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How Did Tithe.ly Get Started?

How Did Tithe.ly Get Started?

Tithe.ly serves over 37,000 churches around the world. Here's the story of how one of the largest church tech platforms in the world started with a mobile coffee order and a brilliant idea. 💡

CHURCH TECH PODCAST
Tithely media icon
TV
Modern Church leader
Category
Church Tech
Publish date
February 18, 2023
Author
Kelsey Yarnell

When Tithe.ly CEO Dean Sweetman walked into a Starbucks one morning to order a latte, he never dreamed that this visit would turn into one of the biggest adventures of his life. 

After using Starbucks’ new mobile ordering system for the first time, Dean had an idea. 

If I can use my smartphone to order a coffee, why can’t I use my smartphone to give to church?

This simple question was the beginning of Tithe.ly–now one of the largest tithing platforms in the world. 

A Passion for the Church 

A former lead pastor, Dean has always been passionate about serving the Church. He has also been passionate about the business side of church. How do you run a church well, and make sure that the church has more than enough resources to do God’s work?

“Church is not a business. Church is building God's kingdom, preaching the gospel, and doing good works,” explains Dean. “But there is a business side of church. When you generate revenue, you are able to reinvest that revenue.”

Generating revenue relies on the generosity of a church’s people, for the most part. 

“God wants people to give for two reasons,” says Dean. “Most importantly, we give to elevate Him above our propensity for greed when it comes to money. Two, we give to fund the work of the Church.”

But even as a lead pastor of his church in Atlanta, Dean saw two core problems with giving and church. One, churches are typically open for only a few hours on Sunday morning–providing a very limited window to give. Two, recurring giving can be difficult to set up. 

The result is that without online giving, churches don’t receive nearly as much as they could in donations…and as a result, they don’t reach their full potential. 

A Mobile Order → A Brilliant Idea 💡

By 2012, Apple’s app store was up and running. Dean, being a bit of a technology buff, wanted to try out the Starbucks mobile app when it was first released. 

“I put in my order to the app for an iced latte, went to the Starbucks that I went to just about every day, and said, ‘I'd like to pay with the app this morning.’”

Dean continues, “I had to show the girl at the counter what the app was. After she made my drink, I thought, Wouldn't it be great if giving in church could be that easy?”

Dean then explained the idea to his oldest son Barnabas, who came back six months later with the first version of the app, which included a feature for recurring giving. 

“I stood up in front of my church in Atlanta and announced the app,” says Dean. “Donations started flooding in.”

But even after introducing the app to his own church with great success, Dean kept Tithe.ly as a side hustle until 2015–when Frank Barry and Steve Klein entered the picture. With a combined background in technology, ministry, and finances, the three met up in San Diego, California, and shook hands on an idea that would change the culture of giving for tens of thousands of churches all over the world. 

Where is Tithe.ly Today?

Today, Tithe.ly serves 37,000 churches all over the world, providing church members an easy, convenient way to give. Since its inception as a giving tool, Tithe.ly has expanded to include a full suite of affordable tools for churches to build an online presence, improve workflows, and run church online–including a website builder, custom app builder, and even free church media.  

But it all started with a desire to serve the Church and a “yes” to a God-sized opportunity.  

“In 2014, I was kind of worn out. I didn't know what I was going to do,” says Dean. “I didn't want to go back into full-time ministry, but I loved serving God. Sometimes God brings things in front of you and He's like, Here's an opportunity. Do you want to do it?

Dean said “yes,” and today, tens of thousands of churches have adopted online giving, boosted generosity, and have been able to thrive during difficult seasons (like COVID). 

To learn more about what Tithe.ly can do for your church, click here

AUTHOR
Kelsey Yarnell

Kelsey is a SaaS content writer, a Southern California native, and a follower of Christ. When she's not crafting content for up-and-coming tech companies, she's running, surfing, or exploring her adopted hometown of San Diego.

When Tithe.ly CEO Dean Sweetman walked into a Starbucks one morning to order a latte, he never dreamed that this visit would turn into one of the biggest adventures of his life. 

After using Starbucks’ new mobile ordering system for the first time, Dean had an idea. 

If I can use my smartphone to order a coffee, why can’t I use my smartphone to give to church?

This simple question was the beginning of Tithe.ly–now one of the largest tithing platforms in the world. 

A Passion for the Church 

A former lead pastor, Dean has always been passionate about serving the Church. He has also been passionate about the business side of church. How do you run a church well, and make sure that the church has more than enough resources to do God’s work?

“Church is not a business. Church is building God's kingdom, preaching the gospel, and doing good works,” explains Dean. “But there is a business side of church. When you generate revenue, you are able to reinvest that revenue.”

