As church leaders, cultivating a body of cheerful givers can be a difficult and delicate task. Looking to scripture, it’s clear that God calls His followers to give their lives, their time, their talents, and their money in faith. Not only does God call disciples to give as individuals, but also as a church body. Paul demonstrates this call to giving in his second letter to the Corinthians, as He asks the church to support the Macedonian believers:
Remember this: 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 (HCSB)
Like Paul, church leaders must encourage members to cultivate a spirit of generous stewardship—not only to meet the needs of the church and serve the community, but to give thanks to God for His continual provision.
Church leaders today not only face the challenge of encouraging members to give, but do so in the face of a growing digital world, where members seek to interact with their church digitally as much as they do physically. For churches not offering any sort of online or mobile giving, members may be less likely to give regularly to their church. With the increased availability of sermons through streaming, podcasts, and blogs, it only makes sense to offer users the ability to give online as well.
For those not already offering online and mobile giving but hesitant to do so, here are a few considerations:
- Grow members’ habit of giving consistency through e-giving, which allows members to set up recurring giving. For members wanting to become more regular in their giving, recurring giving allows members to schedule an automatic monthly gift. Not only does this help members become more regular in the giving of their tithes and offerings, but it also offers additional support for your church outside the typically high giving months (such as December). 29% of churches who have implemented e-giving have seen an increase in total giving of between 1 and 9%. In addition, 3% of churches have seen an increase of 10% or more.
- Serve sick or traveling members by allowing them to still give weekly online. For members that have a heart for giving but are unable to attend their Sunday service, e-giving allows them to continue to give regularly. Online and mobile giving also allow members to give throughout the week as they feel led, despite not being physically in the church building.
- Engage a younger generation of givers. 39% of Christian Millennials give online and 20% give via text (Barna study). Millennials rarely carry cash, so digital options better serve this generation’s style of giving. Offering mobile and online giving allows your church to involve young people in the work you’re doing and meet them where they are.
- PCI compliance and debit only options keep e-giving secure and safe. For churches concerned with the safety of online gifts, look for an e-giving provider that is PCI compliant (meaning the online giving platform meets the security standards required by the payment card industry to handle and process transactions). Choosing an e-giving provider that offers credit as well as debit only options will also give your church flexibility in how you allow members to give.
One other consideration not common across all e-giving platforms is the possibility of funding your church’s digital presence. With twenty:28 e-giving, churches who reach a threshold of monthly giving based on the pricing plan they chose can receive their website and mobile app free of charge. Churches who adopt this model can better connect with members and guests not only through online giving, but with an integrated responsive website and mobile app.
In short, giving is part of the worship experience, and online giving can enrich that experience. Without it, we miss out on an incredible way of becoming more like Christ, both as individuals and as a community.