The cash machine for Jesus 29th September 2006 The new ATM machines are designed to make it easier for churchgoers to donate The days of putting pennies on a church plate could be over - this is the new ATM for Jesus. The machine, which can be installed in places of worship, allows churchgoers to make donations with one swipe of a card. And for every gift donators give, they have the incentive of raking in air miles or loyalty points on their credit card. The scheme is the brainwave of Dr Marty Baker - a Pastor at Stevens Creek Community Church in Augusta, Georgia. He believes the technology will help take his church - which already has a house band that plays Aerosmith's 'Dream On' and sermons available to download as podcasts - even further into the 21st century. "I have such a desire to connect people with God," Dr Baker said. "I want to build a bridge within their culture. "I realise some people won't embrace this, but we're not trying to compete with traditional churches. We're just trying to think of ways to make giving fit in with people's lifestyles." Dr Baker, 45, came up with the idea for the cash points two years ago when he was trying to raise $3 million for church improvements. "I looked into different kinds of ways to raise money and I began looking at my own life," he said. I realised that I rarely carry around cash or cheques and relied mainly on my debit or credit cards. "So I thought 'what if other people are like me? How would they be able to donate?' And I came up with the idea of the kiosks." Dr Baker began calling companies, only to be told they did not supply machines for that purpose. So he decided to set up a business that did. The Pastor placed three 'Secure Giving' machines in his churches, which took a massive $100,000 of donations in their first year. He estimates that figure could treble in another 12 months. And he is now selling the technology to other places of worship wanting to broaden their donation box. The kiosks can let donors identify their offering as a regular tithe, or direct it to building or missionary funds. They then send information about the donation to a central church computer system, which sends the cardholder an e-mail confirmation. So far seven other congregations - all Protestant - have either installed or ordered the machines. Secure Giving charges between $2,000 and $5,000 for the kiosks - which come in a variety of styles - and collects a monthly subscription fee of up to $49.95. Critics say Dr Baker is simply cashing in on churchgoers' generosity, but he disputes this allegation. "This is a business," he explains. "The Bible talks about wisdom. We hope it will prove financially profitable, we don't have a problem with that. "We are always encouraging people to be entrepreneurs." Asked if he intends to give profits to the church, should he make his fortune, he said: "My heart is, and always has been, in the local church. I already donate the first 10 per cent of my income and I will continue to do that."