Why are we transitioning from passing the plate for offering to using offering boxes? Here’s our story.
For as far back as I can remember, possibly my entire tenure as Senior Pastor, we have taken our offering at the end of the service. We have done so primarily because of the value we place on Communication Cards. Taking up Communication Cards early in the service (before the sermon) does not allow for people to indicate first-time decisions or to respond in other ways using the cards (e.g., sign-ups, requests for information, prayer requests, comments). Taking the Cards early is very important in our discipleship strategy.
Every worship leader we’ve had has virtually begged me to get rid of the offering at the end of the service because of how anti-climactic it feels to sit back down after the final worship song. My response has been that it would negatively impact our Com Card strategy and (more importantly) our discipleship strategy.
But when I saw an online conversation about offering boxes between pastors of large churches in our denomination, it caught my attention. Several of these churches, including one of the largest EFCA churches, uses offering boxes instead of passing the plate.
The rationale for the boxes differ for each church, but here are some of the main points from the discussion:
- Passing the plate is a modern invention. Offering boxes have been the norm dating back to biblical times (2 Kings 12:9; Mark 12:41). This is not a matter of being more “biblical.” It’s simply to say that it’s a time-honored practice.
- When we take the offering, hardly anything goes into the baskets besides Com Cards because so much is given automatically and because people often give once per month.
- The anecdotal evidence suggests that this move does not result in reduced offerings.
Our rationale includes two additional factors peculiar to our situation:
- This gives us the ability to end the service shortly after the last song without having to sit back down. There is a bit of fatigue at the end of the service. It’s challenging to sit back down and listen well at that point in our service. So it tends to undermine the effectiveness of our announcements.
- We are able to integrate offering into Response even better with the boxes. This further reinforces the fact that giving is an act of worship. People can choose to use them during response time. But for those who prefer, they can give on the way out.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is that our folks continue to turn in there Com Cards as they have before. I love that a couple of our ushers shared the same concern with us. So, keep filling our and turning in those Com Card!