The power of sharing: offering online

nac2give is the name of the electronic offering-box recently introduced by the New Apostolic Church Switzerland. Although this is not the first app of its kind, there is something novel about it. More about offering in the twenty-first century …

nac2move is the online magazine published by the District Church Switzerland to keep the members abreast of the developments in the congregations. For four years now, the app designed for iOS and Android has been delivering information in five languages to mobile devices.

At the end of September, there was an addition to the “family”: a sister named nac2give. This app—also designed for iOS and Android—“allows you to transfer offering easily and securely any time,” it says on the website of the New Apostolic Church Switzerland.

After choosing the payment method (PostFinance, credit card, PayPal), any amount can be donated. “The transfer is encrypted. Confidentiality is guaranteed,” the app promises. “Personal data, account information, and the amount donated are not stored on the smartphone.”

A pioneer: O-Box

Switzerland is not the first District Church to virtualise its offerings. It all began in October 2014 with the introduction of O-Box by the New Apostolic Church Northern and Eastern Germany. The app designed for iOS and Android lets you activate a reminder function. Additional actions (such as the annual thank-offering) are also displayed. Other special projects can also be activated with the help of QR codes.

Accompanying the introduction in 2014, the Church distributed a brochure in the congregations entitled My offering. The motto was: “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13: 16). Spread over eight pages, different aspects of offering are examined such as “Offering to God out of gratitude”, “Contributing to the community”, or “Thinking and acting responsibly”.

Crediting a specific congregation by standard app

“Offering made easy”. The New Apostolic Church Southern Africa made online offerings possible at the end of last year, using a standard app, SnapScan, designed for iOS, Android, and Blackberry.

Download the app, sign up with your details, scan to add your bankcard, and choose a four-digit pin. Then open SnapScan and scan the QR code with your phone’s camera. If you type in the reference number of a congregation, the offering will be credited to a specific congregation. This is how offering works in the twenty-first century.

But making it easier for the members is not the only reason that the Church in South Africa has decided to pursue this option. In fact, the Church wants to enhance security by doing away with the otherwise necessary cash transfer. Another reason, the Church wants to promote the confidentialityof the offerer.

The Swiss app, however, has an advantage over the app from Northern Germany and even over the professional payment app used in South Africa: it is multilingual. The app supports six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Romanian, and Spanish. After all, not only Switzerland itself is rich in native languages. The District Church also looks after numerous countries in South and South-Eastern Europe.

With a dedication, if desired

Offering by electronic means is nothing new in North America. Under the menu item “Give” the New Apostolic Church Canada offers users a secure means to transfer their offerings. Clicking on the button “Offer Now” takes users to a donation form where they can enter their details and select a payment method: either credit card, the online payments system PayPal, or even by gift card.

The gift card is linked to CanadaHelps, an independent platform for donating and fundraising online. Over 1.8 million Canadians have used the platform to donate more than 900 million dollars to charities so far. When making an online donation with the New Apostolic Church Canada, users can even choose to do so anonymously or dedicate it to someone or donate the money in memory of someone.

The wealth of offering

How broad the notion of offering, giving, and sharing is, is demonstrated by the New Apostolic Church USA. “Giving” is not only a page on the website of the NAC USA where users can donate once or on a repetitive or regular basis by debit or credit card and even specify a congregation. In fact, the district’s entire charitable activities are featured under this menu item.

A video shows what giving means and what we express to God with our offerings. Giving is love, faith, joy, mission, sacrifice, secret, and worship. “Giving ties us together. It’s how we express our love towards God, His church, and our neighbour.”

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Andreas Rother
Media, Institution, International