The 21st-Century Offering

The 21st-Century Offering

“Digital offerings will be the end of the offering as worship.” That is what someone wrote to me many years ago when I wrote a post encouraging churches to set up online giving. Ten years later, my response is still the same as I gave then: the offering isn’t dead due to technology, but it has changed.

Then came Covid-19. “We will never pass an offering plate again.” I remember the first time a pastor told me that. Nothing in our lifetimes has changed the offering more, and yet I still contend that the offering is not dead; it’s different. I’ll explore that in this edition of the Coach, entitled The 21st-Century Offering.

The offering has always been changing throughout the history of the church. First-century Christians gave in coins, and the Bible is silent on how they gave those coins. The Bible doesn’t tell us the means by which an offering is to be taken up. Down through the centuries, the means of the offering have changed. What will the offering of the 21st century look like?

The critical point is not how we give but that we give. I believe that the offering time should be a meaningful and worshipful part of every service. The question for us in the 21st century is how to accomplish this. So, here are some thoughts on the 21st-century offering. First, let’s talk about…

How to Take Up an Offering in This Day of Digital Giving.

Focus on the meaning of the offering, not the means of collecting the offering. First and foremost, the offering is to be a time of worship. Giving is biblical. Psalm 66:13 says, “I will come into your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you.” Paul in I Corinthians 16:2 says, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” That’s just two of many verses that speak of giving as a means of worship. In the 21st century, we must elevate the offering as worship, not eliminate it.

While not passing the plate might have been disastrous thirty years ago, you can take up the offering anywhere at any time with today’s technology. You don’t need an offering plate, but you do need to focus on the offering. Any church can increase giving when they elevate the offering, treating it not as an interruption to worship but as an integral part of worship. This is why we recommend spending at least as much time focusing on the importance and impact of the offering as you do on making announcements.

Churches that have eliminated the offering time have stopped one of the best ways to teach biblical stewardship. We must…

Make disciples who understand the power of generosity. The bottom line is that if we teach people what the Bible says about giving, then no matter the means by which they give, they will still give. Help your members understand that their giving changes the lives of others and changes their lives as well. That is the power of generosity.

So, in my mind, the question is not, will we take up the offering in the 21st century by how will we take it up? My contention is that whether it is electronic or real cash, we must set up the offering. To do that, you always need to help people see what their gifts will accomplish for Kingdom work. I call that connecting the dots.

Also, if you want to increase giving, give people multiple options by which they can give. Yet, understand that you will always need to help them understand why giving matters and what their giving will accomplish.

Let me summarize my advice for the 21st-century offering with these Five Keys on How to Receive the Offering.

  1. Give the offering equal priority as the announcements: equal planning time and equal platform time.
  2. Plan out each and every offering. Always! I offer over 500 talks to help you make the offering worshipful and impactful. I call them Missions and Ministry Moments. Telling the story of how you are changing the world one life at a time and inviting people to support you is the door to increasing giving and givers.
  3. Make it easy for people to give in their favorite way. With today’s technology, the offering plate is open 24/7. My sponsor,,, provides ten-plus ways for people to give, from Crypto to text giving. The easier you make it for people to give, the more apt they are to give.
  4. Never, ever forget that the offering is worship. Instead of killing it, hiding it, ignoring it, why don’t we make it worshipful? What could your team do with all that creativity they possess if they saw the offering not as an intrusion upon their time but as what it is: worship? I firmly believe that it is not that we ask for money that turns people off. It was how we asked. Guilt never works. Let’s change the offering time by making it better.
  5. Make the “Ask” and Stop Apologizing! Look in the eye of that camera and into the eyes of your people, smile, and make the “ask!” Look, I get I’m the money guy. But think about what you are asking them to do. You are asking them to join you in worshipping God with our gifts. You are asking them to help you make a difference in the lives of others with their generosity. Let’s invite everyone to join us and stop wasting time telling them they don’t have to give. Like they can’t figure that out? Stop apologizing for the offering, and you will see your offerings go up!

That’s it. Do these five things every week in some fashion. Think and plan it out across all platforms. Each week. Why?

The easiest, quickest, and frankly most enjoyable way to increase giving is by taking your offering time to the next level.

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach

Missions and Ministry Moment (aka Offering Talk) – This week’s talk can be accessed after you register at:

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