While eGiving provides electronic giving and online giving tools for both churches and Christian parachurch organizations, we realize that some unique hang-ups and benefits apply to churches getting started with our program. While we offer each of our clients individualized training, guidance, and support, many church leaders will find the following categories of concerns relevant to their situation.
Safety and Security
When givers express concerns regarding the safety and security of online giving, this issue is usually related to a lack of familiarity regarding financial technology tools. As online banking and electronic bill-pay options become increasingly popular, such concerns are dwindling. The overall confidence in electronic giving by those in the church will likely increase as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age and generations of web-natives eclipse that generation in number. In the mean time, though, new technology is typically embraced more slowly in Christian circles, as is almost any new trend. The same general conservatism that causes reticence to accept new worship styles can apply to how financial gifts are processed and accepted.
eGiving uses mature, commercial grade processors and banks. The American Christian Credit Union handles the electronic checks. We meet all PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards, as well, providing optimum security. Those who carefully research the topic of online security will discover that today’s EFTs are much more secure than paper checks, particularly those sent through the US Mail. We also provide non-electronic forms and strategies for those allergic to web processing but who would set up a recurring gift with their church or ministry to be a blessing.
In addition to concerns over safety and security, some church leaders face giver concerns (and even personal qualms) over applying technologically advanced giving options when it comes to the biblical concept of tithing. Whether you believe that a strict 10% or “storehouse” tithing applies to churches of today or that grace giving is in order, you probably believe that Scripture does offer some relevant parameters regarding how we are to give: cheerfully, faithfully, and privately. In addition, the idea of giving as part of worship – namely, taking place during the actual worship service – needs to be addressed.
With electronic or online giving, the ideals of faithfulness and privacy are far more easily achieved than with the more traditional paper check modus operandi , but the issue of cheerfully giving as part of a worship service certainly bears consideration. Does online tithing eliminate the ability to worship in this manner? Let’s look at it from another perspective: Does putting a paper check into the offering also eliminate cheerful giving during a worship service? A paper check is merely a promise to pay later; the funds will not actually transfer as the check touches the offering plate. In fact, depending on when the funds are actually counted and deposited in the church account, it may take several days to be processed. Some churches equate EFT transfers with paper check giving by having their givers place small pre-printed giving cards in the offering, indicating the already-in-process weekly gift.
Whether the amount is automatically deducted from our bank accounts each week or we write out checks just like we do for bills, we are responsible to have hearts that delight in giving. Success or failure in that area cannot be reduced to any observable action: Instead, it is a matter of the heart.
A deep study here reveals that giving is required of us… the joy is optional. Obedience to give faithfully is the root of our joy and not dependent on method. One can easily take joy when they review their bank statement.