.
How Do I Know That Donations
Will Come In Without An Offering?
The reality is believers will give and new believers need to learn the principles of tithing.
Eliminating the offering portion of a church service can be scary. However, if you approach this strategically you will have tithing members and a process to develop new members into becoming tithers.
There is a transition from seeker to convert to member. The process involves learning the principles of giving and why members tithe on their income.
Teach On Giving
People don’t know what they don’t know. In other words, someone new to the faith may have never been taught the principles of giving.
And a new believer may not know the difference between tithing and an offering.
Churches take different approaches to teaching about giving. Some make this teaching an annual event leading up to budget time.
They will devote a few weeks to sharing scriptures that support giving and tithing and sprinkle the message into a few other sermons a year.
Some other churches will also include teaching on giving as part of their membership class. These church leaders will instruct new members on the expected responsibility to help support the ministry.
Another popular approach is to provide Christian-based personal finance classes throughout the year to help members get a handle on their finances and debt.
Members who are committed to the church will give on a regular basis and understand that it takes money to operate a church.
These committed Christians provide the necessary resources to support the ministry. The secret is to communicate the need to members.
For instance, members need to be aware of the annual budget and the cost of the church operation. The more you can communicate the need the more open members will be to doing their part.
Eliminating the Offering Saves
Precious Time During A Church Service
Many churches now use a clock to remind the pastor what time it is and to watch it count down.
Eliminating a ten-minute sermon on giving every week can save time to teach God’s Word. And isn’t that the primary purpose of a church service?
Doing away with the offering can also help make a smooth transition from the praise and worship portion of the service to the most important part – which is the teaching part.
Donations Are The Financial Life Support Of A Church
Churches exist because of the generous donations of their members. Active ministries need to remember that they will have approximately 15% turnover every year.
This is due to members moving, changing jobs, and sometimes members die. Because of this reality, it is important to consistently teach about giving as a Christian obligation.
Keep in mind that your team will need to be deliberate with communicating the financial need to your committed members. But also create a developmental process for new believers to learn the principles of tithing.
After this is done, you can talk about finances occasionally but allow committed members and technology to automate the giving process.
Does your church still incorporate the offering in your weekly service?