Grace Community Church

 gracecommbp@gmail.com * (319)594-7785 * 404 3rd Street, Belle Plaine, IA 52208

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WHY WE DON'T PASS THE OFFERING PLATE

“All the church wants is your money.” Of all the criticisms the church has received over the years, this is one that never seems to go away. Regardless of size, denomination, or social class of the church, many people believe the church is just after your money. Regarding the topic of tithing and passing an offering plate, Dennis Sawyer, pastor of Philadelphia Church in Chicago, writes, “When I opened my mailbox or turned on a Christian broadcast, I had to agree that money seemed paramount in the kingdom of God. Besides, the offering just didn't seem to fit anywhere. We tried taking it at the beginning of the service, and people thought we seemed to anxious to get their money. In the middle of the service, it interrupted the flow, and at the end if interfered with the...concluding challenge of the message.”

 

To state the obvious as well as be fair to churches and Christian organizations, a cash flow of some kind is necessary in order to operate. But what would happen if the members of society saw churches more focused on worshiping the God who so graciously provides the blessings that may be given as tithes, as opposed to receiving the tithe itself? What would happen if church goers witnessed this? Here are a few comments from members of a church that stopped passing the offering plate and instead used an offering box:

 

  • “I never realized how much the (offering) boxes on the wall meant until I brought a friend to church and we didn't take an offering. He was overwhelmed.”

  • “It's funny, but my favorite time on Sundays has become those moments after the service. I just stay in my seat for awhile reflecting on the service and what has been said; then I pray, write a check as the Lord leads, and drop it in a box on my way out. It's a good feeling”

  • “I think it's great, because it avoids all the panic of rummaging through your purse trying to write a check before the usher gets to your pew.”

  • “When you tithe once a month by check, it was always a bit disconcerting to have an offering plate put under your nose for the next three weeks.”

  • “I like it because it takes away the feelings of obligation.”

 

There are two primary reasons Grace Community Church has decided not to pass an offering plate and instead use an offering box.

 

  1. We do not want giving to be a barrier for someone to experience the supernatural grace and love of our God and Savior. Giving is an act of worship, therefore we do not want to make it a barrier for worship, whether that be for regular attenders or those contemplating visiting the church.

  2. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” We do not want anyone to feel obligated to give to the church due to human compulsion or coercion. Giving is an act of worship between God and the giver, and we believe giving should be based on the Lord's leading through prayer and supplication

 

 

Some people may have a legitimate concern on whether an offering box in the sanctuary/auditorium is scriptural. Below are a few Biblical references to help answer this question:

 

  • In 2 Kings 12, Jehoida the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid. He placed it beside the alter, on the right side as people entered the temple, to collect their gifts.

  • Mark 12:41 tells about Jesus sitting down across from where the crowd put their money into the temple treasury. That's where he spotted the widow with the two coins.

  • In 1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul mentioned that he wanted their money set aside before he came so their wouldn't have to be a collection after he arrived.

 

Others might be concerned that we are foregoing an act of worship during the service time. In response to this question, Pastor Dennis Sawyer states, “Yes, it is an act of worship. But so is visiting prisoners and feeding the hungry, yet we don't squeeze all of that into the service.”

It's worth noting that we are not eliminating tithing/giving. Giving is scriptural, and we believe the Bible does teach giving is an act of worship. We simply want to make giving as scriptural as possible by making it an act of worship between God and giver.