Whether you like it or not the Greek Orthodox Church is a large part of the Greek-American culture. For many of our communities the church is the central unifying force that keeps us together. I’ve been to many Greek churches in this country, from Holy Trinity in Wilmington DE to Holy Trinity in Canton OH and for the most part each Sunday service has remained identical, after Jesus, cash is king. However, society and economic practices have changed. The so called “younger generation” does not walk around with a wad of cash on a money clip. We have credit cards, debit cards and cell phones that can make wireless payments. I often go for weeks sometimes months without having any cash in my wallet. When I go to church on Sunday I get anxiety because most of the time even my wife doesn’t have any cash to pay for a candle or drop in the collection basket. Every priest I know uses email and some even have iPhones, so why can’t they just install some credit card machines?!!
As much as I’d like to take credit for this idea it’s not mine. My good friend Dimitri tried to push this idea through his church in Bethlehem. As you’ve probably guessed credit card machines were not installed. The reality is that if electronic payments are made easy and available to church goers the per person donation amount will most likely increase. I envision a touch screen system with predefined donation buttons i.e. $1.50, $2.00, $5.00 and so on. This would also allow churches to increase donation “attachment rates” and improve stewardship. For example, the system could also ask “would you like to donate $1.00 to GOYA’s summer school program” or “click to renew your family membership”.Continue Reading