Introducing new technology into your church should always be done thoughtfully–especially when it comes to giving, which is a particularly sensitive area. One new technology many churches are considering adopting is the ability to give via text message. This is a technology I’ve personally worked with many churches on implementing and I wanted to write this post to outline some of the theological reasoning and practical implications for churches receiving giving by text.
Theology of Text Giving
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The use of an offering basket tells us about our theology of giving. It’s simultaneously communal and personal. Every person has their own chance to interact but it isn’t needed without a community. The beauty of the offering basket is in its utter simplicity – you are simply giving.
Providing a text giving option brings many of the communal aspects of an offering basket into the digital world. Take this testimony, from a member of one of the churches we work alongside. This giver did not like using their church’s online giving platform because they felt it was a transaction. They felt more connected to their gift by giving via check. It was personal and to them, it was a physical act of worship. However, when she tried text giving, here is what she said:
This past Sunday, I tried out text giving just for fun. But something unexpected happened. As I was putting in the phone number, creating a new contact, and adding my debit card info, I experienced a sense of joy and satisfaction. Was the church still getting charged a fee for this? Yes. So, why was this different? It’s because texting is personal. I text all the time with the people that God has brought into my life… As I sent off my giving text into digital space, I was thanking the Lord for the finances He had given me. I was worshipping Him for His continued…provision. It was personal.”
What an incredible testimony! For her, text giving provided the ability to capture the experience of the offering basket in the digital world.
And for some, when it comes time to pass the offering, text giving may be the only way they can engage in giving. There’s an untapped space in churches to provide a digital text giving system that’s not only rooted in an understanding of generosity but allows your church to unleash generosity in new ways!
Impact of Text Giving
The opportunity to engage generosity using technology is what drives the development of text giving. We believe digital tools, like text giving, should be built with intention and informed by a theology of giving.
What we’ve found is that when giving is simple, a church is able better engage new givers and also able to encourage consistent giving. This has been true from the largest churches in the country down to church plants just starting.
LifeChurch.tv, found text giving led to meaningful changes in both total givers, with over 2,700 using Smart Giving, and with the number of people engaged in giving, with 15.9% of people using Smart Giving giving for the first time to LifeChurch.tv.
A much smaller church that we work with said this:
We rolled out Smart Giving last week and our little church of 150 received almost $2,000 the first week. Thank you for helping us use this technology to assist the local church.”
Whether your church is large or small, enabling a relevant and simple way to give will help you engage people better.
Engage via Text Giving
Churches that we work with, do see an increase in giving but that is a byproduct, not an end goal. We want to encourage churches not to focus on increasing giving but unleashing generosity. This will impact giving at your church but will do so much more. A text giving option provides an invitation to smartphone users to engage in generosity through a method they can understand. But I recognize that our company is just a part of the larger puzzle.
The reality is, building a culture of generosity often has the byproduct of increasing giving, but it’s not the sole aim. Generosity is much bigger than financial giving: it’s creating a lifestyle by laying the foundation for God’s Kingdom to thrive in us.