Friday, January 29, 2016

Digital giving

A couple of years ago I was shopping with our son and paid my bill with a check. On the way out of the store he said that I was the only person he knew who still wrote checks. Like many young people he pays his bills online and uses a debit card when making purchases. he writes one check each month for his rent, and that's only because the rental company requires it.

I still use checks, but I've been noticing that more and more stores no longer accepts checks. At some time in the near future check writing will probably be a thing of the past.

Churches need to think about what that's going to mean for them. Even today many millennials struggle knowing what to do about giving to their church. With no opportunity to give online or a way to use their debit card they are forced to use cash or give nothing. Many choose to do the latter.

Some larger churches offer online giving through their website while others have ATM machines in their lobbies. I doubt that many smaller churches have such options, and it could be costing them. At a time when many churches are seeing a decline in their giving our churches need to make it as easy as possible for people to give.

This is probably something many small churches have never considered. We have been so used to our envelop systems and passing the plate that we've not considered that there are now two generations that doesn't fit this model. If we want them to participate in the financial life of our churches we have to offer them options that fit their lifestyles and habits.

Personally, I'm not sure that small churches need ATM machines, but there is no reason some method of online giving could not be offered. As I've promoted before in this blog, every church needs a website, and that site could include a method of giving to the church. Drop-down menus could be available so people could give money to the church, to missions, or to a special offering the church might be receiving. It may be that this option would not see much use at first, but as younger people begin to replace us older ones it's likely the church would also see a shift to online giving.

This may seem strange to some churches and perhaps even a little nonspiritual. But, over the centuries the church has had to make many changes, and each of them no doubt generated doubt and criticism. It's time churches began to consider offering different ways for people to give.


Seth said...

We started egiving last fall. It is very easy to use and lifeway egiving does all the hard work. As long as you have a website, and can add a link, you are all set me very sim0le for a small church.

Dennis Bickers said...

Thanks, Seth. I think the fear that it is difficult coupled with the fact that it's a new idea for many churches is what keeps more churches from doing it.

Rev. Luckett said...

We have offered online giving via our website and we have a card reader connected to our PayPal account. It's a great help because not many carry cash anymore and some use the website when they can't make it to church.

Dennis Bickers said...

Thank you for sharing your story. We now have two smaller churches telling us how simple it is to offer online giving on their websites. There's no reason other churches can't provide this to their congregations.