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6 Arguments Against Online Giving

It’s 2016 but I still receive pushback in churches about offering electronic giving to their members. There are always reasons for the pushback and often there is internal struggle in the church between groups who want to utilize it and those who don’t. And yes, those groups often are opposite in age range. So here is a list of common reasons I hear for not wanting to offer it, and my responses.

We don’t want to pay the fees.

Yes allowing electronic giving will bring along more fees. But is having 98% of $100 dollars better than having 0% of $100? You will bring in “new money” by offering electronic giving, money that wouldn’t come in otherwise. Not to mention if people are able to set up recurring gifts they will not be as likely to miss their regular giving, which would bring in more money for the church.

That’s the practical part, now for the spiritual part. If you pay some money each month for fees, but because of electronic giving someone in your church has grown in their faith, is it money wasted? Of course not! Churches pay for things to help members grow spiritually all the time, and this is another opportunity.

Here’s the big question, what is giving all about in a church? If your answer is to maintain the budget or even to grow ministries I believe you’re mistaken. God doesn’t need our money to grow ministry. The purpose of giving is for us to show that God is in control, to thank Him for how He’s blessed us, and in return we have the cool opportunity to play a role in spreading the Gospel.

Finally, there are different ways to structure electronic giving. You can pay more per month and less per transaction or more per transaction and less per month. You can communicate which ways of electronic giving have lower fees so your members can choose how they give.

Ask around to churches in your area that offer online giving. Do they regret it? I can assure you the answer is no.

If people really wanted to give they would bring a check to the service.

Yes for your mature Christians they will always make the effort to give. But what about those who aren’t as mature?

What if on Sunday you announced that Sunday School would start the next week at 4:30 am? Sure some of your members would show up because they are that committed to doing whatever it takes. But I’m guessing your visitor count would be low, and most of your fringe members wouldn’t be making the effort. You schedule your Sunday School right near the worship service so it will be easy for your people to make the transition to a small group. See the correlation?

What’s wrong with making it easy for people to give to God?

We don’t want people to go into debt.

I’ve heard this before and I have to laugh. Can someone show me a person they know who has gone broke through giving to a Gospel centered church? Not to some tv evangelist or get rich quick scheme of course because those stories are out there, but to a real God honoring Biblical church?

Those who are giving for the right reasons will never go broke because God honors the heart that gives out of gratitude.

Now if this really is a worry, then you can restrict the use of credit cards if you are so inclined.

We want people to worship by giving in the service.

This is a legitimate concern and I share it. If everyone in the church were giving electronically then the plates would look pretty empty (some of you are saying that they look empty already!). Currently I have a check sent to the church so I’m in the boat with those who have no way to participate.

So allow a way for those who give electronically to participate in worship. I’ve seen laminated cards in the pew that say “I gave electronically” or even giving envelopes that allow a person to check a box saying they gave online. It’s important for our children to see that giving is a priority and guests in the church will also take note if it seems the members are giving generously.

It will cause more work for our financial secretary/treasurer/assistant, etc.

In some cases you might be right. But back to an earlier point, is it worth it if more people in your church are growing in their faith and if the church has more money to support ministry?

From my conversations with church administrators, most say online giving makes their job easier. Many systems automatically sync with the church database so he or she doesn’t have to input every single donation. Also it can cut down on trips to the bank!

One of the biggest advantages is that it eases those slumps that we see during the summer or when weather has an impact on Sunday services. If people are still able to give online, or if they have set up recurring giving then we don’t have to remind them each Sunday to catch up!

We don’t feel it’s Biblical.

I heard this for the first time not long ago, from a former pastor no less. He believed that when the book of Malachi says to “bring all the tithes to the storehouse” it means we should be only giving during Sunday service.

First of all, we must understand that only 10% of the tithe ever made it to the storehouse in the Old Testament. The Israelites took their tithes to the Levites, who then took 10% to the storehouse at the temple for the priests to eat while on duty. Not to mention that already in Malachi God addressed the priests about stealing offerings. (1:13-14). So we must realize this passage is most likely addressed to the priests.

Even still, let’s take that to the New Testament. The early Christians didn’t have a building in which to take their offerings. They were meeting in homes for the most part, and we see in the early church people were bringing their offerings to the disciples to distribute. So were they not giving correctly?

Giving is all about the heart. If I give in Sunday morning worship with the wrong attitude, I might as well not give. If I give online on Tuesday afternoon with the wrong attitude, I might as well not give. Giving is not about the where or when, it’s about the heart.

Nathan Ealy

Nathan spent eight years as a sports radio and television broadcaster before feeling God¹s leading towards serving churches in the area of generosity and giving, just as his father does. Nathan is in his fifth year as a Generosity Strategist, helping churches grow their generosity culture and raise money for ministry projects. Nathan and his wife Laura have two girls under the age of three, Evelyn and Charley Kate.

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