Generating revenue relies on the generosity of a church’s people, for the most part. 

“God wants people to give for two reasons,” says Dean. “Most importantly, we give to elevate Him above our propensity for greed when it comes to money. Two, we give to fund the work of the Church.”

But even as a lead pastor of his church in Atlanta, Dean saw two core problems with giving and church. One, churches are typically open for only a few hours on Sunday morning–providing a very limited window to give. Two, recurring giving can be difficult to set up. 

The result is that without online giving, churches don’t receive nearly as much as they could in donations…and as a result, they don’t reach their full potential. 

A Mobile Order → A Brilliant Idea 💡

By 2012, Apple’s app store was up and running. Dean, being a bit of a technology buff, wanted to try out the Starbucks mobile app when it was first released. 

“I put in my order to the app for an iced latte, went to the Starbucks that I went to just about every day, and said, ‘I'd like to pay with the app this morning.’”

Dean continues, “I had to show the girl at the counter what the app was. After she made my drink, I thought, Wouldn't it be great if giving in church could be that easy?”

Dean then explained the idea to his oldest son Barnabas, who came back six months later with the first version of the app, which included a feature for recurring giving. 

“I stood up in front of my church in Atlanta and announced the app,” says Dean. “Donations started flooding in.”

But even after introducing the app to his own church with great success, Dean kept Tithe.ly as a side hustle until 2015–when Frank Barry and Steve Klein entered the picture. With a combined background in technology, ministry, and finances, the three met up in San Diego, California, and shook hands on an idea that would change the culture of giving for tens of thousands of churches all over the world. 

Where is Tithe.ly Today?

Today, Tithe.ly serves 37,000 churches all over the world, providing church members an easy, convenient way to give. Since its inception as a giving tool, Tithe.ly has expanded to include a full suite of affordable tools for churches to build an online presence, improve workflows, and run church online–including a website builder, custom app builder, and even free church media.  

But it all started with a desire to serve the Church and a “yes” to a God-sized opportunity.  

“In 2014, I was kind of worn out. I didn't know what I was going to do,” says Dean. “I didn't want to go back into full-time ministry, but I loved serving God. Sometimes God brings things in front of you and He's like, Here's an opportunity. Do you want to do it?

Dean said “yes,” and today, tens of thousands of churches have adopted online giving, boosted generosity, and have been able to thrive during difficult seasons (like COVID). 

To learn more about what Tithe.ly can do for your church, click here

podcast transcript

(Scroll for more)
AUTHOR
Kelsey Yarnell

Kelsey is a SaaS content writer, a Southern California native, and a follower of Christ. When she's not crafting content for up-and-coming tech companies, she's running, surfing, or exploring her adopted hometown of San Diego.

When Tithe.ly CEO Dean Sweetman walked into a Starbucks one morning to order a latte, he never dreamed that this visit would turn into one of the biggest adventures of his life. 

After using Starbucks’ new mobile ordering system for the first time, Dean had an idea. 

If I can use my smartphone to order a coffee, why can’t I use my smartphone to give to church?

This simple question was the beginning of Tithe.ly–now one of the largest tithing platforms in the world. 

A Passion for the Church 

A former lead pastor, Dean has always been passionate about serving the Church. He has also been passionate about the business side of church. How do you run a church well, and make sure that the church has more than enough resources to do God’s work?

“Church is not a business. Church is building God's kingdom, preaching the gospel, and doing good works,” explains Dean. “But there is a business side of church. When you generate revenue, you are able to reinvest that revenue.”

Generating revenue relies on the generosity of a church’s people, for the most part. 

“God wants people to give for two reasons,” says Dean. “Most importantly, we give to elevate Him above our propensity for greed when it comes to money. Two, we give to fund the work of the Church.”

But even as a lead pastor of his church in Atlanta, Dean saw two core problems with giving and church. One, churches are typically open for only a few hours on Sunday morning–providing a very limited window to give. Two, recurring giving can be difficult to set up. 

The result is that without online giving, churches don’t receive nearly as much as they could in donations…and as a result, they don’t reach their full potential. 

A Mobile Order → A Brilliant Idea 💡

By 2012, Apple’s app store was up and running. Dean, being a bit of a technology buff, wanted to try out the Starbucks mobile app when it was first released. 

“I put in my order to the app for an iced latte, went to the Starbucks that I went to just about every day, and said, ‘I'd like to pay with the app this morning.’”

Dean continues, “I had to show the girl at the counter what the app was. After she made my drink, I thought, Wouldn't it be great if giving in church could be that easy?”

Dean then explained the idea to his oldest son Barnabas, who came back six months later with the first version of the app, which included a feature for recurring giving. 

“I stood up in front of my church in Atlanta and announced the app,” says Dean. “Donations started flooding in.”

