Monday, September 12, 2016

Why Don’t We Pass the Plate in the Common Ground Worship Service?

“Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
-2 Corinthians 9:7

Each Sunday morning during the Common Ground Worship service we sing praises to God, pray, read scripture, hear the Word of God preached, and have a response time. But one thing we don’t do is pass an offering plate. Offering boxes have been installed just outside the doors of the Oasis. For some this is hard to imagine a worship service without passing the plate, let me give you four reasons to consider on why we did this:

•    To emphasize giving, not the process. Giving in various cultures differs. In some cultures, church members dance down front and place their offering in a bucket or barrow. In our culture, offerings are most often passed around. I wouldn’t feel comfortable dancing my tithe or offering down the to the front! It is similar to the plate; some feel put on the spot. The desire to empathize giving and not the process by which we give.
•    To allow more options for giving.  The addition of the boxes allows church members to give anytime they are in our building.  The boxes give a much-needed degree of freedom for volunteers, those who have to leave before a service starts, or our guests. Jesus reminds us that the right hand shouldn’t know what the left hand is doing (Matt. 6:3). Some prefer this privacy in giving, and there is nothing wrong with demonstrating humility as we give.
•    To duplicate an Old Testament example. There is nothing new under the sun! 2 Kings 12:9, “Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid. He placed it beside the altar, on the right side as one enters the temple of the LORD.”  Notice the box was placed for worshippers to drop their gift in as they entered! We now have the same ability!
•    To simplify. I am a big fan of K.I.S., Keep It Simple! Not only does this take one more item of the lengthy Sunday Morning order of service, but it also frees up manpower!

That all sounds good pastor, but isn’t giving an act of worship? Yes, of course giving is an act of worship with visiting members, feeding the hungry, taking care of widows and orphans. But we don’t do every act of worship when the church gathers together. So these are the reasons why we don’t pass the plate. As a side note, I have heard it said by church critics that church cares too much about money. The boxes instead of passing the plate take away at least one bulletin from our critics. We want to communicate that we care more about them than their money!

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