Should Churches Allow Online Tithing?

Should Churches Allow Online Tithing? November 25, 2010

We live in an online world where you can do just about everything on the Internet – including paying your tithe. The question is, should churches allow online tithing?

Before I attempt to outline both sides of the argument, I want to say that my wife and I utilize our church’s online tithing option. We pay our tithe with our credit card, which we pay each month (oftentimes every week). We do it because of the convenience of having all our expenditures in one place and anything that goes on our credit card gets paid off right away. Yes we get reward points for every dollar spent on the credit card – it is nice to have extra points from every expense, including tithe. Ok…before anyone starts pointing fingers…let me get back to online tithing.

Should a Church Offer Online Tithing?

Is having the option to tithe online wrong? It’s certainly up to each church board and pastor, but I don’t think that simply having the online option is wrong. We have the option to write a check, right? Is that wrong?

I’ve heard the following argument AGAINST online tithe:

  • “Bringing your tithe to church is symbolic. It’s a way to engage in corporate worship.”
  • “Online tithing isn’t the same because you don’t ‘feel’ it like you would if you tithed at church.”
  • “The church actually gets less because there are fees that come with online tithing – so you’re robbing God.”

I’ve also heard the following arguments FOR online tithe:

  • “It’s convenient for the worshipper to give online.”
  • “Homebound church members can tithe even when they can’t attend church.”
  • “Auto-tithe eliminates the ‘forgotten tithe’ since it’s automatically deducted from a debit or credit card.”

Now these arguments do not reflect my opinions – they’re just arguments for and against online tithing that I’ve heard. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if you tithe online or in the pew – it’s the attitude you have in your heart. You can sit in a pew and tithe for the wrong reasons and the same is true online.

Here are my questions for you:

Does online tithing take away from a person’s giving experience? Or are you a legalistic traditionalist if you don’t offer online tithe? I would love to hear your opinions about churches offering the option to tithe online.

Be sure to stop by on Monday for our take on using credit cards to tithe. Subscribe to Faith and Finance via email or RSS and you won’t miss another interesting article!

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  • Ours does it, and while I was against it at first (mainly for the symbolic reason), I’ve embraced it and now love it! It’s simple, easy, and very convenient. They debit directly from our bank account.

  • I really wish my church would offer tithing with credit and/or debt cards.

    I don’t like writing checks but this is one I’m forced to write because cash isn’t really a good option.

  • Tim

    @Jason – We were the same way at first. But it’s really nice to be able to give our gift online.

    @Kay Lynn – Checks used to be our method of giving too – cash wasn’t/isn’t something I want to carry around in larger amounts. I hope to put together an article for churches to see how easy it is to set up an online system, so maybe that will help your church :)

    Thank you both for commenting!

  • I am completely for online tithing / online charity-giving. Whatever makes it easier for people to give, in our busy lives, is a good thing.

    • Tim

      Agreed! Simplicity is good :)

  • We can tithe online at our church but only via electronic check. In other words, we use a secure login and enter our routing and account numbers. That way, there is no use of credit cards. No fees associated with them either.

    I love that I can truly give this FIRST now (I enter my tithe on Thursdays when I get paid) and I don’t have to worry about making up for a missed payment when I am not at church that week.

    • Tim

      I’ve heard of churches creating online logins for giving – sounds like it’d be pretty convenient.

      Thanks for sharing why you like online tithing/giving. I can tell from your comment how happy you are to give right away when you get paid – what an example!

  • Tea

    I tithed online at my old church. I just joined a new church this month and I don’t know if they offer the feature or not. I will say that the church uses Paypal, so the money was coming directly out of my bank account, no different than if I’d wrote a check. I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t think it’s wrong, I don’t think it stops people from coming to church. It helped me to be responsible. When I sat down to pay all my other bills online, I added my tithe to it.

    Now paying a tithe with a CC, I would do that. Because I don’t pay my CC off every month. I would like to one day, but I’ve made some poor money decisions, so added interest to my tithe is just plain silly to me.

  • Juan

    I would have to argue that online tithing is fine as long as people realize that tithing is about more than just money. I mean if people give money without thinking about it then i think it is fine because we also need to fast in other ways (ie our time) which can not be done via the internet or a credit card.

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  • I googled this very topic because the issue of online vs. the symbolic Old Testament view AND not “feeling it” came up at a luncheon. I was the odd woman out, although one said she would consider it. Glad to hear these comments. I think it’s a matter of personal choice and I personally don’t think God is going to judge one way or the other if it’s the proper tithe. I made an important decision to tithe my 10+% (with additional giving) and no matter what, that same amount is offered to the Lord every month.