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Thatboyofmine

I have to share what I heard... CC

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A family friend went to a new church this past weekend and the church was trying to get people to tithe.  The pastor called certain people out and said, “John Doe, you’re wearing a $$$ suit, I know you can afford to give some money.”  Or “you’re driving a bmw, I know you can afford it.”  And then, do you know what he did??  He brought out a credit card reader and told people to come to the front and use their credit cards if they didn’t have cash!!    My mouth gaped open and I’m pretty sure I caught flies.  Have y’all seen this happen before?  ??‍♀️

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Credit card kiosks in the lobby are a thing.  But the rest is completely, utterly unacceptable.  I’m not even comfortable with plate passing - giving in secret (an offering box) is our preferred way, but we will deal with a plate or just pass a check directly to the treasurer.

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I am surprised there were any people in this church. Totally unacceptable, tasteless and numerous other adjectives I think I should not write out.

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The guy that went was floored by it.  He definitely won’t return.  

Years ago, dh and I went to the church dh grew up in and they were trying to raise money for new carpet in the annex.   The head elder goes to the front and calls on people to give, starting with $500 or $1000 (I forget which).   When no one raised their hand he said, “well, I know we’ve got some in here who can afford that.”  So a guy raises his hand and the elder says, “John Doe has pledged to give $500, so will I. Now who can give $250.” He went down in increments until he got to $5, calling out every person’s name when they raised their hand and what they said they pledged.  I was seething.   Dh didn’t want to look at me because he knew I was about to blow my top.  When it was over, I took ds and went outside to play instead of sticking around for the sermon.  We never went back there.   *but* I guess I should’ve just been happy they didn’t have an ATM in the pulpit.  ?

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Wow, just wow. That is so very wrong.

Our church has an offering plate and a secure box in the lobby so people can choose how they want to give. I would be so appalled if this happened in any church I was in, I don't think I could stay for it, I'd have to leave.

 

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CREDIT CARD READER? How much interest does pastor think is biblical, on a church offering?

I think if I saw that, in the first place, this rarely happens but I'm pretty sure the ghost of my grandfather (who never hesitated to punch anyone in the nose) would be causing my right arm to twitch. In the second place, once I'd suppressed the urge toward violence, I WOULD be out of my seat and down front to show him what happens when a church lady finally goes BSC.  

He would see his credit card reader literally thrown out the door, as I quoted scripture about "give as you have purposed in your heart" and "usury is a sin" and about men providing for their families instead of going into debt to enrich the religious leaders.

And if they threatened to call the police, I'd say, "Go ahead. Call the media, too. I'll be waiting out front, just outside of church property." 

I am not kidding. This would be SO last straw for me, as I struggle with church at all in this era of our nation's history.

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No, no no no no nonononononono!  So very very much wrong with all of that.    I would run so far and so fast from that church that you would think my butt was on fire.

Our church puts no pressure on anyone to give.  They are also quite clear that whether you give a dime or a large amount they are grateful for every penny they receive.  They do have a campaign each year for a couple months that talks about pledging and what they do with all the money they receive.  They set pledge goals (a total amount they hope to receive from the congregation), but they don't force and they don't make you feel guilty.  And again they state multiple times that whatever amount you can pledge they are grateful for. 

This is very different from the church I was raised in.  They were............uuuuuuummmmmmmmmm............not kind about people who gave anything less than 10% of their income.  They loved to tell all the bad things that would happen to your soul as a result (and passed lots of judgment on what your values must be).

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Wow.

I've walked out of churches mid-service for less than that.

I sat through a service once (there to support a friend) and they went on and on about giving money because the poor children didn't even have a Sunday school room yet! I was sat looking at 3 big screen tv's, stage lights, professional level music amplifiers etc ad nauseum. No, I didn't give and thought their priorities sucked worse than a vacuum. They also had a cafe set up in the lobby area, so you could buy a coffee while you fellowshipped.

The love of money is the root of all evil... wasn't sticking around to see what all evil was happening in that church.

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W.O.W.

