Northside Church quit passing offering plates during the pandemic. Studies later revealed that COVID-19 spreads mainly through airborne particles; but the virus can survive on surfaces for hours. Therefore, the worship team delayed the reinstitution of the venerable offering plate.
Congregants learned to give in other ways. The church emphasized online donations, automatic bank transfers, and electronic checks. People used their omnipresent phones for text giving. We placed lock boxes in the lobbies for those who brought donations to church. Members gave generously in a wide variety of ways, and Northside finished the past two years with financial surpluses.
This winter we plan to reintroduce passing offering plates in worship. Most people will continue to give digitally, and we encourage the practice. The physical act of collecting an offering transcends the financial. The practice reminds believers that our tithes and offerings serve as tokens of discipleship.
Northside encourages children to attend worship with their families and church family. Boys and girls LOVE the offering and beg their parents for cash. They relish the opportunity to drop coins and bills into the plates. The students grasp the plate firmly and pass it reluctantly. They are learning what it means to be stewards of God’s riches.
Christians have discovered new ways to give, and offering plates may seem passé. However, worship ritual shapes personal faith. The church recognizes the giver’s need to give and the church’s need to receive. God’s children of all ages learn how to love the Lord with heart, soul, mind, strength, AND money.