The Offering is Worship
Giving should be an important part of the worship experience, but continuing to pass the plates each week at church may be missing out on opportunities. Millennials, for instance, think differently about generosity. To engage everyone in worshipful giving, here are some adjustments churches might consider.
Make It More Worshipful
Does your offering time fit with the whole worship experience? Too often, people think worship is just music and singing, so when it’s time for the offering, worship stops, plates are passed, money is collected, and then worship continues. Church is a place where we give to God of our time, our talent, and our treasure. Instead of treating the offering as an interruption to worship, worship leaders should consider ways in which they can help people worship through giving.
But just telling people that giving is worship is not enough, because we communicate how we think and feel through the way we lead the service. As church musicians and worship leaders, we need to try to keep everyone in a worshipful spirit as we give. That might be done by continuing an instrumental version of the previous song during the offering time, and the worship leader could actually be the one to introduce the offering to provide even more continuity in worship attitude and experience. The goal of any adjustments is to have smooth transitions and less distractions so people’s hearts and minds will remain focused on worship.
I can’t remember the last time I wrote a check. And when I get a check from someone else, I just need to take a quick picture of it to get it deposited. The handling of money is much different for the smart phone generation. Estimates are that 39% of Christian millennials give to their church online, and 20% text their donations to the church.
At our church, we have just implemented a text giving option, to allow for immediate giving at any time during the service. Technology is there to make everything a little easier. Making this change in your church may be well worth it.
These days, almost everyone understands that they are being “sold” at every opportunity. What speaks is authenticity. When asking for an offering, people don’t fall for the cliché lines like, “Give your tithes to God.” While that’s true, the bottom line is that much of the money goes to the operation of the church, which is great because the church is the way people will connect with God. We can communicate truthfully, but also in a way that keeps the worshipful focus.
Capitalize on their Outward Focus
Looking outwardly to serve the world is what the church is called to do, yet, many people see this as a missing part of the church. People respond to felt needs to support a cause. Whether it’s fighting cancer or feeding the homeless, they are eager to help.
Our church saw a spike in giving when we started something we call Micah 6:8 weekends. It started when our Lead Pastor announced that all the giving over and above regular giving for one weekend would go toward a global ministry that rescues girls from sex slavery. After people heard the vision, people gave like never before.
It was so successful, that our Pastor committed to getting our church to a place where we could operate for 52 weeks of ministry on 50 weeks of giving so we could do two Micah 6:8 weekends, but this time, give every dollar to local and global ministries. Now those weekends are the largest giving weekends of the year, and millennials are a big reason why. Not only do they give to a cause, but they gain respect for a church that has that strong of an outward focus, and may be more inclined to give consistently.
As society and culture changes, the church’s message has remained eternal, but the process of interacting with believers and non believers has adjusted as well. Perhaps it is time for you to think about how you treat your church’s offering time, and intentionally move toward more authentic, worshipful giving.
Engaging the next generation of the church is not an easy task, especially in a culture that is changing at such a fast pace. My church has launched a Research and Development team to create a worship experience engaging millennials with the truth of Jesus Christ. This worship service will act as a learning laboratory to experiment with different forms of worship in order to discover what truly connects with this generation. The results of this experiment is being recorded in this space as it happens. You can find the first of the series here. This is the third of the series.
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