3 August, 2021

Offering as Worship

by | 19 July, 2021 | 3 comments

— VIEWS —

By Terry Allcorn

One of the joys of my role as president at Kentucky Christian University is that my wife and I worship in a different church almost every Sunday. We have been privileged to visit churches just down the road from the university and as far away as Hawaii.

In our travels, I’ve noticed a trend: The collection of an offering is becoming a background activity during the worship service. I think this partly results from technology that allows us to give our offering remotely.

Just to be clear, I appreciate the adjustment toward electronic giving. It was especially helpful in keeping people safe during the recent pandemic.

However, this change in how we give combined with an overt attempt to clearly communicate that the church—and university!—are not just after the money of churchgoers have combined to unintentionally mute the key role that the offering plays in our worship.

May I be so bold as to call us back to celebrating the offering as worship? I do this not because offerings are down or as a fund-raising gimmick. I have witnessed incredible generosity throughout the pandemic. My concern is that we are inadvertently deemphasizing the biblical concept of the offering as worship.

I have heard some very well-done Communion meditations that are rich with Scripture and prayer. These meditations prepared me to sit before my Savior and reflect on the profound impact of his death, burial, and resurrection on my life. However, I honestly cannot recall more than one or two brief comments on the spiritual discipline of giving or practicing good stewardship. I fear that our congregations are missing a wonderful opportunity to provide regular teaching on the biblical nature of giving and stewardship. I believe we should purposefully incorporate biblical teaching about offering being a part of our worship.

It likely is ill-advised to presume that everyone knows the teachings on this central act of worship. The current practice of announcing that offerings can be left in a tray on the way out or sent in via an app need to be supplemented by solid teaching about giving being a key act of worship.

The church needs to teach that it pleases our heavenly Father when we give joyously, and that the early church worked (and gave) to meet each other’s needs, and that giving is in response to God blessing us, and that any level of generosity must be accompanied by justice, mercy, and faithfulness. The church needs to teach that we are to honor the Lord with our wealth, and where our treasure is indicates the interests of our hearts.

When we fail to emphasize the offering, we neglect a key aspect of worshipping our Lord.

Terry Allcorn serves as president of Kentucky Christian University in Grayson.

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3 Comments

  1. Derrell Brame

    Thanks Terry! I appreciate your thoughts. I’ve felt this way for a long time. We have always passed the offering plate after a meditation on the offering. Great time to teach and focus as a part of our worship! Thanks again!

  2. Robert Smith

    Brother Terry Allcorn,
    I appreciate your note on the marginalization of the offering as a form of worship in our corporate services on Sundays. The COVID response of reducing touch has led to hermetically sealed individual Communion and a press for touch-free offering boxes in the lobby and on-line giving. The passing of Communion service and offering plates are envisioned by some corporate worship planners as a thing of the past. With multiple services held by some congregations, there is a press to get all the items completed in an hour or even less. Where I serve as an elder we have compromised by weekly alternating Communion and offering meditations and those are expected to be short.

    I know that some people in the U.S. are embarrassed by the collection of offerings. Some of that originates in our U.S. individualism. When we see giving like Communion as a corporate act of worship we are blessed.

    Some years ago I was able to visit with Christian brothers and sisters in Ghana together with Enoch Nyador of Ghana Christian Mission. Among those Christians I saw far greater joy in giving from their relative poverty and enthusiastic worship of God in this activity than I have witnessed in U.S. congregations. At one service four different offerings were collected. The collection receptacle was placed in an open area at the front of the meeting hall and those with gifts came up in groups starting with the elders and ending with the youth and they sang and danced in a line as they came up to share from the blessings that God had entrusted to them. They collected offerings for congregational operations, for support of missionaries, for a wedding gift for a former member who had moved away, and for the youth so that they could have a thank-you party with Cokes and biscuits for having cleared trash and vegetation from around the building exterior.

    We have a great deal of freedom in how we worship God. Perhaps your article will nudge those in U.S. congregations to consider giving more time and emphasis in our corporate gatherings to giving offerings. May we honor God in our giving of time, talents and treasure.

    Worshipping God with you,
    Bob Smith

  3. Mark Miller

    I agree wholeheartedly with your article. I was visiting a church last week that talked about giving in the sermon. It was well done. They announced at the conclusion of the message that the weekly offering would go toward a church planting effort, which I decided to give to. However, I was not able to give at the moment as it was all online. Great teaching and challenge, yet the opportunity to act was limited.

    I also see a lot of churches minimizing Communion as well…. You can pick it up on your way out after the service. It’s barely mentioned in the service. Sad to see!

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