In 2 Corinthians, Paul demonstrated the call of stewardship to the church in support of Macedonian believers. He said:
"The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow in you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work" (2 Cor. 9:6-8, HCSB).
Church leaders today face many challenges. One of the most prominent challenges not only is preaching on stewardship to their congregation, but also encouraging members to give in a growing, digital world. Attention spans are short. Print Bibles are not as commonplace in people’s hands as they once were. Digital Bibles on smartphones and tablets have replaced them. For churches that don’t know where to start, and for churches that want to move from the plateau, I would like to make a few points for consideration.
1) Egiving 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 never have given, but who want to start giving. You also have people in your congregation who have given sporadically before, but want give on a regular basis. Egiving allows members to give regularly by setting up recurring tithes and offerings. According to a LifeWay Research study, churches who have implemented egiving have seen an 8 percent increase in total giving on average.
2) Egiving allows you to engage the younger generations. Take out your wallet and see how much cash you have. Better yet, take out your checkbook. Remember those? Do you carry a checkbook anymore? I sure don’t. 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, egiving better serves younger generations in their giving habits. Online, mobile and text giving allows you to reach to more people and meet them where they are.
3) Egiving can be safe and secure. When I talk to pastors, the top reasons they give for not offering online giving is either 1) it’s not a worship experience, or 2) it’s not safe. First, I think the worship experience is what you make it. Making stewardship a priority by sitting down with your spouse and children one night each week and giving your tithe can be a worship experience. You can take that opportunity to teach them that God calls us to be cheerful givers and why we are called to give. Second, it is safe—very safe. I often ask pastors who give this reason how he and his wife pay their bills. Who wants to take a guess at what their No. 1 answer is? Yep. Online. They don’t realize that’s exactly what egiving is. Most never have heard the term PCI compliance. They don’t understand that the Payment Card Industry has levels of security that need to be met before a transaction can be processed; it’s the same as online banking.
4) Egiving can provide flexibility to you and your members. There are various mediums of egiving. 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 your mobile app or via text. Another layer of flexibility is which payment method(s) the church chooses to accept. 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 the offers the ability of all three is the best scenario. One consideration not common across all other egiving platforms is the very real possibility of funding your church’s digital presence with egiving. twenty:28 is a solution that launched earlier this year offering website development, mobile apps and egiving in one ecosystem. 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 allows churches to better connect with their congregations and communities through their websites and mobile apps, but allows members to serve their churches through faithful stewardship.
Giving truly is a worship experience. Egiving can enrich that experience. Without it, we miss out on an incredible way of becoming more like Christ as individuals and coporately.