The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow in you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.
— 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Let’s be honest – Stewardship can be a challenge for many church bodies today. Pastors tend to focus on stewardship once or twice per year, and often times, it can be a topic that they just don’t want to preach about. For a church member, being a good steward is something we are called by God to do, but we don’t often make it a priority like we should. E-giving can help address some stewardship issues. In fact, LifeWay Research says that 23% of churches see a greater percentage of the congregation giving on a regular basis with e-giving.
E-GIVING IS A BROAD TERM THAT ENCOMPASSES A FEW DIFFERENT FORMS OF GIVING:
- ONLINE GIVING – GIVING VIA YOUR CHURCH WEBSITE
- MOBILE GIVING – GIVING VIA YOUR CHURCH MOBILE APP
- TEXT-TO-GIVE – TEXTING A NUMBER WITH THE AMOUNT OF YOUR TITHE
- KIOSK GIVING – GIVING VIA A KIOSK AT YOUR CHURCH
So how do we as church leaders address issues with giving head-on in a digital world? Long gone are the days when everyone brought his or her offering in an envelope each Sunday. I still see some people do it, but it’s not as commonplace as it was even five years ago. We are seeing a similar shift with Bibles as well. People are leaving their Bibles at home in favor of Bible apps on their smartphones or tablets. With giving, churches need to meet their members where they are. Two of the excuses I hear the most from church leaders who are against e-giving are “It’s not a worship experience” and “It’s not safe.” First, I believe that engaging in stewardship is an act of worship, no matter the method. Beyond that, I’d like to offer you a few points to help you address this possible contention within your church body.
HOW TO ADDRESS THIS POSSIBLE CONTENTION WITHIN YOUR CHURCH BODY:
1) Make it easy.
The last thing you want for your members is a clunky, wordy, and sloppy experience. Of course, online givers will have to register once. After a giver sets up his or her account, it should be much easier on subsequent interactions, which only ask for a giver’s tithe amount, the budget to which he or she wants to give and the method of payment. Even the giving transaction itself can be automated based on remembering preferences at the user level.
2) Who is in control?
Your members like to have autonomy. They want to know they can control their giving each and every week. Some givers may want to set up recurring payments using their debit cards. Others may want to give various amounts each week to different ministries via automated checks. Regardless of the circumstance, make sure they have the ability to maintain control of their tithes and offerings.
3) Assure members that it is safe.
PCI compliance isn’t a household term. You may know exactly what I’m talking about, but most of your members probably don’t. People want to make sure their credit, debit, or check information is safe. Of all the places for them to trust, a church should be at the top. But they don’t realize the church isn’t the one processing the payment. That’s why PCI compliance is so important. Make sure you work with a processor who is PCI level 1 compliant. In short, that means they have met the highest level of security standards set by the Payment Card Industry, and they process hundreds of thousands of transactions per year.
4) Worship experiences shouldn’t be confined to your church.
Worship should extend to homes as well. Encourage people to worship with their families as they give their tithes and offerings with their spouse and/or children. Encourage members to use this as a time to teach their children why God calls us to give. In fact, place some educational information in your church bulletin about e-giving. Reinforce the fact that God calls us to be good stewards of what He has entrusted us and explain how their tithes will help make disciples.
E-giving can help engage your members and meet them where they are. Giving them options on how to be good stewards can also enrich their worship experience. Without online giving, we miss out on an incredible way of becoming more like Christ, both as individuals and as a community.
Author: Matt Morris