I've been an attendee of many, many churches through the years, and I've NEVER  heard or seen anything even closely resembling that.  I'm just flabbergasted!

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Our church does not do this...they say it's between you and God, what you are comfortable giving.  They do have the kiosks for sign in, payment, or you can use one of the giving envelopes.  

I would run, run, run out of a church where someone was doing this.  If it were for a good cause, sure, and it reminds of when Reverend Sykes "churched" his congregation to raise funds for Tom Robinson's family (To Kill a Mockingbird).  This, however, seems a little seedy at best. 

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That is a new one for me.  Our church offers on line giving for those that want to make a donation/tithe electronically but no pressure at all.  It is just listed as an option.

I do remember as a teen working with a lady that said the elders/deacons of the church they were attending came over to their house, asked to see their tax returns/check stubs/financial records, etc and then TOLD them the amount they were "required" to give.  I don't think she ever went back.

Now, if in private someone asks the leadership for direction in giving amounts for their situation then that is very different than being told what to give......or charge on a credit card.

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nope.   and if that "pastor" is going to be all about money - and SHAMING people in front of the crowd to get people to give him their money, the *pastor* needs to go back and read the 10 commandments. 

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1 hour ago, Kinsa said:

W.O.W.

I've been an attendee of many, many churches through the years, and I've NEVER  heard or seen anything even closely resembling that.  I'm just flabbergasted!

I know right?  It’s making me want to hug all my old pastors.  Even our old mega church was not like that at ALL.  They were the ones who had a machine in a back corner of the lobby if someone wanted to use debit or whatever to give.  But even with member rolls in excess of 7k people they still managed to be balanced and biblical on tithing and offerings.  

 

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Most churches I've gone to don't even do an offertory during the service.  You either give in person in a locked box in the lobby before or after the service when people are chatting or you give online at home in private.
 

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We still have offertory but it seems like most people are doing online donations. We liked it when they gave us an option for online giving.  I have been in many churches and never heard of anyone doing this. In fact, I do not think that in any of the churches we attended the pastor even knew who gave what and I think that is the way to go.  

 

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Ugh...NO! 

Our church has offering boxes by the exits, or you can give online or by text. If that was my first time and they said that, it would also be the last. 

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Growing up our Catholic Church in a very small town printed the names and total donations for each person/family once a year in our bulletin. Even as a youngster, I found it pretty shocking they would do that.

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I once visited a church doing a money drive/pledge and after 4 weeks of preaching on the topic they called for everyone who filled out a pledge card to come to the front of the church and drop it in the bucket.  You didn't know what people were pledging, but you definitely knew who wasn't pledging as they stayed in their rows looking straight ahead and stone faced. It was extremely uncomfortable for me to witness.  After a couple of weeks of visiting, I couldn't go back after that day.

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That is ghastly, both incidents. 

I do remember from my teen years one time we had a guest speaker on a Sunday night. (Sunday nights were nearly always lighter in attendence than morning.) They did the usual passing of the offering plates for the usual tithing. Then, a second offering that was meant to be a “Love Offering” for the speaker. (This much was normal procedure; what follows was not normal.) 

After the ushers had collected the Love Offering and been out of the sanctuary for about ten minutes, an usher came back in, talked to the pastor off-mike, and then the pastor shamed the congregation into re-giving for the speaker. He said something like, “This Love Offering for our Brother ———- is just not enough. Let’s all reach down deep into our wallets and give more. Ushers, lets pass the plates a second time...remember the widow who gave her last mite for the work of the Lord...”

This was close to the end of my parents attending there and they were prominent in that church and we had attended there my whole life. That church got weird in the end. This was right around the time of the Jim Baker scandal. It had begun to be very much in the vein that certain people were said to be “blessed” by God because they were conspicuously wealthy. By impliication, my parents were not blessed by God because we had an old VB van? It got kooky. 

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<---- Not religious, so no one is obligated to care what I say, lol.

