Pastors see more offerings during holidays

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 25, 2009

Local pastors say it is obvious their congregations follow the motto of “it is better to give than to receive,” especially around Christmas.

Dr. Fred Karthaus III, pastor of First Baptist Church of Andalusia, said the church sees a considerable “bump” in contributions to its offering plate in the month of December and at Christmas services.

“People just seem to be in a generous spirit this time of year,” he said. “Obviously, our attendance also rises during the Christmas season, so that has an effect on how much we receive during the offering. There seems to be more people who are involved in the services, and they often express that worship by giving a little more.”

The Rev. Scott Ferguson, pastor of Westview Baptist Church in Opp, said he not only sees an increase in the congregation’s monetary sacrifice, but also in their willingness to volunteer time.

“It’s just a transformation that happens this time of year,” he said. “People really open their hearts and get into that giving spirit — not just money, but also their time and talents.”

Pastors also pointed out the money collected in the offering plate does more than just “pay the bills” for the churches.

“Portions of our offering go to support some of the needy in our community,” Karthaus said. “We try to help some of those who may have unexpected expenses and need help with their heating or light bill, or maybe some food. Another portion goes to various ministries, including Save-A-Life, Habitat for Humanity and ALCAP, which is a watchdog group that makes sure Christian issues are supported in our state legislature. When people give to our offering, they’re helping not only our church, but also these and other fine organizations.”

Fr. Antony Pullukattu, parish priest at Christ the King Catholic Church, said his church’s offering helps fund the church’s St. Vincent de Paul Society. The Society meets several needs locally, including helping clients pay utility bills, helping with rent or food, or helping clients pay for prescriptions.

Karthaus also admitted there may be a practical reason why people give more in December.

“Of course, it also has something to do with it being the end of the year, and people wanting to make a charitable donation for tax purposes,” he said.

Regardless of the motive behind the giving, pastors said they are extremely grateful for the generosity shown by church members and visitors.

“This money helps provide for those who are less fortunate,” Ferguson said. “And not just at Christmas, but throughout the entire year.”