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November 08, 2009


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I don't think any of the "cons" are all that relevant. You're going to tempt others into overspending by visibly using a credit card to donate at church? Seriously!?

There's another "pro" too---for many churches, counting the offering and rolling all the coins, and then putting it aside to take to the bank on Monday--it's a huge hassle and often some of the cash "goes missing" or is flat-out stolen before the deposit can be made.

For me, it's all about convenience. I don't carry more than a few dollars cash at any time & no checks. (Because if I carry cash, I tend to spend it. I'm kind of the opposite of most people! Taking out my credit card to pay for something always seems like a huge commitment to me, whereas spending cash for a cuppa coffee for me & a friend barely registers. But I digress...!) I haven't donated much to the Salvation Army kettle in a looong time for that exact reason. If donating was as easy as buying gas at the gas station, I'd probably do it more.

If you earn cash back, should you tithe it?

^^ Haha.. good question ^^

I always thought it would be better to have a electronic automatic tithe from my bank account rather than put it in an envelope every week. But everyone wants to "look good" in church by actually putting physically into the tithe basket.

@MC -- if seeing someone use credit card to donate money would tempt you to overspend, than maybe you need help? Life is full of temptations - TV commercials, neighbors, magazine adds. If one doesn't learn to resist temptations one has no prayer of getting out of debt. Even if one forgoes cards, one would simply spend all one earns if one isn't able to resist temptations.

I am struggling with this issue myself. The looking good and/or more importantly "peer pressuring" others to donate in the church is a factor. My church allows online giving via their website (automatic monthly if you want it too). Which leads me to 2 follow on questions - one pro and one con really...
1) I enjoy the online giving but don't like to "appear cheap" as if I am snubbing the tithe, etc - but aren't we suppose to give in secret that way we give for the approval of the Lord and not for the approval of man? (so I would classify this as a PRO for online giving)
2) If I were to set up a tithe on my credit card automatically, I think it partly takes away from the weekly "decision" to give/tithe and "give with a joyful heart" as we are commanded to do. If it is automatic, it is less of a test in times of financial hardship since it is automated - of course it is more convenient though. Does this convenience outweight our weekly "decision" to give? (this is what I would classify as the CON)

So I guess the best possible solution would be to give online (in secret) but not automate the process so that you are still making the decision/effort to give each week no matter what your financial condition? Thoughts?

on 2) there are two sides to the issue-you've outlined one nicely, but on the other hand, people who 'choose' each week whether to give based on how the spirit moves statistically give less. Personally, I'm content to define setting up the automatic payment at "giving with a 'joyful heart'" and as a mechanism to help resist temptation when times are tough. For me, the goal is finding ways to help people give successfully over time in a financially sustainable manner. Giving automatically out of a budget seems like a good way to me.
Now personally, I like the feeling of physically putting a check in the offering each month, the mix of regret and giving away something I worked hard for, and offering something of myself to a more important cause is useful, but I understand why some might not do that.
Just my 2cts.

My church is part of so it's really easy to setup automatic giving. I chose this route because I was always in a hurry each morning before Mass to write out 1 or 2 checks for the collection. So doing it the automatic way makes it easy for me to give and I'm relaxed before going to Mass.

We use a service called Parish Pay. Very convenient. We can get a slip to put in for each collection, if we wish. It also makes sure that when you're on vacation, the church still gets the donation.

"Giving publicly encourages others to give IMO (They think, "So many other people are giving, I should too.") If your giving is all done automatically on a card, it's invisible to others."

Wow, what happened to the Sermon on the Mount?

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 ¶ Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."

Sarah --

I think it depends on your attitude. If you're giving as a show and flaunting it so that others know that you are giving (and how generous you are -- basically calling attention to yourself), then I belive that's what the verses above are condemning. But if you're simply giving quietly, but noticably, then I think you are "spurring one another along in love and good deeds" and this sort of giving is to be encouraged.

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