The way a church receives an offering says a great deal about the congregation. Some traditions do not emphasize the offering as part of worship. Offerings are not part of Jewish worship services. Families receive an annual statement with a suggested amount for their offering. Offerings are not emphasized in Roman Catholic services.
Many United Methodist churches have a long tradition of passing offering plates, followed by a presentation of the plates during the singing of a doxology. Some churches "retire" the plates by putting them in a safe location without presenting them as an act of worship. Some churches put offering plates or baskets near exits and invite people to leave an offering as they depart.
The United Methodist Foundation of the Holston Conference has published a booklet entitled Making Disciples Through the Ministry of Church Finance. Within that document is a page entitled "Hints for the Offering."
Here are some excerpts:
Take one minute each week before the plates are passed to tell a story about how our giving impacts lives.
If you use screen graphics, show a picture of someone in ministry or someone helped by the church as you pass the plates. And tell the story.
Every month, have a different lay person give a testimony about the joy of giving in his/her life, and celebrate how giving blesses them.
From time to time, remind people that we give not because of God's need for our money, but because of our need to give so we can express gratitude to God.
- Ted Leach