Not About the Money

Yesterday’s Augusta Chronicle included a rather funny story about a local minister developing a tithing app for mobile phones. The funny parts, of course, were the quotes trying to put a holy sheen on collecting money:

“My goal back then was figuring out how we could serve our congregation who doesn’t carry cash or a checkbook,” Baker said.

Yes, how may we help you…give us money?

Tithes were first given with animals and grains, then coins and cash, and later checks and debit cards, Baker said.

“It’s not the method that matters to God,” he said. “It’s the heart.”

Or the total take. One of the two.

Tech-savvy churches will find that mobile giving not only increases donations, but paves the way for new relationships, Baker said.

Because (and here I am paraphrasing as accurately as I can) the important thing to someone looking for a church is that they be able to find one that uses technology.

Kudos are due to the reporter who noted that Baker’s company, which created the app and already produces tithing kiosks for church lobbies (right next to the gift shop?), is a for-profit company. It would have been nice, however, to know why charging a fee that covers more than expenses is a service to the church or its deity.

Some of the comments are similarly funny:

Techfan, even Jesus had a Treasurer (although he was a dishonest treasurer). So, money is necessary in order to get things done.

Because Jesus, divine being that he was, couldn’t possibly find a way to manage without money. Good to know.

I think it feels wonderful to give.
Once I do it is up to the person intrusted with the money to do with it what God would want. I have to believe it does some good because it was done in the name of God.

Ah, faith.

Look, any community organization takes money and labor to run. It’s not unreasonable to want someone who (presumably) gets a benefit from your organization to contribute to its operation. It’s also not unreasonable to make that contribution easier if you can.

It’s ridiculous, however, to be claiming some special virtue in doing this specifically for churches. It’s doubly ridiculous to claim that virtue at the same time you’re pulling in $40 to $500 per month per church.

Not About the Money

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