Discussing
The offering as worship in an electronic age

Melissa Van Dyk

Antoine RJ Wright
September 6, 2011

My first thoughts after reading this was "is worship a matter of public display of Godly devotion," or something more private that reveals itself public ally (re: Matthew 6 and the public prayer sections)? If we are calling the behavior of bringing something to an altar as the activity that defines worship, then it very much matters that public perceptions are accounted for in electronic giving. But, if we are taking worship for its literal definition, a concerted and personal affection towards God, then we might be asking too much to make behaviors acceptable to the tradition of our activities rather than the movements of our hearts

JCarpenter
September 6, 2011

People are giving---leave it at that.  I know people who give monthly---are the other 3-4 weekly services less important or meaningful to them?  I know of people who give substantial amounts only several times per year (as in tax refunds or end of year gifts)---they apparently have been able to reconcile their not "participating" in offering portion of service beyond just passing the plate. Might the PAR be a show to others, whose business it is not if or when or how much anyone gives?  What may become an issue is when the majority are giving via electronic means, how to encourage the few still giving by cash or check to either convert or to still accommodate them in the service.

Dean Roberts
September 6, 2011

It's a hard one... because is our offering a corporate act or an individual act when it comes to money? I guess it's both. We give individually to God as a personal offering, and then the Church gives the combined offering to God...<br><br>So I don't know whether such an issue should be made of electronic giving or not...<br><br><a href="http://deanroberts.net" rel="nofollow">http://deanroberts.net</a>

Guest
September 6, 2011

While part of me cringes at the combination of gold in church and doesn't understand it as "Worship". I need that explained. It pays the bills and contributes to important ministry work but it does not take the form of a real offering or sacrifice except for the poorest. God does not need gold. People need it to do God's work. I get that so understand the cash will stay in church. <br><br>That being said, and I hope no one was personally offended, I think electronic payments offer an excellent opportunity to smooth out some of the rough spots with the thank offering part of the service. If there are no cards then the family giving by e-transfer appears the same as the family who is out of work and can't afford to pay and the family who can't afford to pay doesn't feel bad because they don't have little cards to tell everyone the have paid their share. As an elder I think churches should approach the card issue with the question exclusion vs acceptance. Once you hit a certain threshold it will be assumed that anyone not putting money in has paid already. Then again, if the congregation is that judgemental there might be a good theme for a sermon in the future. <br><br>When I was younger I was accused of trying to fill empty plates with hopes and dreams. There might be something to that, depending on who you are offering the plate to. When I was a teenage Sunday school teacher who didn't know any better :) I let my kids draw pictures of things they were thankful for during the week and put them in the offering plate in the Sunday School room. It was their own offering to Jesus. They drew pictures of their hopes, their dreams, the kind things they promised to do for others, and offered them to God along with their meaningless quarters.<br><br>I think we need to think about "Worship" as our offering to God vs our offering to helping pay the hydro bills of the church - If that makes any sense?

Guest
September 6, 2011

oops Editing gremlins got me. I am not an elder nor do I play one on TV.

Rickd
September 6, 2011

Electronic Funds Transfer seems so tidy and efficient. The local church is now a modern corporation with a CEO, a CFO, a multi-million dollar campus and now a stable, modern funding methodology. Giving money to the corporation is now called worship. That’s what pays the salary of the talented preacher so that we can hear entertaining sermons every sunday morning and enjoy professional quality musical performances. Plus the big screen videos and high performance sound system. Last week was the start of college football season and we all heard plenty of witty sermon commentary about teams, some good advice on parenting and a good message about why we should pray. Almost sounds like the Book of Acts.

Stacy Petersen
September 6, 2011

I totally agree that our giving should be an act of worship, but does it have to be an act of corporate worship?  I like that at my church we don't do a collection, but instead have a box that people can put their tithes and offerings in.  It removes the temptation to judge others for their giving (or lack thereof), removes embarrassment for those who aren't able to give, makes anonymous giving easier, and leaves time in our worship services for other acts of worship.<br><br>We don't currently have electronic giving, but if we did, it would fit with our model.  The thing that bothers me about having "giving cards" is what that implies: that we need others to know that we are giving.  We should be more concerned about what God thinks of our giving than we are about the people around us.

Ian G
September 7, 2011

Have been totally on this for years! My question to many people has been "How do I keep my automatic electronic giving in my heart?" but I haven't had many answers.<br><br>I believe that, since God could provide for His church any way He wanted to, my gift of money on a Sunday morning should actually impact ME more than who I give it to.<br><br>From that perspective, I've considered that church services in Africa are conscious of giving far more than the UK. <a href="http://skyandfield.blogspot.com/2010/11/giving-africa-vs-uk.html" rel="nofollow">http://skyandfield.blogspot.co...</a>

Ncgmac
September 7, 2011

I think your church nails giving.  The first thing I thought of was, "Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing."  <br><br>Giving is important, but I think it should be private.  We know this was a problem in Jesus day, so it's better to avoid creating an atmosphere of temptation to judge, be it one way or the other.

Ian C.
September 7, 2011

Hi.  I am Ian from Charlotte.  I was discussing this with a non-Christian friend of mine.  Wouldn't it be kewl to have offering boxes in the toilet stalls, so that people could truly be giving where no one could see but them and God.

SiarlysJenkins
September 16, 2011

You mean those who already gave at the web site feel embarrassed that they are letting the offering plate go by without appearing to give anything?<br><br>Maybe the web site should provide a printable coupon to put in the plate so that those who want everyone to know they already gave can show it off.<br><br>This could be turned around. Since a fair number of people are tithing on line, it can no longer be assumed that those not putting anything into the plate are not giving. Of course this does give some cover to those who really don't give.<br><br>But as long as everyone isn't giving on line, in fact, everyone isn't even on line at all, passing the plate is a good thing to do. And there is always the old custom of tapping the plate as it passes.

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