Growing up, the church I attended passed the offering plate, but pretty much everything was in each member's sealed envelope.  I do remember feeling oogie about envelopes being assigned to young children, but at least my little dollar each week was relatively private.  No one knew how much was on the plate until someone opened and counted everything after services.  I never heard a public word about giving more.  (I can't speak to what adults may or may not have been told in private.)

That said, the church I attended didn't have exceptional overhead costs.  No glitz and glam.  Special funds for holiday flowers and replacing broken kitchen equipment.  The "A/V department" was a volunteer turning down the lights during the Christmas Eve candle service.

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Huh. I would find it weird and unpleasant and wouldn't go back.

I don't mind an offering in the service, with the plate passed. That's what pretty much every church I've ever gone to has done.  People put in a folded check or some cash, also folded. It's not quite "giving in secret" but there's no way anyone can really figure out what someone is giving. Maybe if the person right before me drops in cash I could see the amount.  We don't have kiosks - just too small a church for that. Maybe some people do it via online bill pay.

There is nothing unbiblical about taking up an offering in church (I am not sure but I thought someone said that).  However shaming people into giving money sure is. 

ETA: How is an offering box more secret than passing a plate?  People can see anyone walk up to the offering box, just as anyone can see who does or does not put money in the passed plate.  Either way, no one can really see how much anyone gives. 

Edited by marbel
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We have offering plates each week, but we also have envelopes in every pew to tuck your money into so it's private. My church is a pretty low tech one too with modest needs. and there isn't any pressure to give.

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3 hours ago, marbel said:

Huh. I would find it weird and unpleasant and wouldn't go back.

I don't mind an offering in the service, with the plate passed. That's what pretty much every church I've ever gone to has done.  People put in a folded check or some cash, also folded. It's not quite "giving in secret" but there's no way anyone can really figure out what someone is giving. Maybe if the person right before me drops in cash I could see the amount.  We don't have kiosks - just too small a church for that. Maybe some people do it via online bill pay.

There is nothing unbiblical about taking up an offering in church (I am not sure but I thought someone said that).  However shaming people into giving money sure is. 

ETA: How is an offering box more secret than passing a plate?  People can see anyone walk up to the offering box, just as anyone can see who does or does not put money in the passed plate.  Either way, no one can really see how much anyone gives. 

Offering boxes are way less conspicuous.  You can pop in whatever you want at any time, and it isn’t physically looked at by anyone in the row or a deacon.  In our church it’s in a location that is pretty much covered by your body when you walk up to you, so the security cameras see you, but nothing of your hands or amount.  That, and the treasurer’s desk, feel the most appropriate to us in terms of not pressuring giving.

 

Giving is well established to be about 15% higher when a plate is passed instead of a box being present - that means something about the act is compelling people to give who wouldn’t in a less public, non-service setting.  That’s where the argument that it’s not really biblical comes in.  If there is a notable difference, the question is why.  And the why is the public/performance factor.  This is pretty well studied ?

 

Now, I would NOT go so far to say that passing an offering plate is a practice contrary to scripture.  I just think the church can do better and conform closer - even just those that pass the little offering bags with stick handles where there isn’t a clank or visible amount presented for inspection at the end of the row. Or giving other options for people like us who have legitimate arguments from scripture as to why we’d like to give in a more secret manner.  It’s not a big thing, but neither does it ‘not matter’ ?

Edited by Arctic Mama
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WOW, i would have walked out right then and never gone back.

I was on vacation once and was visiting a church. The pastor was saying that we could rip out pages of the Bible (i dont remember why). I walked.

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6 hours ago, marbel said:

 

ETA: How is an offering box more secret than passing a plate?  People can see anyone walk up to the offering box, just as anyone can see who does or does not put money in the passed plate.  Either way, no one can really see how much anyone gives. 

an offering box is at the dropees leisure. they can drop an envelope when it is convenient for them.  only if someone is sitting there watching the offering box for before, during, and after church will they come remotely close to knowing if someone did or didn't put an offering in on any given day. 

whereas that plate is going up and down rows and you can see as it passes someone if they put an enveloped on the tray or not.

 

eta: in moving with modern technology- we also have the option of online for convenience.

