Our church is currently in the process of restructuring our finances and committee roles. We are adding, revising, and or deleting policies, functions, and systems. We are also considering some new functionality.
We sat in a meeting on Thursday and literally wiped our brows having narrowly escaped the three foot snow storm that hit New York and Massachusetts.
We, like so many churches simply could not afford to ‘CLOSE’ church. Bills have to be paid and so do employees of which the pastor is one.
This narrow escape forced us to address the subject of online giving AGAIN moving it this time UP on our priority list. Instead of discussing things-to-death we made a conscious effort to implement this task. We even decided to enforce a deadline date as we simply could not afford to procrastinate any longer.
Three concepts we had to come to terms with:
1) We are living in a ‘cashless’ society.
To prove this point eight people were around the table and only two of the eight had cash in their possession. The rest of us said that we had our Debit cards.
Interestingly enough, the average age of our committee was 60. So if 80% of our committee operated mostly using our cards, this only confirms what the majority of people are using – their CARDS.
2) Great number of people bank online.
Again, using our meeting as a sample poll, this percentage dropped by 50% as some people around the table still wrote checks to pay their bills.
I think it is also important to note that the oldest in this meeting was 74 and the youngest was 51. Those under the age of 60 ALL banked online. Suffice it to say the average adult between ages 27-60 also bank online.
Why is this important to note? Because we anticipate that when we finally introduce the concept to our congregation, it should be met with minimal resistance to the average person already familiar with the automation.
3) Closed church, closed wallet.
Weather is not the only obstacle, last year we had a mysterious power outage. It did not only affect the church, but all the surrounding businesses and residential areas. Everything was shut down. This lasted for four days.
What’s the significance? It’s the temptation to spend that which would have otherwise been earmarked for the offering plate.
To some, especially those not sold on this tithing thing to have to double up the following Sunday is more than they can bear. It’s something about giving ‘the CHURCH’ that much money. See the humorous story called, ‘The Pastor and the Successful Young Man.’
The Real Benefit
Once you are set up to receive donations, contributions, tithes and offerings online, you will not be in FEAR when there is inclement weather or when there are mysterious power outages that keep you from having church services.
Many churches, from my research, have enjoyed more ‘consistent’ giving among their congregations as many of them have set up their accounts for a particular amount to be taken out at regular intervals of their own choosing.
This automation helps the member stay faithful in his or her giving as well, and of course, it eliminates the anxiety of having to double or triple their tithes on account of church closings.
There are many online giving companies that will assist the church in setting up this feature on their websites. You can, of course, do your own due diligence, but here are just a few companies I put together that offer this service.
What is your back up plan if you had to close your church unexpectedly? How is the giving at your church? What would happen if you couldn’t count on two of your largest tithers?