By Joshua Brockway
Congregational leaders often do not think of funding needs in the first quarter of the year. The budget preparations feel like they just finished, and we already did the annual giving appeal. Every congregational treasurer will remind us, however, that the expenses don’t stop after the budget is passed, and neither can the income.
Some congregations have asked about the process and tools for online giving in a age of credit card swipes and scheduled giving. Though the time of receiving offerings is more than a donation with a click, it is important to acknowledge our economic practices are shifting away from cash and checks. Conversations about digital giving and bank transfers has probably come up in our congregations, but the details and questions to consider may easily overwhelm us and we may table the decision to the next meeting. Unfortunately, the fast-moving nature of the current crisis means that many of the ideas and needs that have been pushed down the agenda are coming up quickly.
Marcia Shetler, executive director of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, has prepared a helpful guide to implement online giving and a quick list of possible tools. The Church of the Brethren has long partnered with the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and has shared their resources regularly.
As you and your congregational leadership try to find ways for members to continue supporting important ministries, you are invited to use this guide posted online at www.brethren.org/discipleshipmin/documents/giving-beyond-the-offering-plate.pdf .
— Josh Brockway is co-coordinator of the Church of the Brethren’s Discipleship Ministries.