If you are interested in an innovative way to raise the level of giving in your church, then stay with me a few minutes. On the surface, it might seem like an Internet version of a yard sale to increase member giving. But I see it with much more potential.
While I’m certainly not the first person to broach this idea, I still think it needs to be considered by more church leaders. The concept is simple: Ask members to donate some of their physical goods to be sold on eBay. Someone is responsible for gathering the goods, and someone is responsible to get them on eBay to sell. The churches that have tried it typically have the event one to four times a year. There is a big emphasis to give physical goods above and beyond the tithes and offerings.
The early church did not have the Internet, but they took the concept of selling their physical goods seriously. For example, in Acts 2:44-45: “Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Again, we see the emphasis in Acts 4:34-35: “For there was not a needy person among them, because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet. This was then distributed for each person’s basic needs” (HCSB).
So why should a twenty-first century congregation consider such an approach? Allow me to offer five possible reasons.
- Such an approach has biblical foundations. The above passages are indicative that biblical stewardship includes the selling of our possessions for ministry needs.
- It provides a new source of ministry income. Indeed, if the process is organized and promoted well, it may provide a significant source of funding for ministries locally and beyond.
- It gets more people involved in the ministry of the church. In my limited awareness of this approach, I have heard that this emphasis draws more people to the ministry that were previously uninvolved.
- Members are able to divest themselves of material things and possessions and lead a simpler life. Such has been the testimony of some who gave to this emphasis. They were thus able to focus better on those areas of life that really matter.
- This approach can be a great unifier in the congregation. Some church members have shared the amazing stories of transformation and greater unity in the church as more people were focused beyond themselves.
While we can bemoan the advent and invasion of modern technology, we can also celebrate the ways it can be used for the glory of God. Maybe some church leaders can take these ideas and run with them far beyond anything I could suggest.
Do you do anything like this approach in your church? What do you think of using eBay to enhance the giving of your church members and, perhaps, non-members as well?