We have been encouraging the people of Grace Church to explore the possibility of online giving. You can set up your online giving to Grace over here. Kim and I have used this method of giving for years and I really believe in it. Here's why:
1. First Fruits - So many people take care of themselves first financially and then give God the leftovers...if there are any. Many people approach the offering time at church like they are tipping God after enjoying a good meal themselves. The bible commands the opposite approach. God should get our first and our best. The Old Testament talks about the concept of giving God our "first fruits" (a reference that makes the most sense in an agricultural context but the principle still applies to us). Proverbs 3:9 says Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops. Setting up an online giving account allows us to set aside our first fruits for God; to fund God's kingdom before funding our own.
2. Intentional Worship - For many Christians, the act of giving in church is an afterthought. They find themselves rummaging through their wallet or purse in the middle of the service trying to find a few bucks to throw in the plate. Again - the bible commands a better way. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give. There is a heartfelt intentional decision that is involved in cheerful giving. This decision should happen in advance of the actual worship service. Online giving allows us to decide in advance what percentage of our income we will give to God and forces us to be consistent in that giving. Some would argue that the act of dropping a check into the offering plate is the true act of worship and giving online removes this symbolic gesture. I would argue that it's just as worshipful to intentionally decide up front to give regularly, consistently, and generously.
3. Convenience - And last but not least it is simply more convenient to give online. It allows us to be most consistent in our giving. We can be certain that we are giving even when we're out of town for a weekend. It removes the dreaded "I forgot our offering again" moment that plagued Kim and I for many years! We are an online generation that rarely carries cash or checks anymore. Most of our financial transactions happen online. In addition to being personally convenient, it is also more convenient for the church.