Inspiring Generosity


Make On-Line Offering a Spiritual Experience

                                    Wahiawa United Methodist Church

Two weeks ago I went to Hawaii. Well, not really. I went to church in Hawaii. This too is untrue. In reality, I merely Zoomed a church service that was being held in Hawaii. Since I was not able to physically be in Hawaii, let me state the obvious: life is unfair.
I stumbled onto the service because I was invited by a friend from Seattle who asked me to support a former student of hers who was sharing his testimony. The Wahiawa United Methodist Church is discerning whether or not to become a Reconciling Congregation. They invited my friend’s friend, Danicole – an out LGBTQ person – to give a sermon about his faith journey.
I had already attended my own church’s on-line worship service that morning and, thinking two services in one day was a bit much, I decided to take a “walk and listen” approach to Wahiawa UMC’s service. It worked. I enjoyed the variety of music and Danicole’s message was moving.

But what really got to me was something totally unexpected.
Wahiawa UMC made the offering time a spiritual experience. I was listening while Pastor Kawamura talked about the offering. Then, all of a sudden what familiar tune should I hear?
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise God all creatures here below.
Praise God above ye heavenly host.
Praise Creator, Son and Holy Ghost.
It was the good old-fashioned Doxology.
As I continued walking, I had a visceral reaction. I hadn’t heard the Doxology in well over, well, I don’t know how long. There was something oddly comforting about singing it (granted, I was in public, so I mumbled).
Even pre-COVID, my particular contemporary worship service didn’t use the Doxology. So, my muscle memory hearkened back to church services of days gone by. I had sung that song so many times as a kid that I knew it the second I heard the first three notes. It was a powerful sensation.

Pastor Kawamura then, as if the offering plates were in front of her and overflowing, prayed a prayer over the virtual offering. A few minutes later, my trip to the UMC church on the Big Island was over.
But the memory of the Doxology has stayed with me.
If you’re still doing on-line worship, what are you doing to make the offering a spiritual experience?
It doesn’t take much to transform what might now feel like a transactional experience - “Please remember to give.” – and make it a reminder that giving is an act of worship.
It may be time to get your congregation to use its muscle memory around the offering. Sing the Doxology and pray a prayer of gratitude. Make the offering spiritual. And guess what? Though it definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing…you don’t even need to go to Hawaii to make it happen.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. For nearly 25 years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Don’t have the time or money to go to Hawaii? Cesie wants you to enjoy an hour of scenic sights and sounds of Oahu. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.

If someone has forwarded this to you and you would like to subscribe to "Inspiring Generosity," click here.  Miss an issue?  Click here. Want to see more stewardship resources? Click here.


Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.