One of Riverside’s Mission Markers is:
Sacrificial and generous living and giving (Romans 12:1-8; 2 Corinthians 8:3-9)
- We help people discover, develop and deploy their spiritual gifts
- We regularly, graciously, and unapologetically teach on the importance of financial stewardship in the spiritual growth of a Christian
- We choose to give ourselves and our resources for the good of our community and the world
In an effort to live these commitments we have studied God’s Word and examined how we share our financial resources for God’s mission through Riverside. We have been particularly impacted by:
2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”1 Timothy 6:17-19, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
Although passing the offering plate during Sunday worship has been a regular practice in modern churches, no biblical passages specifically instruct this method. As we studied these passages and others, we became convinced that we should stop passing the offering plates on Sunday mornings for several reasons.
Cheerful Giving. No matter how we looked at it, passing the offering plates down the aisles brought a certain level of compulsion and pressure. We want Riverside’s sacrificial and generous giving to result from the transformation that God is doing in our hearts and not because someone feels obligated or guilty. We want Riverside to be compelled by God’s generosity to intentionally give to God’s work through Riverside.
Hospitality. Riverside regularly has visitors join us for Sunday worship. Although we do not expect visitors to contribute financially to our mission and ministries, giving them an offering plate implies that we do. We want Riverside visitors to experience Riverside worship and God’s people as a welcoming place free from pressure. We do not want to put our visitors on the spot.
Changing habits. Very few people contribute cash and fewer people are writing paper checks. Many people that are a part of Riverside are giving through their bank’s online bill pay or setting up a direct debit arrangement rather than bringing anything with them on Sunday morning. Passing the offering plates has become less important practically.
We want to be very clear that Riverside’s decision not to pass the offering plates is not an indictment or criticism of other churches that have continued the practice. We simply believe that this is the best decision for us and furthers how we are seeking to live out God’s biblical call for generosity.
Riverside will still provide lots of ways to financially support our mission and ministry together, but our hope is that our radical generosity will regularly and consistently flow from our hope in God. You can find out more about how to give to Riverside on our “Giving to Riverside” page.