In 1899, the Baptist General Convention of Virginia was born in support of Virginia Union University and its School of Theology. This partnership provided and still provides educational enlightenment to pastors and churches in Virginia and beyond. Today, with a membership of more than 1,000 African American churches and 29 associations, BGCVA is nationally known for its ongoing educational services to local churches and regional associations. Currently the educational reach of BGCVA extends beyond the borders of Virginia to national and international bodies.
Churches are looking for ways to increase giving, promote congregational efficiency and reduce the threat of theft. Churchgoers are increasingly asking for options beyond dropping a check or cash in the plate. In response to the growing interest among faith-based organizations regarding the use of electronic payment technology for worshiper giving, Master Your Card partnered with BGCVA to develop solutions and provide education.
Connecting churches to the benefits of this technology and helping each church and its members get the most from the technology is at the center of MYC’s ongoing collaboration with BGCVA. Master Your Card worked with BGCVA to determine how electronic payment technology could provide greater convenience and safety. Adding the option of electronic payments to giving cash has expanded parishioners’ choices. They can now swipe a debit, credit or prepaid card in the church lobby, give through the church’s website and even use their phones to make an offering. Members appreciate the convenience and flexibility of giving in a way that best suits their individual lifestyles. Church leaders appreciate the steadier flow of income and the efficiencies that allow them to focus more on ministering rather than administering.
In 2014, Master Your Card led a workshop at the BGCVA annual conference Big Results from Small Blessings: Electronic Payment Technology and the Black Church. It highlighted the value of payment technology as a simple, safe and convenient way for churches to collect donations any day of the week. The workshop also shared the value of prepaid card technology as a cost-saving and financially empowering alternative to check-cashing stores and predatory lending institutions that are used by many in the Black community who do not have traditional bank accounts. Following the July 2014 conference, BGCVA invited MYC to present at the organization’s annual church finance meeting to examine strategies for improving church finances and other crucial administrative tasks handled by the church’s leadership. Master Your Card continues to provide counsel and education on the value of accepting cards and other electronic payments, as well as how to make such payments even more secure with the successful implementation of EMV chip technology.