by Pastor Mark Anderson, Assistant to the Bishop

What have we learned about being the church during this pandemic? We have learned we can proclaim Christ not just in the sanctuary but streaming on-line worship, FM transmitters, outdoor worship, social media posts, and so much more. We have learned new ways to do outreach and new ways to stay in contact with our members.

We have learned that we are way more creative and resilient than we thought.

We also learned that congregations that actively invite use of electronic giving can thrive in both a pandemic and a post-pandemic context. Just one of the companies which process electronic giving, Vanco, reports that they processed over $4,000,000 in offerings to congregations in the Northeastern Iowa Synod last year. Congregations that use electronic giving have an average weekly attendance as large as 919 and as small as 38. This includes not only reoccurring monthly gifts but also allows people to give with their credit card by using either their cell phone or the congregation’s web page.

In our Synod, 25 of our congregations that allow members to donate using their credit card see 400% more electronic giving than 30 of those who do not.

The simple truth is that most people don’t’ carry much cash, most people don’t use their checkbook as much as they did.  Most people are getting accustomed to automatic withdrawal and paying their bills on-line.

To further the work of the church, we need to make giving as simple and easy as possible.

Electronic giving invites increased generosity from our members allowing them to more fully participate in the mission of the church. 

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.