Among its many services, E Giving Systems offers electronic giving solutions for churches and online giving for churches. While we also provide such giving-focused financial services to parachurch ministries, one specific application of our online tools is encouraging online tithing. Whenever we bring up this idea, it is sometimes met with several objections, and those issues will be addressed below.
Concerns Regarding Technology
Concerns regarding online tithing tend to fall into one of two categories: concerns regarding new technology and concerns regarding biblical responsibility. We’ll address the first category, first. In Christian circles, new technology in general is often implemented slowly and with reservation. As technology becomes more mainstream, the church’s acceptance of it tends to increase, and we’re seeing this trend apply to E Giving Systems.
As far as security goes, our electronic giving solutions utilize FiServe, the very same legacy processor as the one that powers CheckFree, which is used to process most electronic checks here in the US. All of our processing systems and management tools also comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards, making our systems just as secure as our secular counterparts. Contrary to some skeptics, Electronic Fund Transfers and secure online payment portals are actually much more reliable than dealing with cash or paper checks.
Concerns Regarding Biblical Responsibility
In some ways, churches have it easier than parachurch organizations as far as garnering financial support. For instance, they have personal contact with many of their givers on a weekly basis. They also have the benefit of a biblical concept called “tithing.” While many Bible scholars believe that the strict 10% is something left behind with the Old Covenant, the concept of bringing the “firstfruits” into the “storehouse” (often interpreted as the temple or place of worship) is often still observed.
With that observance, though, comes some concerns over whether electronic tithing truly aids believers in fulfilling all the specifically prescribed ways in which we’re told to give:
The first qualification is the one in question: Can you really give cheerfully if the amount is being automatically withdrawn from your account? That seems to be a personal question that only individuals, not an institution, can effectively answer. Perhaps the question of whether this is possible can relate to the concept of “firstfruits,” in general: Are we really giving our “first” fruits when taxes come out of our pay checks automatically?
These concepts hail back to heart issues. Whether the moment of giving is signing up for an electronic account, writing out a check, placing paper money in an offering plate or giving box, or seeing the deducted amount on your bank or credit card statement, do you experience joy or remorse over it? If you use paper checks, switching to electronic tithing will not change your heart, for better or for worse.
Since electronic tithing actually improves the likelihood of giving faithfully and privately, it seems that, if anything, the methods Egiving.com can help you put in place might actually make your givers more likely to fulfill the biblical goals.