Edited by gardenmom5
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2 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Offering boxes are way less conspicuous.  You can pop in whatever you want at any time, and it isn’t physically looked at by anyone in the row or a deacon.  In our church it’s in a location that is pretty much covered by your body when you walk up to you, so the security cameras see you, but nothing of your hands or amount.  That, and the treasurer’s desk, feel the most appropriate to us in terms of not pressuring giving.

 

Giving is well established to be about 15% higher when a plate is passed instead of a box being present - that means something about the act is compelling people to give who wouldn’t in a less public, non-service setting.  That’s where the argument that it’s not really biblical comes in.  If there is a notable difference, the question is why.  And the why is the public/performance factor.  This is pretty well studied ?

 

Now, I would NOT go so far to say that passing an offering plate is a practice contrary to scripture.  I just think the church can do better and conform closer - even just those that pass the little offering bags with stick handles where there isn’t a clank or visible amount presented for inspection at the end of the row. Or giving other options for people like us who have legitimate arguments from scripture as to why we’d like to give in a more secret manner.  It’s not a big thing, but neither does it ‘not matter’ ?

I believe that's true- but it's also true that giving goes up when people can use online payment. Which is interesting because that is completely invisible to the people sitting around you at church. We give online, but before that was an option, we wrote a check before church, slipped it in the envelope and did it discretely. I will admit to feeling awkward a bit when people observe us not visibly giving during the offering. But I also feel like it's a bit spiritually immature of me. 

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Wow, this makes me really appreciate my church. We have the option of giving in the offering plates, giving online, putting a check in a sealed box and also giving time or specific needed materials. A couple of years ago, our church decided it needed to add more classrooms, but didn't want more debt. They told the congregation to give as they felt led by God to help pay off the remaining building mortgage. There was an occasional announcement, but no pressure and nothing else was public. Within months, the entire debt was paid. I know we have some well off people in our congregation, but I have no idea if the debt was paid by a few large donations or lots of small ones. After the debt was gone, they showed the congregation building plans and asked for pledges toward the new construction costs. Again, there was no pressure. After the pledges were counted, the building plans were scaled back to fit the amount of money pledged. I would be suspicious of any church that felt the need to publicly shame or pressure people to give more and I'd be out of there quickly!

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3 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

<snip>

Giving is well established to be about 15% higher when a plate is passed instead of a box being present - that means something about the act is compelling people to give who wouldn’t in a less public, non-service setting.  That’s where the argument that it’s not really biblical comes in.  If there is a notable difference, the question is why.  And the why is the public/performance factor.  This is pretty well studied ?

<snip>

 

Interesting.  It surprises me personally because I don't pay attention to what other people are doing, and I don't give every week. I tend to put in a check once a month, maybe twice. For all I know someone's judging me harshly for not giving often enough. But, what does that matter? it is not my concern what people think of me letting the plate go by. Since the overall giving is always lower than the planned spending (voted on yearly by the members of the congregation), I'm guessing there are a lot of people who don't feel pressured by that plate going by. :-)

I was talking to my husband about this earlier. He gave the example of the widow giving her mite in the donation box. He said since people were using coins, anyone around would be able to figure out the size of the donation by the sound.  Obviously that's not so much an issue anymore.

I love hearing the sound of coins hitting the plate when kids drop them in.  But rest assured, I am not looking to see which kids are giving their quarter and which are not. :-) 

Edited by marbel
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I find online giving so much easier and convenient than anything else, and I do like the privacy. These days I'm in the habit of taking care of tithes on pay day--it feels right to me to make that contribution first.

Our church doesn't accept credit cards online, just bank transfers.

The public shaming in the OP is shocking.

Edited by maize
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12 minutes ago, maize said:

I find online giving so much easier and convenient than anything else, and I do like the privacy. These days I'm in the habit of taking care of tithes on pay day--it feels right to me to make that contribution first.

Our church doesn't accept credit cards online, just bank transfers.

The public shaming in the OP is shocking.

 

Online giving would be nice-  my church just figured out (proudly) how to put pictures up on the website. ? I think we're at least 1 website update away from them being able to accept online giving.

