Offering prayers for digital gifts, noisy gifts and plain old cash

Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Joanne DeJong, writer for the Canadian Mennonite. She was asking me about digital giving and the churches.

Mennonite Church Canada is planning to roll out church websites, including the option of donate buttons. I know my fundraising peers will simply be gobsmacked - it’s 2019! But there are churches who remain agnostic about digital giving. Joanne shared some concerns that she’d heard, including the fear that if people gave online, the collection plate would go around empty. Giving is part of worship.

So how do we celebrate giving if some of that giving is virtual?

I’m a fan of passing the plate. Go ahead and put money in (assuming you have cash), even if you already gave online. Why not? Giving is part of worship, and so important that it deserves words. Not just ‘the ushers will now come forward to collect the offering…’ and a cursory prayer, but a moment of genuine gratitude and celebration. Celebrate all the gifts, not just gifts from people sitting in the pews at the moment.

Here are some starter sentences:

Creator God, Thank you for the people who built this church with their time, energy and generosity. We are grateful for our founders and thank God for the continuing generosity of this congregation.

Thank you God for the people who are not here today, yet who continue to support this church in so many ways. Thank you for people who gave online, who give regularly through pre-authorized giving and for the faithful givers here today.

Loving God, Thank you for the joyful gifts of our children. Thank you for coins loudly given, for questions asked, for watchful eyes. Help us to model generosity, and help us to learn it.

Generous God, Thank you for the privilege of sharing with others. We confess that it doesn’t always come easily. Bless us as we share, and bless the many people who will benefit from these gifts.

Gracious God, giver of every good gift, thank you for the gift of this day. It’s a sad day, and yet we know that you never leave us. Thank you that by sharing what we have, we can share your grace with others.

Eternal God, you are our Creator, our Redeemer and our Sustainer. It’s uncertain times and we are sorely tempted to hang out tight to what we have. Help us to live into your grace, and to trust that if we share, we will all have enough.

And tell stories too - what great and wonderfully small things is God doing amongst your congregation? I’m certain you have stories to tell.

If you are looking for offering prayers and worship resources of all kinds, I recommend both

https://re-worship.blogspot.com/ and https://carolpenner.typepad.com/leadinginworship/ as excellent resources.

Digital Giving - some numbers and tips for churches

chequebook-3.jpg

In US, "the number of checks written between 2000 and 2015 declined by 50 percent." Also, 50% of Americans have less than $50 in their wallet. This stat surprises me - I'm surprised it's that low. Who has more than $50 in their purse? Tim Horton's takes debit - I often have $0. So what? Stats like this matter to churches, who have been slower to embrace digital giving.  Hence, my reminder that the Holy Spirit also speaks to people who don't have a cheque book.  Make giving easier with this helpful primer on digital giving by Alex Benson via the Lewis Center on Church Leadership.

Online giving increases every year. Canadian friends: if your church or charity website doesn't have a donate button, Canada Helps should be your first stop here.  They make it easy!

https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/lead-learn-launch-getting-started-with-digital-giving/

I first published this post on LinkedIn.  So much to say on this topic, one day I'll post on digital giving and 1 Corinthians 16...