Ah, Covid. As if leading a church were not hard enough, roughly two years ago, Covid came in and disrupted everything in the church’s life, making an already difficult job seemingly impossible. Covid brought many rounds of mandates, rules, and recommendations for the church. The vast majority of churches had to cancel in-person meetings. With the loss of in-person worship services, we saw the loss of personal discipleship, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, baptism, singing, and giving.
As Covid has morphed over the past two years, many, if not most, churches have returned to a large portion of their pre-Covid activities. But I have noticed two activities that have had a more difficult time returning, and they are vital to the health of our churches and its exaltation of Jesus. Two elements that have been lost are communion (the Lord’s Supper) and personal giving (passing the plate).
Yes, we have moved to the lovely Styrofoam wafers and stale juice in the packets. If the flavor was not bad enough, what was once a solemn and respectful time is now interrupted by the joyful noise of the tearing of the packets and the fumbling of trying to open the juice tops. In addition to losing a more reverent communion, we have also missed the blessing of honoring God during the worship service through personal giving.
Some will argue that taking up an offering during the service has nothing to do with worship. Online giving and giving in boxes on the back of the wall before or following the service is just as good as giving while the plate is passed. We can also argue that helping people set up online giving helps the church financially through guaranteed recurring givers. While online giving has increased for us, the cost of processing online giving has risen 300%! For full disclosure, I encourage recurring giving and even give online myself from time to time. But the loss of personal giving during the service robs the giver and the church. We rob the giver from the experience of a very personal intentional opportunity to give as a specific act of worship. I’m sorry, but it is hard for me to worship the Lord while clicking a “give” tab on my computer. Second, we rob the church of the collective act of giving as a part of the worship service. There is a communal joy knowing we are all giving at the same time toward the same cause. I’m not saying to get rid of other means of giving; I’m just saying we need to include the plate back into the fold.
Here at FBC De Soto, we are going back to using the plate and the traditional communion in May. This decision has been made in conjunction with our elders, staff, deacons, and ushers. We will still offer the premade packets for those who feel uncomfortable with the traditional way of communion. We will still have boxes on the back of the wall for the offering and online giving.
We began communicating this change to the church last month through our newsletter and our announcement time during church. We plan to initiate the offering change the first week of May and the Lord’s Supper change during the second Sunday in May. With these changes, we hope to return to a full worship service with more vibrancy to the church member and more reverence to the Lord.