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That's like the church in To Kill a Mockingbird!  Scout and Jem visit Calpurnia's church and they take up an offering for the wrongfully accused Tom Robinson.  The preacher won't let anyone leave until they take up as much money as he thinks fit.  My son's mouth gaped open when we read that part.  He couldn't imagine something like that happening in church.

To read the OP and see that this happens in real life in the twenty-first century is so bizarre!  I've never been in a church like that.

The pastor of my church growing up was always uncomfortable preaching about tithing and giving, because he was afraid people would take it the wrong way.  He would reluctantly talk about it from time to time, because it's in the bible and he wanted us to be educated about it, but it was only a few times over a span of many years.

As an adult, the churches I've been to take up an offering with baskets, but it's low key and a lot of people don't put anything in the basket because you can give online now and don't have to mess with cash or checks.  I've never seen game playing around the offering at church.  Almost no one preaches about offerings, I think because they're afraid people will think it's a money grab.

Edited by Garga
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24 minutes ago, maize said:

I find online giving so much easier and convenient than anything else, and I do like the privacy. These days I'm in the habit of taking care of tithes on pay day--it feels right to me to make that contribution first.

Our church doesn't accept credit cards online, just bank transfers.

The public shaming in the OP is shocking.

That’s what we do with checks.  First fruits and all that.  Plus it’s about the only time we are guaranteed to have funds ?.

 

I’m not sure our church does online transfers, but I know a lot of congregations do, for the privacy and convenience factor.  I haven’t seen anything contraindicated in scripture with that, as long as it’s not credit!

Edited by Arctic Mama
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48 minutes ago, Garga said:

<snip>

The pastor of my church growing up was always uncomfortable preaching about tithing and giving, because he was afraid people would take it the wrong way.  He would reluctantly talk about it from time to time, because it's in the bible and he wanted us to be educated about it, but it was only a few times over a span of many years.

<snip>

Yeah, most pastors I know, including my own two are uncomfortable with it.  Our church doesn't preach topical sermons, but each preacher goes through a book, or a portion of a book, at a time. So, if in the book the topic of tithing comes up, it will be preached.  But otherwise, no. People are informed periodically of the status of budget, spending, and giving, and can see if giving is low compared to budget. We are pretty bare-bones, though, and don't have expensive programs.  I know some churches have an annual "giving" sermon, and take pledges.  We have been to churches that wanted us to pledge and we did pledge, but didn't really feel comfortable with it.

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52 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

That’s what we do with checks.  First fruits and all that.  Plus it’s about the only time we are guaranteed to have funds ?.

 

I’m not sure our church does online transfers, but I know a lot of congregations do, for the privacy and convenience factor.  I haven’t seen anything contraindicated in scripture with that, as long as it’s not credit!

LOL how would that be expressed in scripture?  

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Well, I was speaking seriously and in terms of overarching principles. It’s in secret, it’s an offering of praise, it’s of the fruit of our labors and gainfully earned, it’s not usury or levied.  

 

The reality is that paper money and coins aren’t really common currency for many of us anymore.  I have cash maybe once or twice a month, and checks are infrequent too. We use plastic and make transfers by computer.  The principles still hold and aren’t contraindicated, but it is something to think seriously about - like why a credit card may NOT be appropriate to accept payment from by a church, but debit, atm withdrawal, or direct deposit would.  Or, you know, how a public flat plate being passed might not meet the ‘giving in secret’ principle very well ?

Edited by Arctic Mama
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9 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Well, I was speaking seriously and in terms of overarching principles. It’s in secret, it’s an offering of praise, it’s of the fruit of our labors and gainfully earned, it’s not usury or levied.  

 

The reality is that paper money and coins aren’t really common currency for many of us anymore.  I have cash maybe once or twice a month, and checks are infrequent too. We use plastic and make transfers by computer.  The principles still hold and aren’t contraindicated, but it is something to think seriously about - like why a credit card may NOT be appropriate to accept payment from by a church, but debit, atm withdrawal, or direct deposit would.  Or, you know, how a public flat plate being passed might not meet the ‘giving in secret’ principle very well ?

