— 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.