FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

At Georgia Church, ATM Means "Automatic Tithing Machine"

Anyone who attends church knows the embarrassment of not having cash on hand when the collection plate is being passed. If you're one of those, Pastor Marty Baker of the Stevens Creek Community Church in Augusta, Georgia, feels your pain.

That's why he has installed "giving kiosks" that allow any of the congregation's 1,100 members to make an offering via credit or debit card. The kiosks allow members to donate to specific church funds, and print out a receipt as well as send a confirmation via e-mail.

Baker debuted what he calls his "ATMs for Jesus" in early 2005, and is now marketing them to churches across the country through a firm called SecureGive. With an eye toward future trends, Baker sees the kiosks as a solution for a "post-cash society," for members who are willing to give, yet who increasingly rely on credit or debit cards in place of cash.

Baker has run into some challenges in promoting the kiosks, such as resistance from older congregation members, congregations that discourage credit card use (the machines can be set to accept only debit cards), and those who feel that not passing the collection plate takes away from the worship experience.

Source: L.A. Times