OnlineGivingThe Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Ryan Day

Donate Now. These two words are appearing more and more on church websites across the country. With the revolution of online banking has come the rise of online giving, particularly to one’s church or charity of choice. Many church leaders and members are enthusiastically receiving this new form of giving with broad smiles and open hands. Across denominational lines, church leaders are saying, “This is just another means of collecting funds for the furtherance of the gospel message. It is the offering plate of the 21st century. Why not use it?” Weekly church attenders share a similar excitement: “You mean to tell me I can give to my church right from my desktop, tablet, or smartphone? This is awesome!”

Like a large stone tossed into a lake, the powerful ripples of online giving are having a far-reaching effect on churches across our nation. Pastors and leadership teams are now being forced to decide if the new paradigm of online giving fits into their ministry philosophy. Individual Christians are trying to determine if typing a set of digits into a website is essentially the same thing as putting cash or a check into an offering plate.

What should discerning Christians think about online giving? What are the benefits and drawbacks? Where does online giving intersect with the plain teachings of Scripture? Consider now the good, the bad, and the ugly of online giving.