Is online giving the same as the tithing during worship?
Thanks for your question for us at the OPC website.
No, it’s not exactly the same thing. But that doesn’t mean it is wrong to give online to the Lord’s work.
When the congregation gathers for worship, God’s people perform various acts of worship such as singing, praying, hearing and reading Scripture, etc. And one element that should be included in this list is presenting offerings to the Lord, because it is a specific way God has said he wants to be worshipped. Giving is a part of corporate worship that we ought not to overlook.
Not every person or family will put something in every offering or do so on every Lord’s Day. People often give on a schedule that corresponds to their paydays. That can vary from once a month to four or five times a month.
But the point is to give as a matter of worshipping with the entire congregation. If a particular Sunday is not “our day” to place an offering, we can still rejoice with those who do put in a gift and pray that the Lord will use these offerings for his glory and apply them where they are needed.
I recognize that some churches—not all that many, I expect—make it possible for members to give online. Under certain circumstances that kind of giving may work best for one person or another. But this sort of “private” giving does not conform to the approach to congregational worship set forth in the Bible. “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:2) “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet” (Acts 4:34–35).
The local church is our first responsibility. We should give regularly to that entity. But we do not have to give everything there. If the Lord burdens us for another ministry, we certainly have liberty, after careful consideration, to give to such a work. And these days most Christian charitable organizations have a website that provides the opportunity to give online. Yes, even the OPC offers that opportunity for giving to Worldwide Outreach and for specific diaconal endeavors.
I hope you find these remarks helpful.
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