When in the worship service does your church take the offering? Before the sermon? After the sermon? After the service is over? At all?
What is said prior to the offering being received? A prayer? Encouragement? A brief sermonette on tithing? Anything?
What is done during the offering being received? A song? Instrumental music? Anything?
How is the offering received? Ushers passing the plates? The plates being started in the front and passed through the congregation? Baskets at the back of the worship space for people to drop their offering in as they leave?
Is the offering time in your church an integral part of worship or something we must do to ensure we can receive enough money to pay the bills?
I attended Lifepointe Church this past Sunday. This was my second time there as I am currently working with them. Both times I have been impressed with their worship services but particularly their offering time. The offering time has been similar both times. Here is how the offering time went this Sunday.
- The offering was received after the sermon was over. This ensures to send the message that the offering is a part of worship instead of something we have to do.
- There was a brief testimonial given by a staff member or lay person prior to the offering in each worship service and they do this EVERY Sunday. This allows for everyone to hear that tithing IS something people do and people in THEIR church do actually give God 10% or are on their way to doing so. This past Sunday a female member of the church gave her giving testimony. She discussed the time in her marriage where she and her husband finally gave over control of their finances to God and how frightening and liberating it was at the same time. She then explained how God has honored their commitment to Him since that time. Great stuff!
- At lease once a month or as the need arises there is a celebration of generosity in each worship service. This past Sunday the pastor called a female lay person on stage who had recently joined the church. He then asked a couple to join them. The couple had volunteered to start a summer day camp in 2010 at the church to offer quality childcare and christian education to children in the community while the parents worked during the summer. The woman who had been called up on stage enrolled her child in the camp. She and her son did not attend the church at that time but lived close by. The camp was convenient for her and was cost effective. Prior to the camp she decided to ‘interview’ the church by attending one Sunday to make sure the church was legit. She has been attending ever since. She has since given her life to Christ. She was called on stage to deliver an envelope to the couple who started the camp. These two volunteers received a weekend getaway as a way to say thank you for their time and efforts. The vacaction was the idea of the woman who was on stage and she talked with other parents of the camp to raise the money. She gives the couple credit for giving her the opportunity to give her life to Christ! Unbelievable stuff! The generosity celebrated here was not money, but service and witness. It doesn’t always have to be about money.
- There is an upbeat praise song during the offering time. This reinforces that the offering is a part of worship. By singin during the offering time everyone is given the opportunity to sing praises to God and give him thanks for being so generous to them. The upbeat song reinforces that giving is something we do out of joy; not obligation.
- Baskets are on each table with offering envlopes and pens. This church worships around circular tables. They have offering baskets, pens, and envelopes available on each table. The pastor gives clear instructions and encourages everyone to participate. (visitor or not) There is also a power point slide illustrating what the pastor is explaining on stage. Lifepointe makes it easy for people to give during the worship service.
The offering at Lifepointe is an integral part of their worship time. The offering receives as much attention during staff meeting and worship planning as the music and the sermon itself. How does your church treat the offering time? I’d be glad to discuss this with you if you like.