By Rev. Phillip Leo, Church Communications Director
Remember when the line between virtual and reality used to be blurred? Back in the day (say, four months ago), the benefits of “going digital” were touted as nearly identical – if not better – than real time and space.
But those days are over. Online Bible study anyone? Want to join me for a prayer meeting on Zoom? How about for some singing on Skype?
What? No takers? Why ever not?
Because virtual is almost there, but not quite, that’s why. It’s nearly enough, but still falls painfully short. It satisfies somewhat, but not completely. At the end of the day (or pandemic), most people have discovered reality beats virtual every time. The line between the two is as sharp as ever!
Still, there’s a place for virtual in our new reality. The task is figuring out where the line gets drawn.
When it comes to giving, most churches now have at least one digital platform. The question now becomes, “How much will digital giving be promoted and utilized going forward?”
The temptation to bury digital giving is real, especially for churches that haven’t used it for very long. As with most things, we know what we like and we like what we know.
Pass the collection plate, please!
Besides, there’s something important about the ritual of physically giving a gift to support your church’s ministry. Since we live in time and space, it means something to give a gift in time and space. As author and speaker Mark Kirchoff says, “There’s a spiritual fulfillment that comes from the act of giving an offering.”
Still, here are three simple reasons to resist letting digital giving fade into the background of your church’s ministry:
- Because virtual is still a reality, and responsible leadership models positive usage.
- Because the recent pandemic revealed our systems are extremely fragile. Regular use of digital giving platforms is just good preparation for if and when those systems fail again.
- Because when it comes to giving, virtual works better for some people than giving in real time.
At least for now, the debate has been settled: virtual reality can’t hold a candle to being in person. Celebrate this win and explore its many implications for Gospel ministry.
But don’t lose sight of how virtual will always play a role in our reality.
Barnabas Foundation is proud to be your partner in promoting financial literacy and generous giving at your church. Find articles, books, studies and more for your church under Tools and Resources. You can also email me at pleo@BarnabasFoundation.com or call 888.448.3040.
Rev. Phillip Leo is the Church Communications Director at Barnabas Foundation. Read Phil's online bio.