Online church giving and superstition go hand and hand.
Not really, but there are still plenty of misconceptions and fallacies surrounding the mystic arts of digital giving and the church.
However, in the year 2017, most of these old wives tales have been debunked. Still, it’s always good to drag some of these myths about online church giving out into the light and discuss them honestly.
1) It’s a Fad
Online and mobile giving isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s actually growing. There was almost a 9% growth in faith-based online giving from 2015 to 2016. And if the statistics are any indication, that figure will online continue to go up.
Look at how the rest of our society is heading. People are cutting cable in favor of Netflix. They get their news from Facebook instead of a newspaper. We are in the middle of a shift from analog to digital. It only makes sense that our charitable giving habits will follow the same pattern.
There are plenty of fads that come and go — but rest assured that online giving is not one of them.
2) It’s Difficult to Do
One of the biggest arguments against giving online is the technology barrier. You mean I have to remember another password? How do I turn on the computer again?
However, Tithely and dozens of other online giving services make online giving easy. These services knock down all of the technological hurdles to make it simpler for your church members to give online. They can opt to donate on their mobile device, via text message or automated withdrawal.
Technology will always be an obstacle for some, but custom services built specifically for online giving remove most of the excuses for even the most hardened technophobes.
3) It’s Only For Millennials
Sure, online donating is primarily targeted to younger generations. They’re the most connected generation and are most likely to give online. Nevertheless, Millennials aren’t the only ones who are taking advantage of giving to their church online.
But millennials are far from the only generation using the internet. Online church giving applies as much to Generation X and Baby Boomers as it does to Millennials. We all face the same limitations with in-person giving, and should restrict online opportunities only to those under 40.
Millennials and Generation Z will lead the way with digital giving, but they won’t be alone.
4) It Shouldn’t Be Automatic
One of the biggest differences between online giving and in-person giving is that connection you feel by dropping your hard earned cash (or check) into the offering basket. And there’s something to be said about keeping that connection alive.
Still, don’t make the mistake in thinking that donating to the church on the internet removes all meaning from the gift. There are some who argue that you should automate the important. Setting up a recurring tithe gift removes any chance of forgetting or temptation not to give.
Does giving online make you forget why you give in the first place? Does tithing mean as much if it doesn’t hurt when you make the contribution? Maybe for some. But more often, making the process automatic and seamless shows a higher sense of priority.
5) It Replaces Offline Giving
Encouraging online gifts or setting up a text-to-give option at your church does not mean a death to the offering basket. Even placing digital as a priority shouldn’t eliminate the opportunity for members to make a contribution in person.
As the percentage of online giving continues to increase, there will always be a segment of the congregation that prefers to donate during worship or through the mail. Denying them that opportunity would be insulting to them and ignorant of the church.
Digital giving has a place in your church, but so do the offline ways to give.
6) It’s Blasphemous
In 2 Corinthians, Paul describes giving to the church through a machine as a form of sorcery that should be considered an abomination. Just kidding. Online giving isn’t actually mentioned in the Bible at all — they were still a few years away from a broadband connection back then.
In fact, Paul does talk about supporting your local church. Rather than focusing on how we give, he compels us to “ excel in this grace of giving.” We are to give “according to [our] means” and out of the goodness of our hearts.
Donating to the church is more about the heart behind the gift, rather than the means of giving. Whether online or in a basket, the most important thing is submitting ourselves and our finances to God.
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Still have any apprehensions about online giving? What’s your biggest concern with giving online at your church?