I agree - credit card would not sit well with me at church, although my church is quite tech-savvy and posts instructions for texting to give or setting up auto layments on PushPay. In reality, one could set up their PushPay to post to a credit card, though. For anyone who revolves debts, though, this does not sit well with me because of a bank making interest on charitable giving. 

Our church still passes plates, though I expect a great majority gives digitally now. The sums in the offering baskets are quite paltry, even when we are sitting several rows back. Baskets pass by with a couple folded bills and a check or two. I have begun to wonder if this is negatively affecting spontaneous giving, whereas what you posted upthread used to be the case. It looks like hardly anyone is giving and I can see someone who is on the fence deciding not to give because it doesn’t look like others are. 

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I deleted this post as while it was true I felt it wasn't representative of most churches...and I don't want to hurt someone's faith because of a few bad churches...kwim.  Cults are cults.....and people in them rarely recognize it until they leave.  Most churches desire to grow the community healthfully.

Brenda

 

 

Edited by homemommy83
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9 minutes ago, Mimm said:

I'm completely horrified by some of the stories in this thread. ? Good grief.

 

The thing I don't understand is why no one ever stands up and confronts these people. I have been in a service where the pastor was berating some woman and no one stands up and says "This is wrong." Then it was my daughter! I did catch him coming out of the restroom after the service and confronted him there, but why didn't I say something right then and there in the service? I saw some video a few years ago of a pastor on a rant and all the men had their heads down. Surely the sheep thing has gone too far! These are not dictators, they are just guys who are wrong. Booing, at least, is surely acceptable, lol.

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43 minutes ago, Calm37 said:

 

The thing I don't understand is why no one ever stands up and confronts these people. I have been in a service where the pastor was berating some woman and no one stands up and says "This is wrong." Then it was my daughter! I did catch him coming out of the restroom after the service and confronted him there, but why didn't I say something right then and there in the service? I saw some video a few years ago of a pastor on a rant and all the men had their heads down. Surely the sheep thing has gone too far! These are not dictators, they are just guys who are wrong. Booing, at least, is surely acceptable, lol.

 It's possible that though people are not speaking up publicly, the pastors are being censured by church leadership and others in the congregation privately. I have seen pastors removed because of things like this (never seen this specific thing, but similar).  I've seen a pastor removed and "defrocked" (not the correct term but can't think of it and probably people know what I mean) for not caring for his wife properly (understating the problem).

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1 hour ago, Calm37 said:

 

The thing I don't understand is why no one ever stands up and confronts these people. I have been in a service where the pastor was berating some woman and no one stands up and says "This is wrong." Then it was my daughter! I did catch him coming out of the restroom after the service and confronted him there, but why didn't I say something right then and there in the service? I saw some video a few years ago of a pastor on a rant and all the men had their heads down. Surely the sheep thing has gone too far! These are not dictators, they are just guys who are wrong. Booing, at least, is surely acceptable, lol. 

It's SO HARD to be that first person who takes a stand. Human nature is to fit into the group and to listen to authority. In a lot of these situations, when one person takes a stand, probably others would follow. But I'm not sure. ?

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Wow!  That is a bit much!  I wonder if he got those individuals' OK to say those things beforehand?

Our church has periodic "lessons" that not so subtly remind people they ought to be giving to the church.  However, they try to be diplomatic about it and I can't imagine them calling out anyone publicly.  (They do ask people to think on it privately and write out what they can give (time and money) and hand it in.  But this is not a requirement AFAIK.  They also print offering envelopes for each regular attendee, but you don't have to use them.)

And I get it - the church needs money to run.  It must suck to be the pastor, paid out of those donations, and have to beg people to give more.

