Money-back tithing guarantee, ATMs at church

Here’s an approach to tithing we probably won’t see from Church HQ any time soon:

Here’s something different., the church with locations in Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and online is offering a three-month tithing challenge. Give for three months. If God doesn’t deliver on his promise to provide for you, you can ask for your money back. All of it. No questions asked.

The same article points (through a few hops) to this article as well:

It is a bid for relevance in a nation charmed by pop culture and consumerism, and it is not an uncommon one. But Baker has waded further into the 21st century than most fishers of American souls, as evidenced one Wednesday night when churchgoer Josh Marshall stepped up to a curious machine in the church lobby.

It was one of Stevens Creek’s three “Giving Kiosks”: a sleek black pedestal topped with a computer screen, numeric keypad and magnetic-strip reader. Prompted by the on-screen instructions, Marshall performed a ritual more common in quickie marts than a house of God: He pulled out a bank card, swiped it and punched in some numbers.

The machine spat out a receipt. Marshall’s $400 donation was routed to church coffers before he had found his seat for evening worship.

What makes this last item particularly funny is that the print edition of the Sugar Beet (the late, lamented LDS equivalent of the Onion) had an article several years ago about the Church installing ATMs in ward buildings for making donations, doing automated tithing settlement, reporting home teaching, and a few other functions. I remember showing the article to the bishop (I was one of his counselors), and — after chuckling — he observed that it really could be useful.

Actually, I don’t think the Church would go in this direction. Instead, I think the Church at some point is going to really make a push into having members of a ward carry out functions via the ward’s web site (highly underused by most wards). I think the success of the system (which really is pretty remarkable) points out the future direction of Church technology involving members. ..bruce..

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