Posted by: larry | January 5, 2009

Two Things at Once

cross-and-moneyIT HAS NEVER SEEMED APPROPRIATE (AT LEAST TO ME) THAT the Church of Christ combines it’s celebration of the Lord’s supper with passing the collection plate for money.  The two events are separated by a few words spoken by the person in charge which is always; “Although this is not a part of the Lord’s supper it is a convenient time to pass the collection plate.”  While it may be a convenient time, it detracts from the Lord’s supper when a collection plate is pushed under our noses asking for money while we’re still somberly contemplating the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross for us.

Surely a better method of collecting money can be devised than tacking the process to the end of the Lord’s supper.  Why not designate a contribution location somewhere in the building (perhaps the office) where a slot into a lock-box would suffice for those wishing to contribute when arriving or leaving the building.  We are to be cheerful givers, so why push the collection plates…could it be because those in charge think there will be no contributions unless we’re faced with the plate every Sunday morning!

Some churches are already providing ATM machines in the lobby for the convenience of its members; other members are transferring their contributions directly to the church online.  The big silver plate, or willowy basket thingy may soon join the now extinct Dodo bird.  I don’t think ATM’s are the answer, but probably not much worse than some of our current money collecting schemes techniques.

I’m not expecting any changes soon; it has become a part of our tradition.

And your opinion…

o   o   o   o   o

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Responses

  1. I guess every church is a little different. My current church takes up one collection at the end of the service after everything else has been completed. It’s done rather low key. We have these deep cloth bags on a wand, so you can’t see anything that’s been dropped in as it goes by.

    When i went to the Blue Church in the early eighties, they never took up collection at all. they had something like you described. As you came into the church you passed between two pillers. their was a slot in each and yiou just slipped your tithe or donation in the slot. The church never seemed to come up short.

    Larry E.

  2. Hi Larry,
    I think the plan is to create a sense of guilt if one does not put something into the offering plate upon reflection of Christ’s sacrifice.
    Also, I had heard that the church my wife and I left over a year ago was planning on doing some kind of ATM machine for donations and tithes.
    That is just tacky. You are correct. A box in the lobby is certainly enough.
    Jim

  3. Larry E

    I like the idea of the “deep cloth bags on a wand” much better than the big ol’ open plates that let others know you dropped in a quarter… :)

    Thanks for the comments.

  4. Jim,

    Churches often build huge worship structures, classrooms, and grand fellowship halls then have to keep the contribution plate right in your face to pay the bills.

    It just doesn’t look right when we have visitors and the next thing you know there’s a plate being passed around for our/their money.

    Your right, ATM machines in the church lobby “is just tacky.”

    Glad you dropped by. I will get it together soon and start commenting again…been lazy!

  5. Larry, there is nothing wrong with dropping in a quarter. This is the only time I know of where a penny can be worth more than a hundred dollars.

  6. Laymond,

    I like the metal type collection trays; one can thump the bottom and hold on to the quarter.

  7. I don’t like the stick with a basket on the end. I does make you feel bad for not putting anything in the plate. I’d love to see a change but I could see folks not giving at all.

  8. Milly

    The “stick with a basket” thingy does seem strange, but it would allow someone to withdraw money in secret as well as contribute… :)

    Churches with huge budgets may be in trouble for a little while until the economy bounces back; quarters may be all Christians can afford.

    Thanks for coming by.

  9. Larry,
    Wonderful post.
    I have always felt the same way.
    I think it takes away from what commnion is all about.
    I think taking a collection should maybe go at the end of service or even put boxes in the back where people can leave their donations to the church.
    I think that we should think about how much we are going to give to God before we get to church or worship. I think ATM’s send the wrong message as giving to God at the spur of the moment or not thinking about how much you are going to give to God until you go to the ATM. How many ATM’s do we pass going to worship? Come on…. God wants our first. God wants our best. Not the leftovers. So many times we give God the crippled lamb instead of the best. It is my prayer that we always as believers give God our best.

  10. Kinny

    Combining the Lord’s supper with our contributions certainly has the possibility of taking some significance from the communion service, especially in the eyes of our visitors.

    Like most traditions that are found in our worship regimen, many would think in sinful to change the order.

  11. Maybe there’s precedent for having a collection after communion … After His last Passover meal with His friends, Jesus went out and gave everything He had … His freedom … His dignity … His life.

  12. Keith

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    Indeed “Jesus went out and gave everything He had” for us after the Passover meal, but I don’t see that as a precedent for combining the meal with collecting money.

    While I don’t think it’s a soul-damning practice to combine the two, it doesn’t give the communion its full impact, but lessens the experience by collecting money immediately while many are still meditating on His death…

    Just my opinion, and I appreciate yours…

  13. Read your comments days ago and agree. I can’t help but wonder about “as a matter of convenience”. If we start down that path we could go to curb service or just stay at home as that really would be “more convenient”. Then I pondered why it should be “inconvenient” for the men who serve to rise and perform their duties at two different times–isn’t our God worth a little extra effort, considering that he gave his only Son for us? Just wondering………

  14. Ruth

    Perhaps there are still some drive-in churches around, but serving the emblems from car-to-car might prove tricky…

    I don’t think the men would have a problem with “to rise and perform their duties at two different times,” as long as they understood its purpose.

    We have combined the communion and collection process together for so many years it probably wouldn’t be a welcome change to separate the two at this point.

  15. Hi Larry,

    I think the Lord’s Supper and offerings should be done separately.

    Persons need time to reflect on both issues separately.

    Good point!

  16. Russ,

    Thanks for the comments.

    It sure seems better to separate the two different events, but for some it would probably look like a departure from God’s will if anything changed in the Sunday worship service.

  17. Yes, some do not like change!;)

    I hope all is well Larry.

    I have some new posts.

    Russ

  18. Larry,

    It is April 12, have a joyful day.

    Christ is risen,

    Larry E.


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