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Speaking of passing the plate - I have been wondering about that lately.  I give online and I assume more and more people do so.  The way they do it in my church, if a row isn't full but only has a few people at each end (often the case), they look and see if you appear to have something to put in the plate, and hold it out to you if you do, and walk past you if you don't.  It makes me feel weird each time, though, as I studiously look elsewhere with my hands in my lap so they will know not to hold the plate out to me.  It's awkward.  Could they just put a plate or box somewhere and let people put their offering in there on the way in / out?  But then, maybe passing the plate does serve as a gentle reminder to those who might otherwise neglect their offering?  The offering is always optional, but I do believe that if you're using the church's services, you should try to give if you can.

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34 minutes ago, SKL said:

Speaking of passing the plate - I have been wondering about that lately.  I give online and I assume more and more people do so.  The way they do it in my church, if a row isn't full but only has a few people at each end (often the case), they look and see if you appear to have something to put in the plate, and hold it out to you if you do, and walk past you if you don't.  It makes me feel weird each time, though, as I studiously look elsewhere with my hands in my lap so they will know not to hold the plate out to me.  It's awkward.  Could they just put a plate or box somewhere and let people put their offering in there on the way in / out?  But then, maybe passing the plate does serve as a gentle reminder to those who might otherwise neglect their offering?  The offering is always optional, but I do believe that if you're using the church's services, you should try to give if you can.

When that happens to me, I just give a little shake of my head and/or a little hand movement that indicates "not needed."  But one time I did that, and after the usher moved on, I saw that my son had reached into his pocket for some money.  He doesn't often give any, so I didn't think to check. :-)  Whoops.

I just think that people are overthinking it. Sure, people should give to their church. Giving keeps the doors open, pays the staff (our church has never had more than 4 staff members including the pastor(s) and for the past 6 years none has been full-time), pays the rent, donates to various people/groups/organizations.  If people don't give, the church can't operate. But, on any given day, there are people who give and people who don't, and if some folks are trying to keep track of who is giving and not giving, they are the ones who are wrong and should be ashamed of themselves. 

There are probably people who prefer to give via the plate as part of the worship service. There are probably people who prefer to do it online. There are probably people who would forget if the plate wasn't coming past them, and (obviously) people who hate the plate coming past them.  Whatever. No one should feel guilt or awkwardness, and if the church leadership is doing something to make people feel awkward, they should bring it to the attention of the leadership or move on to a different church. But people should think about why they feel awkward about it. 

Edited by marbel
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58 minutes ago, SKL said:

Wow!  That is a bit much!  I wonder if he got those individuals' OK to say those things beforehand?

Our church has periodic "lessons" that not so subtly remind people they ought to be giving to the church.  However, they try to be diplomatic about it and I can't imagine them calling out anyone publicly.  (They do ask people to think on it privately and write out what they can give (time and money) and hand it in.  But this is not a requirement AFAIK.  They also print offering envelopes for each regular attendee, but you don't have to use them.)

And I get it - the church needs money to run.  It must suck to be the pastor, paid out of those donations, and have to beg people to give more.

I didn't see this before I responded to your later post.

As to your last line - yes, yes it does.  Also not fun being the pastor's wife and having people ask you why you don't belong to the Y, get your ratty kitchen remodeled, stop driving that old car....

ETA: and just in case that wasn't clear... it's not about not being able to join the Y, get the kitchen remodeled, or buy a new car. It's how awkward it is to get the question from someone whose donations pay the salary that would buy membership, the kitchen, the car. People, just don't ask!  :-)  And BTW I am not specifically speaking for myself but others as well. Of those 3 questions, I've only gotten one.  But I'd heard the others, and more.

Edited by marbel
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18 hours ago, SKL said:

Speaking of passing the plate - I have been wondering about that lately.  I give online and I assume more and more people do so.  The way they do it in my church, if a row isn't full but only has a few people at each end (often the case), they look and see if you appear to have something to put in the plate, and hold it out to you if you do, and walk past you if you don't.  It makes me feel weird each time, though, as I studiously look elsewhere with my hands in my lap so they will know not to hold the plate out to me.  It's awkward.  Could they just put a plate or box somewhere and let people put their offering in there on the way in / out?  But then, maybe passing the plate does serve as a gentle reminder to those who might otherwise neglect their offering?  The offering is always optional, but I do believe that if you're using the church's services, you should try to give if you can.

