pay to pray?


Written by Mandy Thompson

She’s just a girl with a guitar. And, in a perfect world, Mandy would spend her days writing songs and soaking up the sun. But, life is life. And, while not perfect, her life is good. She serves as Director of Congregational Services at The Chapel, in Brunswick GA. If you asked her about her position, she’d say her main course involves developing worship experiences, with a side of creative design and social media for dessert. Tasty!

March 27, 2012


The retired minister read through the official Pastor’s job description. It was massive, daunting, and intimidating, but our church needed to hear the list of responsibilities. Why? Because Drew, my handsome preacher-teacher man, is pursuing ordination, and last night our church voted their approval to send him into that process.

So, there I was, listening to the infinite number of responsibilities and imagining my husband filling all those roles. How is anybody capable of accomplishing all of that? I was tempted to lean in close and ask him, “Are you sure about this?”

Some of the expectations were rather challenging, even if taken on independently of the others. You know the one about how Pastor’s are supposed to encourage the congregation to give faithfully in their tithes and offerings? Yeah. That was one of the tricky ones.

Always has been.

Can you imagine being in the Pastor’s shoes? How is he supposed to encourage his congregation to give faithfully? Especially with the elephant in the room of where his paycheck comes from…

Yes, we need to be reminded to give, but we can get a bit squirmy if the head pastor is doing the reminding.

I’m on staff at our church as well, and as the worship coordinator I sometimes look for better ways to collect offerings during the service. Why is this important to me? Giving is an act of worship—a gesture of faith that says to God that we trust our finances with Him, that His kingdom is a worthy priority in our budget.

That’s where I come in, trying to find alternative reminders for this act of worship.

It’s sort of strange to ask people to drop off their checks as they are receiving communion—feels a bit like McDonald’s. We could “pass the plate,” but will newcomers feel obligated? (Of course, I even come up with outlandishly wrong ideas like having people pay to enter, or maybe leave. hehe. Yeah. That’d work.)

See how awkward this is? I’m not a pastor standing in front of a congregation, but I feel so strange that I make not-so-funny jokes about locking people in the sanctuary until they pay to leave. What?!

Dave Ramsey works hard to help us see the importance of giving, both for our sakes and the sake of the gospel. And healthy churches will let any member take a look at the annual budget. And there are nameless people in our congregation that really do give faithfully without being bugged about it. But not all. Not even most, really.

From where I’m sitting, not as a worship leader but as a worshipper, it looks so out of balance.

So here I am. Not your pastor. Not your worship leader. Just a girl writing an article to remind you us that giving is an act of worship.

It’s right up there with singing and praying and amening. Maybe even a notch higher, if you really think about it.



  1. Jennifer@GDWJ

    Giving as worship. Yes. Wise words for the church here. Thank you. 

  2. Sue Miley

    I always try to remember that it is all God’s anyway and each is blessed as a steward of His resources.  I want to honor God in my tithes through this act of worship and to acknowledge that it is all up to Him and how thankful I am for how He does bless us.

    Good post that we all need to hear.  I will pass it on!

  3. pastordt

    Yes, ma’am, Mandy! Giving is absolutely worship. We all need this reminder, we all need to live this truth, stewarding well what we’ve been given. Thank you.


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pay to pray?

by Mandy Thompson time to read: 2 min