But even after introducing the app to his own church with great success, Dean kept Tithe.ly as a side hustle until 2015–when Frank Barry and Steve Klein entered the picture. With a combined background in technology, ministry, and finances, the three met up in San Diego, California, and shook hands on an idea that would change the culture of giving for tens of thousands of churches all over the world. 

Where is Tithe.ly Today?

Today, Tithe.ly serves 37,000 churches all over the world, providing church members an easy, convenient way to give. Since its inception as a giving tool, Tithe.ly has expanded to include a full suite of affordable tools for churches to build an online presence, improve workflows, and run church online–including a website builder, custom app builder, and even free church media.  

But it all started with a desire to serve the Church and a “yes” to a God-sized opportunity.  

“In 2014, I was kind of worn out. I didn't know what I was going to do,” says Dean. “I didn't want to go back into full-time ministry, but I loved serving God. Sometimes God brings things in front of you and He's like, Here's an opportunity. Do you want to do it?

Dean said “yes,” and today, tens of thousands of churches have adopted online giving, boosted generosity, and have been able to thrive during difficult seasons (like COVID). 

To learn more about what Tithe.ly can do for your church, click here

VIDEO transcript

(Scroll for more)

When Tithe.ly CEO Dean Sweetman walked into a Starbucks one morning to order a latte, he never dreamed that this visit would turn into one of the biggest adventures of his life. 

After using Starbucks’ new mobile ordering system for the first time, Dean had an idea. 

If I can use my smartphone to order a coffee, why can’t I use my smartphone to give to church?

This simple question was the beginning of Tithe.ly–now one of the largest tithing platforms in the world. 

A Passion for the Church 

A former lead pastor, Dean has always been passionate about serving the Church. He has also been passionate about the business side of church. How do you run a church well, and make sure that the church has more than enough resources to do God’s work?

“Church is not a business. Church is building God's kingdom, preaching the gospel, and doing good works,” explains Dean. “But there is a business side of church. When you generate revenue, you are able to reinvest that revenue.”

Generating revenue relies on the generosity of a church’s people, for the most part. 

“God wants people to give for two reasons,” says Dean. “Most importantly, we give to elevate Him above our propensity for greed when it comes to money. Two, we give to fund the work of the Church.”

But even as a lead pastor of his church in Atlanta, Dean saw two core problems with giving and church. One, churches are typically open for only a few hours on Sunday morning–providing a very limited window to give. Two, recurring giving can be difficult to set up. 

The result is that without online giving, churches don’t receive nearly as much as they could in donations…and as a result, they don’t reach their full potential. 

A Mobile Order → A Brilliant Idea 💡

By 2012, Apple’s app store was up and running. Dean, being a bit of a technology buff, wanted to try out the Starbucks mobile app when it was first released. 

“I put in my order to the app for an iced latte, went to the Starbucks that I went to just about every day, and said, ‘I'd like to pay with the app this morning.’”

Dean continues, “I had to show the girl at the counter what the app was. After she made my drink, I thought, Wouldn't it be great if giving in church could be that easy?”

Dean then explained the idea to his oldest son Barnabas, who came back six months later with the first version of the app, which included a feature for recurring giving. 

“I stood up in front of my church in Atlanta and announced the app,” says Dean. “Donations started flooding in.”

But even after introducing the app to his own church with great success, Dean kept Tithe.ly as a side hustle until 2015–when Frank Barry and Steve Klein entered the picture. With a combined background in technology, ministry, and finances, the three met up in San Diego, California, and shook hands on an idea that would change the culture of giving for tens of thousands of churches all over the world. 

Where is Tithe.ly Today?

Today, Tithe.ly serves 37,000 churches all over the world, providing church members an easy, convenient way to give. Since its inception as a giving tool, Tithe.ly has expanded to include a full suite of affordable tools for churches to build an online presence, improve workflows, and run church online–including a website builder, custom app builder, and even free church media.  

But it all started with a desire to serve the Church and a “yes” to a God-sized opportunity.  

“In 2014, I was kind of worn out. I didn't know what I was going to do,” says Dean. “I didn't want to go back into full-time ministry, but I loved serving God. Sometimes God brings things in front of you and He's like, Here's an opportunity. Do you want to do it?

Dean said “yes,” and today, tens of thousands of churches have adopted online giving, boosted generosity, and have been able to thrive during difficult seasons (like COVID). 

To learn more about what Tithe.ly can do for your church, click here

AUTHOR
Kelsey Yarnell

Kelsey is a SaaS content writer, a Southern California native, and a follower of Christ. When she's not crafting content for up-and-coming tech companies, she's running, surfing, or exploring her adopted hometown of San Diego.

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