“All the feedback we’ve gotten so far has been positive. It’s so convenient and easy to use. We’ve had no negative feedback at all in the last three years from our congregation.”
For 60 years, Grace Church in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, has been a beacon of light in its suburban Cleveland community. Located in a residential area in the Midwest, Grace Church has been anything but average.
In its six decades of history, more than 9,000 people have come to faith in Christ at Grace, and 4,000 people have been baptized. Today, with an average attendance of around 3,700 people, the church continues to grow (with close to 200 baptisms last year alone). Its six vibrant venues and worship services are at the center of the church’s efforts to engage the community.
But the church isn’t just about what happens on Sunday mornings. Right from the start, Grace Church focused heavily on missions, sending teams all around the world—from local trips to nearby Cleveland to Oak Hill, WV, to Burkina Faso, New Guinea, Mexico, and the Philippines. They also partner with ministries around the world to share the gospel and serve people. Around a quarter of all money given to the church goes toward missions projects outside of their immediate community (over $20 million in the past 60 years).
Like many other churches throughout North America, Grace Church had a vibrant digital worship experience that drew in people who wouldn’t step foot in a traditional church. But the church’s digital giving solution was limited, and anyone interested in recurring giving options had to endure a complicated process to get started. Very few givers went through that hassle, and the church’s recurring giving levels remained low, at about 1 percent of average attendees. Grace Church leaders realized they needed a better solution to more fully engage their church and help people give, no matter where they were.
As the church researched digital giving options, Pushpay’s ease of use became a key feature. In just a few taps, people could give— and even become recurring givers. Plus, Grace Church heard great reports from other churches about how well the platform worked for them, both from the end users’ perspective and administratively for the church staff.
As the church continued to explore mobile giving, some people expressed concern about the fees that accompanied it. The vast majority of their giving hadn’t been online previously, so fees hadn’t been an issue.
“But that’s just the cost of doing business in a digital space,” said Steve Harper, the church’s associate pastor. “When you consider that you have volunteers who have to count the money and take it to the bank, a digital solution was much safer. We felt it was worth the fees to provide this kind of solution for those who attend the church.”
By the end of 2015, Grace was a Pushpay customer.
In recent years, Grace Church has become much more intentional about their offering time. They began putting slides up on video screens, both during the giving time and at the end of worship services, that helped people understand how to give using their mobile phones.
During the church’s membership class, Associate Pastor Steve Harper introduces giving by showing new members how to text the church’s keyword to 77977, visit the web link they are sent, and give on the spot.
“All the feedback we’ve gotten so far has been positive,” says John Guenther, the church’s administration pastor. “It’s so convenient and easy to use. We’ve had no negative feedback at all in the last three years from our congregation.”
In three years, the percentage of donations given digitally to the church has increased from 8% to 26%. The church’s weekly, per-capita giving is $33.56 (21% above the national average).
A quarter of that giving is now being invested in causes outside of the church. That means more money is given to missions as well as other ministries within the community.
Statistics show that only 20 percent of regular church attendees regularly give financial support. Why are the other 80 percent getting lost? There are lots of possible answers to that question, so w...