Very few industries have been untouched by the rise of digital banking. There’s a whole new generation in the workforce who will never receive a physical paycheck. Because of this change, banks are reorganizing and doing away with tellers. These changes are having an impact on the church, too.
Changes in everyday money handling mean that churches can no longer rely on the traditional offering. It’s not enough anymore to simply offer online giving methods—it’s time to prioritize them.
As any pastor knows, change doesn’t come easy. Despite being comfortable with direct deposits and online bill payments, some church members will still resist digital giving in church.
Here are five of the biggest concerns people have with digital giving, and how to respond:
1. Is my information secure?
With all the stories about identity theft and personal information breaches, it’s natural to be concerned about digital security. But giving solutions like Pushpay are proactive about security. They work with world-class security professionals to review and test their app regularly. This guarantees that data is secure and that there are never problems with service.
If you’re interested in learning more about digital giving security, Pushpay has a whole page dedicated to it. We guarantee that our app is about 2,000 times more secure than handing a waiter your credit card to go and swipe.
2. Is it less spiritual to give digitally?
When we give an offering, we put a physical item that represents value onto the plate. The act of giving something tangible makes it seem important. When you give digitally, nothing physical is exchanged, so it feels different. And when you sign up for recurring giving, the money comes out automatically, so there’s no regular act of giving. Isn’t that less spiritual?
We’re called to sacrificially give to support God’s kingdom. The spirituality lies in the sacrifice of giving, not in how of even what we give. When the Old Testament was written, people gave grains, spices, and animals. In the New Testament, they gave currency (typically in the form of coins). Times change. Thankfully, we no longer have to bring sheep to church.
3. Can I cancel or change my recurring giving amount?
Recurring giving is fantastic for churches. People decide on an amount they want to give, plug it into the app, set a frequency, and let it run. When the time comes, the app transfers the money to the church. This gives churches a steady income they can rely on and mitigates problems that arise from people neglecting or forgetting to give.
But the power lies with the user. They can turn off recurring giving at any time or change the amount. That means next year they can decide to give more.
4. Will digital giving show up on my end-of-year giving statement?
Giving used to be a lot harder to track. If your church used giving envelopes, there was a good chance of getting an accurate giving statement (provided the info was entered regularly). But if you threw cash into the offering, there was no way that it was getting recorded.
A big plus of digital giving is that everything you give is meticulously tracked. Not only will your end-of-year giving statement be more accurate, but you can easily check your progress any time of the year.
5. Am I too old to give digitally?
Technology can feel overwhelming for older people. They’ll often focus their resistance on some imagined fault with the tech, but the truth is that they’re mostly overwhelmed by learning a new app—especially when it affects their finances. This is good news. You can teach them to use an app!
It would be a mistake to write off this demographic. A 2017 Pew Research study found that 42 percent of people over 65 had a smartphone—and that’s more than double the amount in 2013. If you focus on the demographic between 65–69, the number shoots up to 59 percent. That’s a considerable amount of people becoming more comfortable with digital technology.
As you prioritize digital giving in your church, make an effort to come alongside this group and train them to use your app. This can be done from the pulpit or in a class dedicated to getting everyone on board. Once older people see how it’s done, their confidence will soar.
A Change Is Coming. Are You Ready?
There’s no way around it. We’re in the middle of a financial transition. Many of the habits we’ve grown accustomed to over the last few decades are changing. It’s time for churches to change with it. As you educate yourself about the how digital giving will benefit the folks in your church, the easier it will be to make the transition.