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Introducing the Offering Machine

10 October, 2003 3:16 PM

offerning.jpg I guess an offering machine like this had to show up some time. I sort of surprised its taken so long. However it doesn't really sit too comfortably with me - Like Michael I'm still trying to work out why I am reacting against it. I mean I'm all for churches changing with the times but....hmmm.....I don't think LivingRoom will be signing up for one.

What do others think?



Could it be that you don't have to think about it much?

Christop » 10 October, 2003 3:30 PM

I want to believe that this is a joke . . . and I think it is . . . and yet there is this uneasy feeling inside me that it isn't.

Homie Bear » 10 October, 2003 3:49 PM

At a number of churches in NZ they have EFTPOS facilities (for those of you that don't know what EFTPOS is, you just swipe your cashflow card and then then money is taken out of your cheque/savings account). It's a part of kiwi culture - I think we have the highest machine ratio to people in the world - and it doesn't bug me; although calling it an 'offering machine' and marketing something special is a little odd to me.

Rachel C » 10 October, 2003 3:58 PM

uhmm... i'm gonna have to go with "makes me vomit" on this one. we're starting our stewardship drive this month and i was asked to share my thoughts on offering with the congregation. see, since the beginning the tithe was a form of worship. nowadays you pass the plate and drop a buck or check in (not very worshipful). think first fruits here. it's a sacrifice... giving something you'd rather keep to God. for me swiping a card would be the opposite of worship.

lucas land » 11 October, 2003 12:04 AM

It does sit a little "awkwardly" with me, but then again, if I really believe that it is the heart that matters in our giving, should the "how" make much difference? I can worship doing anything can't I?

Steve » 11 October, 2003 2:16 AM

I don't know. I kind of like it. (The styling is kind of off, but that's minor.)

I would want to make one change. It would be kind of neat if it also dispensed money to anyone who had a financial need. If I had more one month, I could put a bit extra in. If you had a tough month, you could come and take some money out.

Darryl » 11 October, 2003 3:07 AM

I go back and forth on this. In the end, though, I think it's a good idea if it's done for the right reasons. Giving our offerings are a part of giving of ourselves and should be a part of our worship. Why should the form of that giving matter? Think about it. Saying giving must be in cash or check and cannot be in the format used by most people (card) is just as silly as saying worship songs must come from the hymnal and cannot use contemporary music styles.

If it's just a ploy by the church to get more money, then the motives are wrong and need to be challenged. The motives. Not the methods. Methods are just that. Nothing more.

kevin » 11 October, 2003 4:29 AM

Why not put a machine at the front door? The church is fairly non personal anyway so putting your money into a faceless box is probably ideal for the corporate wannabes. Maybe we could then get one of those boxes to sit up at the pulpit each week and randomly select songs, lead worship and maybe even spit out a sermon every now and then. Being a computer, at least there is a reasonable chance for logic.

Regan » 11 October, 2003 5:01 PM

I don't understand. How is swiping my card any less personal than putting my cash into a little bag that passes me in my seat? For that matter, how is putting my cash in the bag anymore worshipful than any other way of paying offering? Is not the point that I am giving my money to a cause that I am committed to?

At many of our congregations, people do not give at the congregation but rather use internet banking or direct credit. Does this make them less worshipful or less committed? I don't think so.

Can someone explain this to me?

phil » 11 October, 2003 10:13 PM

I'm still have mixed feelings about it. Perhaps I'm reacting more to the look of it than the substance. Its strange - I spend so much time and energy talking about how we need to rethink how we do church - yet when it comes to a new way of giving I can't accept it. Perhaps I need to rethink again and look at some of my own prejudices and false assumptions.

Darren Rowse » 11 October, 2003 11:04 PM

Our church recently installed a "debit machine" as they are called in Canada. Canadians have among the highest rates of electronic banking in the world. It's at the back of church in the lobby and kind of looks like a public phone booth.

I guess I'm a "traditionalist" on this one. The physical act of putting my offering in the plate is important to me. So, even though I have several pre-authorized debits to my bank account, for my church and other charities, I still like to put something in the offering plate. I also think it's important for my children to see this discipline.

That can't be done with the "offering machine", it's too slow and awkward to incorporate into a worship service. Therefore I think it's too impersonal and detracts from the worship experience that is vitally connected to act of giving. If it were just as conveniently incorporated into worship as cash is, I'd have no problem.

Ron » 12 October, 2003 2:52 AM

There's a cross on it! There's a picture of bread and wine right above the little giving envelopes and convenient swipe strip.

Would you still be comfortable with it, if it were emblazoned with an actual picture of Christ hanging from a cross?

How about if the machine itself were actually shaped like a cross would that would bother you?

How about if it said "Jesus died so pay up!" in a flashing neon sign on the front would that be too outrageous?

Michael Main » 12 October, 2003 12:05 PM

I understand the misgivings about the appearance of the offering machine. I too, don't like the decor.

But, that wasn't what I was wondering. I was quering why people were seeing offering in any other way, other than putting cash in a plate, as inferior or not worshipful.

phil » 12 October, 2003 2:55 PM

The only thing wrong with modernising everything is we can do nothing to change God.. He is the same yesterday, today and forever!! Thank you Lord!!!
I think mankind is missing out on the joy of giving by puting these machines in.. Must we follow the world of which a big percentage is going the wrong way anyway??

Sharon » 12 October, 2003 5:48 PM

Why does my worship have to be contained fully within a 75 minute period on Sunday morning? Is it not worship if I give my offerings to God 15 minutes after the service has ended? Does God not want my offerings if they are not given in a paper form during a specified block of time? Isn't it more important that I give what God asks of me than that I use a particular form?

kevin » 13 October, 2003 8:53 AM

God is asking more of you than 75 minutes on Sunday.

Michael Main » 13 October, 2003 7:36 PM

I think it COULD be a good TOOL. I am not real crazy about it.

Michael » 14 October, 2003 10:02 AM

We have direct debit - so tythe just disappears out of our bank - yet we get to look like we're not giving anything at church. I think the problem is that it looks stupid - if it was a bit more styled - like those citylink machines...I could go for it.

Luke » 16 October, 2003 1:15 AM

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