Tithing, 21st Century Style: The ‘Text To Give’ Option Adds Onto Mobile Giving

Back in the olden church days, the only option churchgoers had to pay their weekly tithes and offerings meant dropping cash in the offering plates that passed by. Then checks became an option, with folks writing checks from their checking accounts made payable to various churches or pastors or visiting pastors as “love offerings,” as the case may have been.

However, once debit and credit cards became popular, churches began making room for credit and debit card numbers to be written on envelopes along with the amounts to be debited for that week’s offering. There was also the option for ACH giving, which meant that church members could choose to designate a specific amount to be deducted from their checking accounts on a regular basis. Those choices were convenient for those givers who knew the specific amounts they planned to give as a tithe each week, not necessarily for those whose incomes – and therefore tithing amounts – varied on a weekly basis.

The latest online trends in giving, as reported by the Dothan Eagle, includes the “text to give” tithing option, which makes it easy for those who are used to using their mobile phones and accustomed to texting to text their tithes to their churches.

The “text to give” option isn’t something used by churches alone, but also by political organizations, campaigns and any other crowd-funded type of place that wants to offer texting as a way to give.

The text-to-give extra steps might mire mobile donations, however, reports the New York Times. It’s the text-to-give extra clicks that some apps require – based on the users’ smartphone platform – along with concerns about financial data safety, which might dissuade some from using the texting option.

Others, however, could find the giving via text messages an easy way to pay their tithes. Instead of whipping out cash, a checkbook, or scribbling their credit or debit card numbers on envelopes, certain church members might prefer to text their amounts to the designated church texting number. Also, churches offer easy ways for parishioners to clearly outline where they want their tithes to appear by categorizing various labels to accompany their texts.

For example, $50 sent towards the missions’ ministry might mean texting the amount and the word “mission” along with the text. The same logic would follow for giving to the “TV ministry” or the “building fund” and other options.

[Getty Images/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service]