162. Online Giving

162. Online Giving

As we are beginning to manage our own finance, we are implementing a new way to give. We are introducing online giving. So, starting from next year, I encourage those who plan to give to our church to give online. It doesn’t mean cash/cheque giving is no longer available. But we recommend online giving for the following reasons.

First of all, every form of payment is a technology that will always evolve and change. Those who think cash (or cheque) is the only proper way to give to church, consider that cash was a “technology” that replaced barter system, which involved carrying animals or goods as a payment method, which was a great hassle.

There are some Christians who has a pushback about the idea of online/mobile giving. I think it is because they equate act of bringing “wealth” (in the form of cash/cheque) to God as part of worship. It was true during the Old Testament period, when bringing “physical” offering (animal or grain) to the tabernacle/temple was the major act of worship and sacrifice.

But in the New Testament period, we are now to bring sacrifice of “praise” (Hebrews 13:15) and Apostle Paul emphasizes
generosity (2 Corinthians 8:1-15), not the form of giving. Of course, putting an envelope in an offering basket may feel more “worshipful” for some than pressing a button on a screen. But a giving that honours God has more to do with grateful and generous heart than an external form of giving.

On a practical level, most young people don’t use cash or cheques anymore. (including myself!) Church doesn’t have to adopt every latest technology, but online payment is already the standard form of payment in our daily lives. Yes, it takes discipline to give but we don’t have to make it harder than is by allowing the friction to remain.

For many people, the biggest aversion to online giving is transaction “fee”. But our giving provider gives an option to cover or not to cover the fee. In no way you are obligated to cover the fee and we will be thankful that you gave.

If you are a regular giver and plan to give online, we recommend that you choose “recurring giving” option as it is the most preferred method. Because it makes it easier for us to project our future income, and have a more accurate budget for upcoming year, which helps us to manage God’s resources more faithfully.

But the biggest reason for encouraging online giving is that it reduces a lot of accounting work of finance team, as it automates counting and reporting of each giving. The saved time can be better used to minister to people instead.