by Matt Morris
We live in an increasingly digital world, and churches need to stay on top of things technologically. Just as digital Bibles on smartphones and tablets have increased in popularity, so also e-giving has become much more common and important.
For churches that don’t know where to start with adding an e-giving option, and for churches that want to encourage greater e-giving, here are a few things to consider.
1. E-giving helps develop members’ habit of giving regularly. Let’s think optimistically. The sermon series you preached on stewardship worked. You have people in your congregation who have never given who want to start.
You also have people in your congregation who have given sporadically before, but want to give on a regular basis. E-giving allows members to give regularly by setting up recurring tithes and offerings.
According to a Lifeway Research study, churches that have implemented e-giving have seen an 8 percent increase in total giving, on average.
2. E-giving allows you to engage younger generations. Take out your wallet and see how much cash you have. Better yet, take out your checkbook. Remember those? Do you even carry a checkbook anymore? I sure don’t.
And if you ask me to borrow a dollar, chances are I’ll say, “Sorry. I don’t carry cash.” I’m probably not alone. According to a Barna study, 39 percent of Christian Millennials give online, and 20 percent give via text.
Naturally, e-giving better serves younger generations in their giving habits. Online, mobile, and text giving allow you to reach to even more people and meet them where they are.
3. E-giving can be safe and secure. When I talk to pastors, one of the top reasons they give for not offering online giving is that it’s not safe.
But e-giving is exactly like online banking. It’s not uncommon for people to pay all or most of their bills online.
The payment card industry has levels of security that need to be met before a transaction can be processed. That’s true for e-giving as well.
4. E-giving can be a worship experience. Another reason pastors give for not offering e-giving is that it isn’t worshipful. However, I think the worship experience is what you make it.
Making stewardship a priority by sitting down with your spouse and children one night a week and giving your tithe can be a worship experience.
Parents can use that opportunity to teach their kids that God calls us to be cheerful givers and why we are called to give.
5. E-giving can provide flexibility to you and your members. There are various mediums of e-giving. The most common is online giving, allowing your members to give through your website.
The other less common forms are mobile giving, text giving, and kiosk giving. Some people may prefer to give on your website, while others may prefer to give via mobile app or text.
Another area of flexibility is payment method. Some churches are opposed to accepting credit cards and only want to accept debit cards and checks, while others may want to accept checks only.
Partnering with a company that offers all three is the best scenario. Twenty:28 is a solution Lifeway launched earlier this year that offers website development, mobile apps, and e-giving in one ecosystem.
Another consideration is the possibility of funding your church’s digital presence with e-giving. Twenty:28 customers who meet a giving threshold, based on the pricing plan they choose, will receive their website and mobile app free of charge.
In essence, the more a church uses it, the less it costs. This enables churches to better connect with their congregation and community through their website and mobile app, while allowing members to serve their church through faithful stewardship.
Good stewardship and generosity are an integral part of following Christ, individually and collectively as the church. Giving truly is a worship experience, and e-giving is just another way for people and churches to honor God with the resources He has graciously provided for us.
Matt Morris (@MattMorris80) leads digital strategy and electronic publishing for Lifeway.