“What’s in your wallet?” So says one of the popular credit card campaigns of recent years. According to people who study such things, 185 million Americans carry three bank-issued credit cards, four retail credit cards, and one debit card. You know what’s increasingly not in our wallets? Cash and checks. According to one source, five years ago 80% of spending in the US was cashless.
We’ve been reflecting on giving trends here at Zion. It’s not a task that anyone really enjoys – maybe we can call it a necessary evil. It’s necessary because, as we said last month, regular financial support to Zion continues to increase, but slowly. Some calculations suggest contributions increased only 3% from 2008 to 2017. So it’s necessary that we take a closer look. But it’s evil because looking at dollar signs and giving trends can so easily lead us into sin. After all, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils (1 Tim 6:10).
We don’t worship money. We worship Jesus. But it takes money to run a Christian mission. I believe that most Christians earnestly want to support their local Christian mission, but very few support it as much as they want to. I’ve often wondered if part of the reason is that we aren’t set up to receive contributions in the ways that people are accustomed to contributing. In other words, we are depending on cash and checks, which fewer and fewer people use. I sincerely think people want to generously support things like the church that are important to them, but we just don’t have cash on hand.
A few years ago, we began offering electronic giving through your bank account. Adoption has been slow but steady. We now have more than 30 households who have signed up, and these households account for about 20% of our total giving. I think we’re on to something.
Starting this month, we’re broadening our options for electronic giving. Now, you can support Zion the same way you spend money online, pay your bills, and purchase gas and groceries. That is, now you can contribute to Zion with your credit or debit card. There are two ways to do this.
1) Go to http://ZionMitchell.Org and click on Online Giving. You can even give to specific funds!
2) Send a text to 605-250-2110 and include the dollar amount as the message. The first time you do this, you’ll be sent a link to a registration page, where you can enter your contact and card information. After that, you’ll receive a verification text as well as a receipt via email. Then in the future, simply send a text with the amount you wish to give, and it will process automatically.
Just in case you think this is only for the younger folks, consider this: research suggests that card usage for all spending is growing the fastest in the 65 and older age group.
So go ahead and give it a try! And please do tell us what you think.