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VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 2   |   Release date: June 15, 2003

In This Issue
Dixie Chicks Continue to Offend
Gospel Tract Leads to Conversion
Outdoor Offering Project Abandoned
Local Church Hires Web Designer
Church Sign of the Month

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Outdoor Offering Project Abandoned After Months of "Significant Theft"
Church returns to traditional plate passing

CHICAGO, IL – It was an experiment that was supposed to change the way that churches everywhere take offering, but now it exists only as an unpleasant memory for Frank Johnson, pastor of downtown Chicago's Walking by Faith Church of Love Grace Center.

With offering numbers off nearly 20 percent in 2002, Johnson decided to take a whole new approach in the New Year.

"We thought part of the problem was that our members didn't feel comfortable giving in front of others. You know, don't let the right hand know what the left hand is doing and all of that," Johnson said. "So we decided to do away with the offering in the service all together and start keeping the offering plates just outside the church doors. That way people could come back to give when no one was around – under the cover of complete darkness if they wanted."

Johnson and other church leaders were sure that the new outdoor offering method would revolutionize the offering process, but after one full month, the church had not managed to collect a single dollar.

"We were quite taken aback by that," Johnson said. "But we figured the problem might be that people were just forgetting, so we put up some signs, started mentioning it more in the bulletin and announcing it frequently from the pulpit."

When two more months passed with no money collected, some church members were ready to throw in the towel on the experiment.

"We thought it was time to quit right then and there," said church elder Joshephine Trowbridge, who was skeptical about the project from the beginning. "Surprise, surprise, downtown Chicago and wide-open cash receptacles don't mix."

But Johnson had no intention of giving up on the project. After the third month with no return, he decided to try putting some of the church's money in the plates.

"I thought that maybe people weren't giving because they didn't see any money in there," he said. "You know, like how people don't like to be the first to go down for an altar call. So we threw a few thousand dollars in cash in there to get the ball rolling."

Butt the ball, as it were, rolled in the wrong direction. All of the money that the church placed in the offering disappeared in less than a day.

"That's when we knew we had to pull the plug," Johnson said. "The dream was officially dead."

The church returned to traditional, in-service plate-passing on Sunday, June 1st, and they have no plans of trying out other alternative collection methods.

"It was real nice to see that offering goin' by again," Trowbridge said. "It may not be politically correct to say it, but that twinge of guilt when the plate passes is something that this church relies on."

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