COVID Didn’t Kill The Offering We DidMark Brooks
Will COVID-19 be the end of the church collection plate? That was the headline of a Baptist Press article recently. https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/will-covid-19-be-the-end-of-the-church-collection-plate/ You should read it as it contains interesting facts. The assumption is that the pandemic and online giving have made passing a physical plate irrelevant. While that might be true, let’s be honest. COVID19 did not kill the offering we did by devaluing any talk of money. The Contemporary Church Movement sought to make the church more acceptable to non-church people and thus many stopped taking up an offering well before the pandemic. This was the first step in the devaluation of the offering.
We need to understand what I wrote recently for the online company Gyve https://gyve.com/ in a post entitled, “The Offerings Not Dead; It’s Different. In answer to the Baptist Press article here is that post.
“We won’t be passing an offering plate for the rest of 2020.” That was what a pastor told me recently as we were talking about the steps they were taking to open back fully. My guess is you are in the same boat. I must tell you that the pastor’s comment startled me.
Honestly, I think the reality of how much change we are processing finally hit home with his comment. For as long as we can remember, there has always been an offering plate, basket, bucket, or some means of giving. Even churches that stopped passing a plate or bucket still have places where people could give. Now, as we social distance, the act of passing a plate is seen as a potential health risk. Even dropping your offering in a box carries a risk for whoever might touch that next.
Is this the end of the offering? Some might ask, wasn’t the offering doomed anyway with the rise of online giving? I mean, I get that you are reading this on our online site. Without online giving, most of you reading this right now might have had to close your doors for good. Exactly! The fact that most of your giving is now coming by some sort of electronic means proves the title of this post that the offering is not dead, it’s different.
I have been writing, offering talks for years. I have hundreds of talks in my vault. I write a new fresh talk every week for my clients. I have tons of written material on taking up the offering from blog posts to articles to manuals to books. In over 20 years of helping churches increase generosity, I have found that the easiest way to do that is through improving the offering time.
At the same time, I have found that improving the offering time often gets push back from church leadership. Offering planning and preparation is usually non-existent for most churches. Here is a question. How much time do you spend each week planning out what you are going to say before you take up the offering?
When I start coaching a church, I find that one of the first things I must do is help them to,
Rethink the Attitude About the Offering
“Just as we get going in worship, we have to stop and take up the offering.” That was a comment of a staff member, in one of America’s largest churches, made to me a few years ago when I was working to reverse their decline in giving. I often find this kind of attitude when I begin working with a church.
I think a significant reason is that we fear any talk of money will drive people away. After all, doesn’t everyone know that all a church ever talks about is money?
To attract guests, we have downplayed the offering. The typical church offering usually starts with an announcement that guests are not required to give. Our attitude is that the offering is an inconvenient intrusion upon our time or worship. It is a necessary evil that we tuck away at the end or during some other important worship. Could our attitude be a part of our giving problem?
Do you believe? Do you believe that God has called Christians to make disciples for Jesus? Do you believe in the mission of your church to fulfill that calling? Do you believe in the mission work your church supports? Do you believe in the work you do for your church?
The Right Attitude – My mission, to impact my world for Jesus, is given to me by God. We are changing the world one life at a time. Since all this is true, why would a Christian NOT want to give money to support that mission?
If you adopt this kind of attitude, you will never be afraid to ask people to give to support the work of ministry. You will ask with boldness because you believe!
The offering is not an interruption to worship; the offering is worship. Both Old and New Testaments point out that the offering is worship. Instead of apologizing for taking up the offering, why don’t we make it worshipful for everyone?
When you have the right attitude about the offering, you are ready to help people connect the dots. Connecting the dots is by telling and showing people how their generosity helps support life change and Kingdom building!
I wrote the above in May of 2020 and I stand by these comments. Its time we realized that WE are the biggest enemy to the offering. Let’s re-evaluate how we receive the offering but we must never eliminate the biblical concept of worshipping with our offerings. Let me show you how!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach
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