The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


E-giving takes root where checks, cash reigned

Many still want to put something in collection plate

Ryan M. Gray, a senior investigator in the derivatives marketplace, is hard-pressed to recall writing a check since he may write two or three in a month.

Gray is a big believer in electronic giving to his church, St. Luke Lutheran of Logan Square in Chicago, and encourages it in his role as vice president of the congregational council.

"With a stewardship campaign in the past few months, it's helpful to know that people's pledges will actually make their way into the treasury," he said.

"Please key in your donation and pass along."

Gray, 34, realized the need to make his giving easier when he and his wife, Gina Forgianni Gray, an attorney, sat down to get a closer look at their incoming and outgoing household expenses. Gray has been using electronic banking to pay bills since 1999, and he jumped on the chance to do the same with tithing when St. Luke implemented its program in 2010.

"My wife and I are so busy, we thought the automatic deduction would spare the scramble we had had during the church service when we suddenly realized we didn't have cash or a check," Gray said. "The process made [tithing] a lot more convenient. We knew our intentions would be reflected in what the church receives."

Gray's pastor, Erik Christensen, 37, said the direct-debit giving program, as St. Luke calls it, is starting to pick up steam among the congregation's growing number of 20-, 30- and 40-somethings.

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February issue


Embracing diversity