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Collecting in the 21st Century


On this site (and elsewhere), I am regularly urging churches and Christians to take up the positives and benefits of 21st-Century (and 20th-Century!) technology.

This is a story where a church IS using available technology.

I was having a drink with a couple of friends when in walked Salvation Army officer Peter Savage with a collection box. My friend said, “I’ve got no cash on me. Do you take EFTPOS?”* Without hesitation, Peter said, “Yes,” and took out what looked like a tiny calculator and his cell phone. The donation was completed not with a card but with my friend transferring money by putting his watch against the “calculator”. Welcome to the 21st Century.

I know some churches now have EFTPOS possibility in the foyers of their buildings. Does your church? Does your church website have the option for website-visitors to give a donation?

Do you have a story of church using the benefits of 21st-century technology?

*EFTPOS – Electronic funds transfer at point of sale.

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Photo by Scott Franklin – used with permission.

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8 thoughts on “Collecting in the 21st Century”

  1. In our parish, I would guess that the largest amount of support comes from monthly direct transfers from folk’s checking accounts. We still use collection baskets, but I think that they are filled with smaller gifts from the children. Now that it’s spring in America, we’ll soon have baskets of fresh, home-grown produce as a part of our offering. The food is then brought to local food pantries.

    1. Bosco Peters

      Yes, this is quite common, Kevin. I think in such a context, I would advocate for a card that those on direct transfers can put into the basket so that they are still participating in the visible offertory. Also, there needs to be regular (annual?) reflection whether the amount going through automatically needs to be changed. Easter Season Blessings.

  2. Ralph Knowles

    I support the idea of a card to put in the offertory basket. I have resisted the repeated exhortations to donate by electronic means because I want something of me to go up to the altar at offertory time.

    Ralph Knowles

    1. Bosco Peters

      I am the same, Ralph. I think there is also an element of “modelling” (struggling for a word here). I often see a collection plate going past pew after pew of people and having only a few coins in it, most people just passing it along. I’m sure many/most are giving electronically or otherwise – but that is not corporately visible (including to newcomers). It’s not about “hey, look at me giving” as much as giving is a natural (essential) part of Christian life. Maybe I’m not expressing this well – are my points coming through? Easter Season Blessings.

      1. I’m a bit uncomfortable with the idea of a card being placed in the collection basket unless it were to serve some practical use. There is a certain concern for appearances alone in the practice if it simply means, “Yes, I have given.”

        As an aside, in some churches in America many years ago, it used to be the practice to shout out how much of an offering an individual gave. How ’bout that?!” (Hahaa!)

  3. I know that the congregation that I attend has the ability to make donations on the website.

    I make my monthly offering through my bank’s Bill Pay facility. I have the church set as a payee and the bank cuts & mails a check each month on a set day in a set amount. I am reminded that I do that and meditate about my offering, every Sunday as the offering basket is passed around during the service.

    1. A side note, that may be of interest, the LDS Church (the Mormons) doesn’t pass offering plates in their services. The LDS Church expects that its members tithe. There are tithing envelopes outside each congregation’s bishop’s office into which they place their offering and identify who made the offering.

      Once a year each member of record, baptized child & adult, have a tithing settlement meeting with their bishop where he asks if they have made a full-tithe during the past year and they respond yes or no. If they haven’t, it is an opportunity to settle the outstanding remainder or be admonished to do better. 🙂

      1. Bosco Peters

        Thanks, David. Is there transparency and accountability how such a large amount is used? Easter Season Blessings.

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