While some churches have begun to regather, COVID-19 has required leaders to reevaluate their worship experience.
The Lord clearly commands us not to live in fear, but church leaders are also called to shepherd and protect their congregants. Leaders have always sought for their churches to be a safe place but today that takes on an entirely new meaning as we consider how to mitigate the spread of the virus.
There are a number of ways to safeguard worship attendees, including sanitation stands and social distancing, but one of the simplest ways is through encouraging online giving.
Enabling digital means of giving via an online platform, mobile app or text-to-give options allows congregants to continue giving faithfully from anywhere, at any time, without all the germ-sharing risks that come with counting and collecting paper money and checks or passing the offering plate.
Equally as important to keeping your congregants safe, online giving also allows them to continue to give faithfully, even when they are physically absent. Online giving platforms allow for attendees to set up recurring gifts and not be dependent on mailing or delivering checks or cash. As a result, individuals give more consistently.
Recent research indicates that churches across the country are experiencing massive giving slumps, which are hindering their ability to continue outreach and church operations. But a survey conducted by Faithlife showed that those who had implemented online giving saw much less of a reduction.
According to the data, starting the week of March 15, 21% of churches without an online giving solution experienced between a 10% and 50% decrease in giving, with 25% experiencing a decrease of 50% or more.
Comparatively, 20% of churches with an online giving solution reported a decrease of giving by more than 10% the week of March 15, which rose to 58% during the last week of March.
However, 42% of churches with an online giving solution, compared to only 27% without a web-based system, had about the same or an increase in giving during this time. Holy Week and Easter brought increased giving, though still below pre-pandemic levels.
Providing an online giving option allows leaders to ensure their attendees are still able to faithfully give so that the church can continue to serve its congregants and community during this time when they need it most.
Online giving isn't simply the solution for successful church operations in a COVID-19 climate; it's the way forward for church leaders to continue meeting congregants where they are, in addition to having their physical needs met.
Technology has been a lifesaver during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the church to embrace online church during stay-at-home orders and provide means of communication and community. While gathering digitally can never replace physical worship together as a body of believers, technology can continue to help churches keep their congregants safe and connected even as we begin to physically gather.
Bob Pritchett is the founder and CEO of church technology company Faithlife, makers of Faithlife Giving and Logos Bible Software, to name a few.
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