The average American church tends to follow the Pareto Principle with their congregants' giving; roughly 20% of congregants provide 80% of funds.
By emphasizing participation itself over dollar amounts given, we want to double financial participation rates.
What would a church look like if all of its members were fully committed participants in the Kingdom of God? What is the ultimate goal that we can aspire to for our churches? It would likely look something like the Church as we see it in Acts 2:42-47.
This church would appear, as David Platt might say, “Radical”. Radical living with a body of people engaged in actions and community that is so extraordinarily out of the norm in such a compelling manner that the masses can’t help but be drawn to this example of God’s Kingdom here on Earth. Sixpence aims to be the tool that enables the financial side of this vision.
Church Giving Today
No matter what giving platform your church currently uses for online giving, they generally all operate more or less the same. Today, most church giving looks like this most of the year:
Whether done virtually or “in-person” in the offering plate, modern church giving tends to be a very linear process. It is an action (frequently intermittent) that involves an ask, the action, and a subsequent result.
But if we look at habits of the Church in the NT and Israel in the OT, we see that giving wasn’t an act relegated to a single moment on Sundays or a transactional experience limited to the movement of resources themselves. Rather, giving frequently involved much more of our lives and lifestyles.
Whether looking at the OT practice of “gleaning” as shown in Ruth, Lydia’s example of tying her business success to Paul’s ministry, or even tithing itself, we see time and time again that participating in the Kingdom of God entails tying our entire lives, finances included, directly to God’s people and Mission.
A Different Lens on Giving
With Sixpence, our goal is to take financial participation in the Church from a frequently intermittent, detached act and instead help your congregation to tie their whole lives into the experience and mission of the Church community.
Instead of giving experiences that consist of individual actions, frequently detached from the rest of our faith experience, we are working on creating an experience of sustained financial community, which serves as a supporting pillar to a cycle of continual Christian growth and fellowship.
We want to see financial participation contribute to this self-reinforcing cycle:
Essentially, we’re pursuing giving as a lifestyle, rather than giving as a detached act.
It’s good for us to engage in acts of generosity as part of our Christian walk, but we want to see financial participation in Church community baked into the lives of the congregants we serve. We want to see financial engagement and participation made into a natural and seamless part of the community experience within your church.
To achieve that goal, we’re creating a platform where the experience of collective giving, financial participation, and church community is woven into the fabric of our lives.
We aim to accomplish this with three feature focuses (one of which is being piloted with churches right now).
We break these down below.
Lifestyle-tied generosity. Ruth and Naomi survived a time of significant struggle thanks to the mandated practice of gleaning in Israel’s Law. With gleaning, harvesters were supposed to leave some grain in their fields for the poor and the sojourner to reap themselves. The production itself was tied to generosity and provision for others.
Similarly, with roundup offerings, consumption itself can be tied to generosity and provision for others. By connecting credit and debit cards to roundup their daily purchases on, congregants can support your church, ministries, and each other (through a benevolence fund) with roundups on their daily purchases. $3.50 for coffee? 50c to your youth’s mission trip fund. It’s as simple as that and almost anyone can afford it.
We came up with this while fundraising for missions. We hope this can help your church to be more missionally engaged also.
Coming This Summer
When online giving enabled recurring contributions,a lot of churches started seeing more consistent tithing among their congregants. The key was that the ability to set a recurring contribution (and leave it) enabled congregants to fulfill their intention of consistent giving with a one-time action/setup.
This is like that but at a new level. We’ve created a way for congregants to more easily and consistently give in proportion to their income. Through a one-time setup with their bank account (with 256-bit encryption and bank-level security), congregants can set a percentage of their income they’d like to contribute. And then whenever a depositing transaction is detected, we confirm the transaction and the proportional tithe amount with them by text, with the contribution being submitted automatically as authorized.
Verification both ensures that financial participation has a degree of intentionality behind it and that transfers and non-income deposits are not accidentally counted as income. With this feature, we introduce a sort of “self-accountability”, enabling congregants to make a one-time decision to contribute a certain percentage of their income, and then to hold themselves accountable to that commitment with each payroll, check, or cash deposit they receive.
Additionally, a lot of churchgoers with variable wages or self-employed income may struggle to set a predetermined monthly dollar tithe. Especially in the era of COVID-19, income is inconsistent for many. This can help those members to still engage financially; percentages can be scaled according to affordability. Newer Christians or lower-income congregants can simply give 0.5% or 1%. The key is to start somewhere, with something consistent, and gradually work their way up. Financial discipleship has to begin somewhere.
Posts and Updates
Closing the communication loop. Churches are, sadly, notorious for being a black hole of finances. In fact, only 81% of churches share financial reports with their congregations. However, transparency is key not only to trust but also to the edification and inspiration of your church body!
Does your church body know what is being accomplished by them? Do they know how many lives are being changed, what the prayer requests are of the missionaries you support, or how many people you fed last month with your food bank ministry? If we only knew the impact that our churches were having, the edification and encouragement spurred by seeing our own churches actively changing the world just might inspire us to new levels of generosity!
With posts and updates, we want to enable you to tie your congregation into your story of missional, Gospel-powered impact in the world. Your church is building God’s Kingdom here on Earth. Make sure your congregants know when they’ve collectively contributed to the Kingdom in a powerful way. It’s hard to stay the course when we don’t see the results. Every little impact can be an opportunity for encouragement.
A Movement of Financial Community
Just like church membership for any of your congregants is about more than them merely attending service every Sunday, your congregation's financial participation is about more than just collectively giving enough to pay the bills.
Paying the bills is the baseline, but a thriving church needs a body of believers who are fully engaged in realizing the Kingdom of God here on Earth, including through their financial participation above and beyond the baseline amount needed to keep the lights on.
Your church's financial participation should build increased levels of provision, intimacy, and fellowship within your church, and should also empower you to serve as an outpouring of Christ's love demonstrated in your community and beyond.
All of this is only the beginning! We’re in the early stages of rolling Sixpence out with churches across the country, from Seattle to Boston!
If you’re interested in your church being an early adopter of Sixpence, or in contributing to the development of our platform with questions or feedback, please let us know! Contact our founder at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the button below and complete the following form.
We’re glad to be on this mission with you to establish increased levels of financial community in the modern Church!