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The COVID-19 pandemic and response have changed the way a lot of us do things. Messiah’s temporary change to the worship online-only format is something I doubt any of our congregation would have foreseen at the beginning of this year.  The goal of writing this article is to address a question that I have received since the change of worshipe format: In the current environment, what are my options for giving to Messiah Lutheran Church?

I appreciate the question because it acknowledges the importance of returning a portion of what God has provided as a regular act of faith even in these unusual times. What I provide here are a few simple methods of giving to replace the regular act of passing the offering plate on Sunday morning.

1. Use your regular offering envelope with a stamp and mail with a check. The envelopes are already addressed to the church. Personally, I would be less-inclined to list designations on the envelope and would list any specifics on the check or an enclosed post-it note instead, or (best practice) use a standard business envelope and put your offering envelope inside.   NOTE: Please do not send cash with this method. Cash lost in transit is untraceable and unrecoverable.

2. Consider setting up a payee from your bank’s online portal. While the label is unfortunate when applied to the church, this usually falls under the heading of ‘Online Bill Pay’ or something similar.  A typical experience is:

First ‘Add a payee’ with name, address, and phone number. Use the following for Messiah:           

7740 HIGHWAY 72 W
MADISON AL 35758-9557

* Once entered, a payment can often be specified as ‘one time’ or ‘recurring’ with date(s) and amount(s).  * Some services also allow a ‘memo’ to be provided. This could be used to designate an offering if different from ‘Church Ministries ‘.

3. Set up an online giving account via Messiah’s giving portal on www.mlutheran.org (look for the ‘Online Giving’ link) or directly at (https://www.myowngiving.com/Default.aspx?cid=252) and schedule one-time or recurrent payments.  NOTE: While valid and convenient, these gifts are processed by a 3rd party service with one percent of the giving going to pay for that service.

If you do set up regular payments with your banking institution, I recommend that you also set up notifications on payment if available.  The offering is a regular part of worship in the Lutheran liturgy and is a reminder that we are returning to God what God has first given to us. This might be easy to miss with the ‘quiet processing’ of gifts from an account. Using the payment notification via email or text serves as a reminder that you are in fact participating in an important act of faith.

Please feel free to direct questions to me or to the church office.  Please stay safe and healthy, and thank you for your faithfulness during this time.   

Best regards,

Dan Byers, Messiah Finance Committee Chair