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Digital Giving: The New Normal, Part 2 – Start the Conversation

Do you remember when you got lights in your church? Neither do I. How about when the first microphone was used? Nope. And, oh! How about when you moved from using a piano to an organ? Negatory to that as well.

At one point electricity, amplified sound, and the organ represented radical "innovative" change. Not everyone was happy with new-fangled things. Some individuals probably thought the church was going straight to h*ll (I know your sensitive eyes needed shielding) especially when the devil's music was being played on the organ. I bet some people even threatened to leave the church.

Perhaps you're afraid of backlash if you talk about implementing digital giving in your congregation. Someone might ask, "Isn't it a little too much like the money changers in the temple?" What a great question! What a terrific opportunity to talk about money and its role in the church.

If you're worried about rocking the boat, remember, it's a good thing to encourage dialogue in order to move forward. My suggestion: Begin the digital giving discussion with your Finance Committee. If you can get them on board, that's a major first step. Here are some questions to get you started:

1. Why should we implement digital giving? If you need data, take a look at last week's blog about electronic giving trends.

2. What would Jesus say? Hopefully, this will lead to some theological/spiritual understanding about how Jesus viewed money and what we should be doing with it. Need a resource? Here's one.Don't skip this question.

3. Is electronic giving right for us? Why or why not? Perhaps you have no Internet service. That's legit. But if you do have Internet, don't let yourself off the hook too easily.

4. How can we make it a part of the worship service? Like anything, digital giving can be integrated into worship. Here's one idea.

5. Do we have one or two people who will champion this? Even if you have support – if no one wants to take it on as his or her mission, it won't happen.

6. Are we willing to build digital giving into our budget? Electronic giving is not free. There are costs associated with the Square,Vanco, and echurch. Keep in mind that by offering electronic giving, you are making it more convenient for people to be generous.

If you can get buy in from your Finance Committee, then go to your Leadership/Administrative Council to seek their support. More conversation is always a good way to go.

In our fractured society, we have forgotten how to host healthy dialogue. It doesn't mean that everyone has to agree, but everyone has to listen. Let digital giving give you a chance to engage people in a robust conversation. And then, you can tackle the really tough topic: praise music versus the hymnal. God be with you on that one.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann, consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development, Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

United Methodist Church Giving is about people working together to accomplish something bigger than themselves. In so doing, we effect change around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To read stories about the generosity of United Methodists click here.

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