Why I Put $$ in the Collection Plate, Even Though I Pledge to the Church

Nothing distresses me more than to visit a congregation, sit a third of the way back, and see that the collection plate is nearly empty when it reaches me. Now I know that most members pledge to the church and dutifully mail their checks to the church each month. And that’s why the collection plates in those churches look pretty empty as they are passed from pew to pew.

But imagine that you’re a visitor to that church. What message are we giving to the visitor, to see that hardly anyone is putting money into the plate? Perhaps that the church doesn’t need the money? Perhaps that the people here are really stingy and just don’t give? What message are we giving?

I’ve even suggested to some church leaders that it would be a good idea for someone in the front row [or an usher] to “salt” the collection plate by putting in a twenty. Do you think it would be dishonest if the church treasurer put a twenty dollar bill of the church’s own money into each collection plate on Sundays, to get things rolling, and then removed those bills to be used again the next week? Would it improve giving?

Is there a way to suggest to pledging members that they give additional money to the church on Sundays, if they have it? Many people wouldn’t miss the additional $5 or $10 [or more!] that they would put in the plate, and if it caught on, it could make a big difference to the church’s budget.

In the church where I’m a member, the offering money is divided, with a large percentage of the offering going to a charitable organization suggested by a congregation member who is involved with that group. Giving away the offering is a way of contributing to the good work being done in the community. A small percentage goes toward the church budget. When I attend services there, I always put cash into the collection plate. I know some of it will go to a community group and some will stay at the church for the church’s own work. And I don’t reduce our pledge knowing that I’ll be giving Sunday-to-Sunday, either. Consider it gravy — or perhaps a better word would be “gratitude” that the church is there for me, and others, every day of every week, every year. I consider it a real bargain!

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4 Responses to “Why I Put $$ in the Collection Plate, Even Though I Pledge to the Church”

  1. Christine Robinson Says:

    Here in ABQ, we practice “change for the future”, and encourage everybody to give all the pocket change they have with them to the offering, to be given to a good cause every other month or so. Money to be given to the church goes in envelopes or by check. It has enlivened the offering no end!

  2. nheege Says:

    Thanks, Christine! Great idea! I know of a church in our district that does the same thing with change collected, and they’re happy with the money they’re able to give away.

  3. Mary Gleason Says:

    I also put money in the plate every time it passes even though I pay my monthly pledge via electronic transfer. My reason for doing so is to model financial stewardship to the children before they leave for RE. It is important to always ask what message we are sending to the children including what it takes to keep our church going. Otherwise, we risk a sense of entitlement that will not serve us well in the future.

  4. nheege Says:

    Thanks for commenting, Mary. Yes, you’re right about letting our children see what we value and how we care for that.

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