Is Online Giving Biblical?
This issue is focused on helping you increase your recurring giving. We thought it might be helpful to ask, is online giving biblical? Of course, online giving isn’t mentioned in the Bible. How can we answer the question then?
Just because you cannot find online giving mentioned in the Bible doesn’t mean giving online is not biblical. There is no mention in the Bible of sound systems, and yet most churches use that technology. Much of what we take for granted in our church services, including passing an offering plate, is not mentioned in the Bible. We don’t know how “offerings” mentioned in the New Testament were collected as the Bible is silent. Most scholars will tell you that the offering plate was developed in the early 1900s. The Bible is focused on the why, leaving the how up to us.
Here are a few important realities as we think about this question.
First, change is inevitable. Wise companies realize that they must continually reinvent themselves. The Church must overcome its fear of change or risk being viewed as old-fashioned. Even cultural changes can be met without compromising our theology or principles. Since change is inevitable, wise churches meet the changes with a positive message of hope and stability.
Change is not always evil or wrong. To be sure, the Church cannot accept some of society’s changes in morals. However, changes in methodology and technology are neutral and should not be dismissed as evil or wrong. It’s how the tool is used that makes it evil or good.
While change is inevitable, the Truth stands! The way we do ministry might change, but our ministry will not. We are doing what our forefathers did, communicating the Gospel message. The medium changes but not the message! The old saying applies; keep the main thing the main thing.
We live in the midst of one of the greatest technological revolutions in history. The computing power of our cell phones used to take up whole office floors. That information and technological power now rest in the palm of our hands. It is time we wake up and realize that it is the 21st century, and we rethink and revise how we do everything. Technology and how we process information is changing everything about our society. The Church needs to stay abreast of the times. COVID-19 showed us this.
At the same time, we need to recognize that technology is theologically neutral. We’re sure some in the Church argued against sound systems. Rather than fear technology, we need to embrace it. To that end, we need to…
See change as an opportunity, not a threat. Smart churches take technological opportunities and seize them. Technology gives us wonderful opportunities to connect with the world. Every church should have a website. That website should be mobile-friendly so that it can be read on smartphones and iPads. Every church should use email for communication. We believe that every church should have every means of communicating with its members and their community. Every church should have an online giving platform as our society has moved away from cash and checks. All of these tools enhance our ability to connect with our world. They are not threats. Is your church taking advantage of these opportunities?
The Parable of the Great Banquet is a great word today in this technologically driven world. Jesus tells the story of a man throwing a party to which no one comes. Luke 14:23 says, “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” In other words, to get the banquet table full, they had to go out where the people were. Today people are increasingly online. The Internet is our modern-day highway.
Another passage that comes to mind when we consider online giving is when Paul says in I Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” We in the Church never need to change our message. The Gospel is eternally relevant for every age. Yet how we communicate the Gospel continues to change. First, radio, then television, and now we have many online venues for the Gospel message. It is past time that we become all things electric to save some!
So, if we are to take Scripture seriously, to go into the highways and byways and become all things to all people, should we in the church not be online? What is your church’s online presence? Is online giving biblical? Yes!