Saturday, May 07, 2016

Giving from the Heart...& Online

In the past week or so I have placed online orders with Amazon, Mountain Equipment Coop, TSC (a honkin' big item!) and a company that produces plasticized topographical maps. I am diverse in my consumerism. All those orders were processed immediately and shipped before the estimated time. I have received three of the four ahead of schedule. 
We also contributed to the Red Cross emergency relief fund for Alberta and immediately received confirmation of our gift. We made a contribution to Ecuadorean Relief as well, through Bridge St Church, the United Church of Canada, and our partnership with Act Alliance. While I could have done so online, I prefer to contribute through my local congregation. Unfortunately we are like most congregations, with only "old school" methods for special contributions. I rummaged around for a cheque, and gave that way.

At a recent staff meeting we discussed the successful use of a tablet and credit card "square" to take payment at a Silent Auction at the church. Well over a thousand dollars came in through that method. which was not bad at all. When the discussion came to making this available on Sundays some were "fer it" and others "agin it." My own feeling is that we use the methods which are most effective and which reflect the changes in our culture. I can't recall any scripture references to cheques, or offering plates. So why are these sacred? We now give through Pre-Authorized Remittance or PAR. This keeps us on the straight and narrow, which is generally a good thing in churches.

There are now smartphone apps such as, Pushpay, and EasyTithe. It's interesting that two of the three use traditional language for what is an up-to-the moment form of contributing to the life and work of Christ's church.

What are your thoughts? Is using credit card readers and apps crass, or does it just make sense? Would you use one of these methods, if available?

1 comment:

Frank said...

Alternative methods to receive donations can be seen as one part of a comprehensive stewardship strategy to finance church operations, especially convenient for visitors.
In Jesus day it was the use of Roman currency. Noting Caesar's image on the coin, Jesus prompted with the admonition 'Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but render unto God the things that are God's'.
Having alternative options available in an unobtrusive manner might be worthwhile.