The Offering Plate is Empty!


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My family and I started attending a church plant in December of 2014. It is a very new church (2.5 years old in June of 2016), and the average age of the adults is approximately 30 years old. The pastor and his wife are not 35 yet.

Needless to say, this is a church full of millennials.

As we continued to attend, we noticed that we passed offering baskets but there was never anything in them. 

No one was giving. 

I found that a bit odd that we would pass baskets and nothing was said about why the baskets were empty.

So, over lunch one day I asked the pastor about this. He smiled and said “Yeah, it’s been that way from the beginning. We receive approximately 90% of our giving electronically. We have very generous people, but they don’t put anything in the baskets.”

So, being the generosity coach that I am, I mentioned to him that empty baskets gave me and my family a really bad impression about the giving culture at the church.

It raised a lot of questions for us and they were all negative. I shared those, and he asked me, “What do we do about that?”

I recommended the following so each time the person making the announcements prepares to receive the offering they would say the following:

  1. We are about to receive the offering.  The baskets are being passed around.  As they make their way around you will probably notice that the baskets are mostly empty.  That’s because we receive over 85% of our giving electronically.
  2. We can’t thank you enough for your generosity.  We have a very generous church and your giving is making a difference in lives.
  3. For instance, this past week we were able to accomplish [X]. This obviously didn’t happen without financial resources, and those resources were available because of your generosity. Thank you for giving. It is truly making a difference in lives.
  4. Feel free to give via the baskets, or you can give electronically as well by going to our website (show exact web address on the screen) and following the easy-to-use directions. Thank you again for your generosity.

Our pastor is a great student. The people making announcements now say these things with comfort and ease and are getting more and more creative with how they say it and what they celebrate.

Are your offering baskets empty on Sunday mornings due to high levels of digital giving?

Even if they are not, every church should promote their digital giving opportunities. Just before you receive the offering is the perfect time to do it; 52 Sundays a year.

Alan Wildes has 12 years with Generis and has worked with over 90 churches. Alan’s experience with local churches has reinforced his passion and ability to build relationships. Regular on-site attention allows him to personally get to know each church and its people in order to create a generosity game plan unique to them.

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