I noticed today at my church that they pass the plate down every single row. It seems silly if there's only a couple of people at the end of the row, but it actually prevents any awkwardness. The row in front of me was empty when they passed the plates because the people sitting in it were singing/ushering, but the usher still passed it across the row to the other usher. Our row had two couples, one at either end, and neither of us were putting anything into the basket today, but the plate got passed across like it does for every row. That prevents the usher from trying to decide whether to hold the plate out for people who have nothing to put in it.

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On 8/25/2018 at 2:00 AM, Frances said:

Growing up our Catholic Church in a very small town printed the names and total donations for each person/family once a year in our bulletin. Even as a youngster, I found it pretty shocking they would do that.

Yikes!  I have never seen that, not at any parish I have belonged to, nor at any parish I have visited while traveling.  That is appalling.  Every parish where I have been a member has made it a point that the priests do not know how much each parishioner is giving.  That is handled by a separate committee (with safeguards in place such as no people who are related or married can count the money together.)  

On 8/25/2018 at 11:02 AM, Arctic Mama said:

Offering boxes are way less conspicuous.  You can pop in whatever you want at any time, and it isn’t physically looked at by anyone in the row or a deacon.  In our church it’s in a location that is pretty much covered by your body when you walk up to you, so the security cameras see you, but nothing of your hands or amount.  That, and the treasurer’s desk, feel the most appropriate to us in terms of not pressuring giving.

 

Giving is well established to be about 15% higher when a plate is passed instead of a box being present - that means something about the act is compelling people to give who wouldn’t in a less public, non-service setting.  That’s where the argument that it’s not really biblical comes in.  If there is a notable difference, the question is why.  And the why is the public/performance factor.  This is pretty well studied ?

 

Now, I would NOT go so far to say that passing an offering plate is a practice contrary to scripture.  I just think the church can do better and conform closer - even just those that pass the little offering bags with stick handles where there isn’t a clank or visible amount presented for inspection at the end of the row. Or giving other options for people like us who have legitimate arguments from scripture as to why we’d like to give in a more secret manner.  It’s not a big thing, but neither does it ‘not matter’ ?

Having gone to a Catholic church all my life where a basket is passed during every Sunday Mass during the offeratory, I don't remember paying much attention to who puts what in there (except the person who decides to write out a check when the basket comes to them and the usher seems a little annoyed at the hold up and messing up their routine ?.)  Most people use sealed envelopes.  These days, most giving seems to be done online, which seems to make the basket seem emptier.  Online giving is a regular thing that comes out of our account so there is no forgetting (which happened often when I relied on writing out a check.)  When I go to a church that is not my home parish (either need a Mass at a different time than my parish offers or we are traveling), then we put in some cash.  I don't think the basket is more coercive than a donation box, but it can just be a reminder to reach into the purse for the envelope that I would most certainly forget to put in the donation box.

23 hours ago, Quill said:

I agree - credit card would not sit well with me at church, although my church is quite tech-savvy and posts instructions for texting to give or setting up auto layments on PushPay. In reality, one could set up their PushPay to post to a credit card, though. For anyone who revolves debts, though, this does not sit well with me because of a bank making interest on charitable giving. 

Our church still passes plates, though I expect a great majority gives digitally now. The sums in the offering baskets are quite paltry, even when we are sitting several rows back. Baskets pass by with a couple folded bills and a check or two. I have begun to wonder if this is negatively affecting spontaneous giving, whereas what you posted upthread used to be the case. It looks like hardly anyone is giving and I can see someone who is on the fence deciding not to give because it doesn’t look like others are. 

Online giving seems to have helped the bottom line with more regular contributions and less forgetting.  But, the basket can be a reminder to people who are not doing online giving.  Since it is a regular part of the mass and not something out of the ordinary, it is a subtle reminder about supporting the church's mission.  We have used credit cards before, but we pay the full balance every month so it isn't that much different than using a debit card.  But the church started getting higher fees for this so we switched to a direct debit from our bank account.  

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