Lordy, lordy, gimme $40.

Pastor Marty Baker of Stevens Creek Community Church, an 1100-member evangelical church in Augusta, Georgia, has discovered a way to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God is God's"--while keeping a bit for himself: he's installed an ATM-style "Giving Kiosk," in the church--one sold by his for-profit venture.

Baker came up with the kiosk idea a couple of years ago. He had just kicked off a $3-million building drive, but noticed that few people seemed to keep cash in their wallet anymore for the collection bag.

So he began studying the electronic payment business. He designed his machine with the help of a computer programmer who attends Stevens Creek, and found ATM companies willing to assemble it for him. In early 2005, he introduced the first machine at his church.

Since then, kiosk giving has gradually gained acceptance among his upper-middle-class flock. The three kiosks are expected to take in between $200,000 and $240,000 this year — about 15% of the church's total donations.

"It's truly like an ATM for Jesus," Baker said.

This summer, Baker and his wife, Patty, began selling the devices to other churches through their for-profit company, SecureGive.


in.dog.neato said...

three words...

blasphemy, heresy and abomination.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This story has created some conversation. It is easy to read an article and immediately think that you are an expert on church work and on digital giving. That's not how it works. I've been in church work for 25 years and have three degrees in my trade, but I AM NOT an expert. I am just a fellow struggler seeking to understand my walk with Christ and my service to His church.

Speaking of His Church. The Bible is clear that the church is to be funded by those who are following Christ. If you are not a Christ follower, don't worry. Giving is a heart issue. You can put a hundred giving kiosks in your church and not have one extra dollar come in. A giving machine will not increase revenue; a heart surrendered to Christ will.

Now about those fees. Apparently you guys are sadly mistaken about SecureGive's cut in those fees. Here's the truth. When I first rolled out the kiosks in March 2005, it was based on a e-commerce model. Every month I would cringe because of the fees that we were paying the bank to process the donations. I wanted more money to stay in the ministry.

I invested thousands of dollars of my own money to "crack the code" and to use PIN secured debit on our kiosks. Why? ... to save the church money! Here's the difference ... if you donate $1000 to your favorite charity or church on their website, it will cost that organization around $20 to process that gift. With the SecureGive system, a thousand dollar gift given with a pin-secured debit card will cost the church $1.00. Out of that dollar, SecureGive would get around .30. So, we make .30 out of a $1000.00 transactions. That won't send your kids to college (I have two kids in college). Bank fees are not where we are getting our money. We charge $49.95 per month for our services. That covers software licenses, ssl certificates, hosting fees, and so forth. So far this has been a labor of love and a passion to help churches to resource their ministries.

Maybe in the furture it will turn around. I hope so.

Be blessed today!

Marty Baker

former 'Creeker' said...

The problem here, Marty Baker, is that YOU get 30 cents in YOUR pocket every time a member of YOUR church swipes their debit card. Unless, of course, there is full disclosure to your congregation that a portion of their tithe goes directly in Marty Baker's pocket. Is that the case? Does your congregation approve of your for-profit company operating in their church? How can you not see the impropriety in this? It doesn't matter if it's just a small fraction of the donation. The issue is that a portion of this donation becomes your profit! You say it won't "send your kids to college;" I'm curious how many individual "swipes" there were at your church last year. Or how many swipes there were on all of your Tithe-O-Matics across the country. It may not pay tuition, but I'll bet it covers at least some of the cost of their books!

Jeanne Haase said...

Where is it written that pastors are not allowed to make money?

Anonymous said...

When we give through our tithes and offerings, whether it be cash or check, that money is used to fund the church which includes the pastor and his family. When I went into business for myself it was to try and create more revenue coming in to my house to support my family. The more money I make also means the more I can tithe every week which in turn puts more money into the pastors "pocket". If the money generated by the giving kiosks is so secret, why would Mr. Baker make it known in his comment? I used the giving kiosk at church last Sunday and now that I know 30 cents goes to Pastor Marty every time I swipe, I might just make 10 1% tithes as opposed to 1 10% so that I can put 3 dollars in his pocket. I have been saved since the age of six and have never been moved by the spirit like I have when I found Stevens Creek Community Church. May God bless Pastor Marty and his family in all of their endeavors. By the way, if there is a giving kiosk in heaven, I will be the first in line to use it.