We are pleased to launch a new opportunity for you to be able to make financial contributions to the church through a secure online system. In addition to the previous giving methods of cash or checks, you now have the ability to give your tithes and offerings through your computer, phone or tablet. Click or tap the link below to initiate a contribution, or see the following Frequently Asked Questions.
Frequently Asked Questions about Online Giving at Fellowship
Q: Why are we doing this?
A: Financial giving is an act of worship. God’s Word is clear on this. Being generous is a part of the character of God, and giving joyfully is a command. So we are providing this as an additional opportunity for you to give. For those who do not use checks on a regular basis, or for anyone who forgets to prepare an offering before the Sunday worship gathering, this will make contributions simple.
Q: Do I have to change the method of how I have been giving all these years?
A: Not at all. You can continue giving through cash or check contributions, and nothing will change.
Q: Is it easy? How does it work?
A: Online giving is very simple. You can give anytime, day or night. Click here for a direct link to the secure giving webpage. Enter the amount you want to give, and your email address. The next page will ask for details on your payment method, like any other online transaction. You can even set up recurring weekly or monthly gifts. Currently we are able to accept ACH bank drafts, debit and credit cards. We encourage you not to pay via credit card unless you pay off your credit card bill each month.
Q: Are there any transaction fees?
A: There are no fees directly charged to you as you give, but the church will pay some processing fees through our budget. We highly recommend ACH bank drafts, which have dramatically lower fees than cards. Since this is a new feature, ACH bank drafts currently require an administrator to set up your account, but very soon you will be able to set up and make ACH bank draft contributions on your own. Email the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org to get an ACH bank draft account started.
Q: Will more features be added?
A: Very soon our online service provider, Planning Center Online, will introduce new and updated features, including a new donor interface, where you will be able to manage payment methods, check your contribution history, and administrate your recurring gifts. More improvements will be ongoing.
Q: Is this the same thing as allowing “money changers” into the “temple”?
A: First, we already pay some bank and transaction fees. Almost any entity that has any accounts pays some fees. So what about the money changers? In the Gospels, Jesus’ righteous indignation (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-46; John 2:13-17) seems to be aimed at the overall converting of the temple from a house of prayer and worship into a marketplace or emporium (John 2:16 actually uses the Greek word for emporium). In every account of the temple cleansings, it appears the money changers were there to further the marketplace, not truly to help in worship. Jesus’ clear concern is that the temple leaders were distorting what the sacrifices represented: God wanted their hearts in worship, not mere sacrifices to fulfill commands (compare Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13). Finally, the money changers were apparently extorting people, charging extra money beyond simple exchange rates, rather than providing a helpful service to assist in genuine worship.
Q: Is it tax deductible?
A: Yes. Charitable contributions given online follow the same guidelines as giving via cash or check. In January you will receive a separate end-of-year online giving statement which can be combined with your cash or check giving statement. Your online giving statement will include the full amounts of your gifts, without regard to the transaction fees that are assessed later in processing.
Q: How much should I give?
A: Ultimately, this is between you and the Lord, but the Scriptures give ample guidelines to follow. The Bible is clear that everything belongs to God anyway. He is the creator, so that means He is also the owner and controller. He simply allows us to manage or steward His funds. Under Old Testament law, God’s people were commanded to give a tenth of all their proceeds--gross, not net--so giving a tenth of everything God gives you was the original plan. But in the church age of grace in Christ, who Himself accomplished the law for us, God desires that we go beyond the letter of the law and live out the spirit of the law. In other words, we give because God gave. He was immeasurably generous in giving us His Son to come and rescue us, so we reflect the love and character of God when we give generously, perhaps using 10% as only a baseline from which we can give more. If you are not yet giving 10%, then start from where you are. God promises to bless us when we give:
“Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over--will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)