The Passing of the Plates


The worship leader comes back onto the stage after the preaching is over.

“Thank you, pastor, for that powerful message on the resurrection!” 

: Regular attendees sit in silence. They know what’s about to happen:

“At this time, I would like the ushers to come up as we pray over our tithes and offering.”

: Men come up to the front with offering plates:

“God, I ask that you bless the offering that you are about to receive. Please let us use it to further your ministry and raise money to sponsor our kids for summer camp. More talking…more thanking…and all Gods people said Amen.”

: Plates get passed: People give: Everyone sings a song: The race to lunch has commenced: 

Though we jest a little, we’re sure you can relate to this. For many of us, the tithes/offering is a weekly occurrence across churches of all denominations. After all, air conditioners and bus trips aren’t free. It requires our financial resources to pay for the tools that enable us to do ministry. This poses a question though:

Are offering plates still #relevant in 2019?

We’re seeing many churches do away with the passing of offering plates and have shifted towards encouraging their members to give exclusively online or drop their donations off in a box on their way out. Rather than have an official time of tithes and offerings, some pastors are incorporating it into other aspects of the worship service. This could be during a time of prayer or even a song.

For many (including some of us too), this is met with a great deal of skepticism. After all, giving is a HUGE aspect of worship. If we don’t dedicate time in each service to allow people to give, are we risking hindering their time of worship? Not only that, but will giving go down because we don’t have a dedicated time of the service to focus on it?

Over the past year, we’ve asked some of these questions to pastors who stopped passing offering plates regularly… and we have to admit we were a bit surprised. These are the two biggest things we pulled from them:

1. Combining giving with other elements of the service has not taken away from the worship aspect of giving.

2. Overall giving has not gone down (and has gone up in some churches).

One pastor said this:

“Rather than have ushers pass around plates, I just remind everyone at the end of the service how to either give online or simply drop off their donations into the box on their way out. We’re able to still have the worship aspect of giving while eliminating any awkwardness and stigma attached to taking a formal offering or passing plates.”  

Should you stop passing offering plates? 

We wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have ChurchTrac’s Online Giving setup yet. You should do that first before you even think about venturing into those waters. Once you’ve had Online Giving in use for a few months, it wouldn’t hurt to experiment with changing up how you collect your tithes/giving. Small changes to our church services can be a good thing if we do them for the right reasons and not just merely for the sake of change. That being said, nobody knows your church as well as you do. What works well for one church may not be good for another.

Have you changed how you accept tithes and offerings in your church? We’d love to hear about it. Email us.

Are you using Online Giving yet in your ministry? If not, learn more about ChurchTrac Online Giving today!