ARP News Update

Electronic Tithes and Offerings
Why your church should use them

 >continued from 09.05.2012 Update

Credit Card Debate
There is some debate about whether a church should allow people to contribute using a credit card. Many churches don’t want members to go into debt when giving, but there are advantages. Many people now carry one or more credit cards that provide rewards for purchases made.

However, a church can choose to accept only debit cards, along with electronic checks. Debit cards act like an ATM or check and deduct the funds from the givers checking account with no debt incurred.

Some consider the debit card to be better than electronic checks, as the transaction will not complete if there are not sufficient funds in the giver’s account. An electronic check transaction will complete, but it takes up to two days to find out if there are enough funds to cover the donation.

Who Do You Trust?
Once the decision is made to start taking contributions electronically, the most important aspect of that decision is who you will trust to process the transactions. Most churches and businesses choose to talk to their bank. However, most banks don’t have the systems needed to create a useful online giving platform, not to mention the high fees and difficult to use solutions, making it prohibitive for smaller churches.

Another option is a third party provider, experienced in online payment processing, with a proven track record in processing electronic giving for churches. Third party processors, in most cases, have lower start-up and monthly fees than banks, allowing smaller churches to take advantage of their services.

Does the size of the church matter? How small is too small? That may vary, based on the demographics of your church members. If you have a sixty-member church and all happen to be below 60 years of age, you may get a majority of members who use it. Or you may have a church with three hundred members and it may not work.

The key is to get members to use it. You can find out who is interested by taking a survey or simply asking church members if they would use this service if available. Also make sure your “Giving” button is easy to locate on the church Website – even putting one on multiple pages. If you get a positive response, educate your members on how to use it and take every opportunity to let everyone know they can support their church online.

Steve Contino is clerk of Session at Rogers Memorial ARP Church, Rock Hill, SC. He is also COO of EasyDraft – Innovative Payment Solutions.

Laity in Action Conference Cancelled
The Laity in Action Conference scheduled for Sept. 14-15 at Bonclarken has been cancelled, due to low registration. “With less than 15 registered, expenses would not be met,” said Conference director Tom Patterson. “Hopefully next year, we can work with Christian Education to revive the conference.”
Registration fees will be refunded.

Minutes of Synod Now Available
The Minutes of General Synod 2012 and the updated Manual of Authorities and Duties are available for download:
Printed copies will be in the mail soon.

In addition, the new ARPC Web site is now on-line: Please check the directory of churches under “Find A Church” in the menu bar and let me know if your meeting address, e-mail and church Web site links are correct. If you have a Web site link to our old page, please update it to the new site.