Millennials Might be More Generous Than You Think
How generous are Millennials?
Holly Watt of The Guardian reports that according to a recent survey by the Charity Commission (a government department in England), “Millennials are more generous when giving to charities at Christmas and they are more likely to research their chosen charities before donating.” Back in 2015, Landon Dowdy of CNBC reported similar findings in the United States, with survey data suggesting that Millennials are glad to give time and money in support of causes they believe in.
How generous are the Millennials in your congregation?
As Millennials begin to enter their peak earning years, how does your congregation address financial stewardship? Do you talk about money? Are you clear in your teaching about tithes and offerings? Do you show your congregation how the Bible points to our financial commitments as reflective of our primary loves? Do you help people to clearly see the difference their gifts can make to help the church be found faithful in her mission?
This past fall my congregation had a sermon series on how we steward our finances. With clarity, gentleness, and transparency, our pastor talked us through his understanding of the Bible’s teachings as well as his commitment to living according to those principles. He shared the number of families who participated in our collective financial life, as well as the number of families who had not previously given to the church in support of our mission. He did not make us feel guilty. He offered himself as an example of sacrificial giving. He was honest in telling us how we were doing. And I took it as a sign that he cared about our souls.
So did the Millennials in the young adult Sunday school class I teach. Every single one of them said that they appreciated the fact that they had been talked to so plainly about their money and how they can best steward what they have. They were able to see the ways in which the money we pool together can go toward efforts to serve Jesus in our congregation, as well as God’s work in our community and around the world. Some said that it was the first time they felt directly challenged to give a portion of their earnings, especially since a few of them are younger Millennials and are just beginning to work. Many members of my class were already giving generously of their time in support of missions, children’s ministry, and youth and college ministries. But they all were glad to know they could take another step as disciples by giving financially, and that their gifts would help our congregation to increase in faithfulness.
Millennials want to participate financially in the life of the church, not just to keep the lights on (maintenance), but in support of the church’s mission. Help them to see how their generosity can help others come to know Christ, how people can be fed, clothed, comforted, and welcomed as God’s beloved.