Big Questions

Digital Life: EFT and Me

Maybe giving electronically makes the act invisible to your kids or grandchildren.

Our deacons are promoting electronic funds transfer (EFT) as a giving option for our church. I think I can figure out how it works, but doing it this way makes my gifts feel less thoughtful and deliberate.

I have the same feeling about adding “God bless” as an automatic signature on my e-mails. It sounds nice and all, but if it happens automatically, is it a genuine expression of my feelings that is conveyed every time I send an email?

Giving to your church via EFT for the recurring electronic transfer of money from your bank account to your church’s is not a new idea, and churches who offer this usually have a step-by-step guide for setting it up securely.

For the church, it’s great because the computers behind these transactions are more reliable than we humans sometimes are. It also requires less administrative work for church staff and volunteers. It can even be argued that giving via EFT is more secure. For givers, it’s something they can set up and forget about.

But it’s the forgetting that’s the problem, right?

Maybe pick a time—the end of year is good, or the beginning of a church year—to think deeply and pray hard about your planned contributions for the following year. For many of us, this once-a-year exercise could actually be more thoughtful—and wise—than the weekly checkwriting you do as you’re rushing out of the house on Sunday morning.

Or maybe, instead of committing to writing a check each month, commit to keeping an eye on the financial reports published by your church. Ask a question if something doesn’t look right. Increase your gift if need be. Your time and attention is worth something too.

Finally, as with any technology, you can always opt out of the deacons’ suggestion to use EFT. Maybe giving online doesn’t feel secure to you. Maybe giving electronically makes the act invisible to your kids or grandchildren. Maybe you’re simply not ready. Whatever the case, it’s the thought behind your giving that matters.

About the Author

Dean Heetderks is co-director of Ministry Support Services of the Christian Reformed Church. He attends Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.