A friend of mine has a link to an interesting article about churches beginning to use ATM like devices to facilitate giving via credit and debit cards.
I have copied my comments on his post here:
I agree, we should think about it...and commit joyfully by conviction to give.
BUT - Sandy, to be honest, I don't have a problem with this. A wooden box at the back of a church collects cash, I am not opposed to have an electronic box at the back of the church which swipes cards. Now my acceptance is not carte blanch, so...
Here are my rejoinders:
- The cost of the technology should be brought down to a reasonable range before implementation. I think 5K is too much. Any expenditure must be weighed with the other budgetary values of the church (missions, the poor, etc.)
- Mimicking an ATM in style and initials is not what I would do. It takes the focus away from God and the purpose of giving. I would have a small touch screen, linked to the church web site which could take a card swipe. It would be relatively inexpensive for a church who is already set up to take cards for event registrations, etc.
- I would use it as an opportunity to teach biblical truth on giving, preach against consumer debt and misuse of credit cards, etc.
- In the new members class I would explain the expectation for members to contribute to the local mission of teh gospel and the avenues they can use to do so. Electronic Fund Transfers, cash or check in the box in the back, etc.
No one is dropping rabbit skins in the offering, nor gold coins, but they do drop cash, checks, and I think debit cards would be fine.
But I also do not fear the 666 cashless end times scenarios that many do...maybe because my eschatology is moving more in the reformed direction as the result of the new Left Behind video games.
HT - Sandy Young