Lent Newsletter Excerpt | Digital Giving

Written by Pastor Steve Berkenpas, Lead Pastor

This past year, after a significant shortfall three quarters into the year, we made our budget. This prompted us to singing in Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow – acapella – in the service. It was fitting response of praise to God for how he has blessed us. While this song normally fits at the end of a service as a parting blessing, it is particularly well suited in response to our offerings as we give out of gratitude for the goodness that God has done. That is always the setting for our giving and why we keep our giving as part of our worship services and not something we simply tack on at the end or add as a separate task to do on our own.

However, something has changed in the past few years that removes giving from our time of worship: digital giving. While automatic withdrawals have been a thing for decades, the prominence of online giving over the past few years has been another thing all together. Looking at our totals, nearly 50% of giving was digital. While we recognize this is fitting, as much of our financial dealings happen digitally these days – we also recognize something significant gets lost. Unless people are pressing the ‘donate now’ button during the offertory song on Sunday, giving is no longer situated as part of our worship service. The solution is not to ban online giving but, instead, to think of ways of emphasizing giving as an act of worship.

One thing that we want to try in this upcoming season, is a Commitment Card. This card does not represent a certain dollar amount or anything like that. It is simply a card that can be placed in the offering basket during our offering as a physical reminder that the digital giving done earlier this week was part of our worship. The purpose of this is not so that we can see who is giving and who isn’t – it is giving an opportunity to recover giving in its proper place of worship – praise God to whom all blessings flow!

Reminder | First Fruits 

The temptation with giving digitally or through PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance) is to ‘set it and forget it.’ This can happen in our routines where we just give the amount we always give. Last October, Pastor Steve talked about this in terms of “First Fruits” in his sermon. Now, as we enter a new year, we get the chance to practice first fruits giving. What does it mean to be intentional in what your give and how much you give at the start of the year – offering what you have in worship before God?