Millennials often get a bad rap when it comes to their giving.
Millennials are generous. But their generosity doesn’t look like prior generations. They are not motivated to give in the same way that prior generations are motivated to give. The ways in which they give are not the same as prior generations.
Unfortunately, some churches do not see this generosity from Millennials directed toward their ministry.
Sometimes, this happens because churches have not adapted to the way younger generations operate when it comes to giving.
So what are some things churches are not doing that hurts Millennials’ financial participation?
1. The church doesn’t offer online giving. Or other ways to give beyond the offering plate. Millennials and the generation following are immersed in technology. It is the air they breathe. Few carry cash and checks. They give through their phones and tablets. And if these options are not available, they often forget about giving and move on.
2. The church doesn’t talk enough about the “why” behind giving. Prior generations gave to their local church. In part, because it was just what you did. While Millennials give, they give to various organizations. Many do not understand the priority of the local church. Unfortunately, some churches avoid talking about why the local church should take priority when it comes to financial giving. The result is a generation who doesn’t understand the importance of giving to their local church. And because they don’t understand, they don’t do it.
3. The church doesn’t show tangible results. Millennials hate feeling like they are throwing their money into a black hole, not knowing what will be done with it or what has resulted from their giving. They want to know the difference their giving makes. Churches are full of stories that are, in part, made possible because God uses what has been given to change lives and advance His Kingdom. So tell people about it. Tell them the stories. Help them connect their obedience in giving to the life-changing impact the local church is making.
4. The church doesn’t talk about transparency and accountability. Millennials have seen too many organizations misuse money. If an organization has questionable or hidden practices, they stay away from them. Many churches have systems in place to ensure transparency and accountability. These systems are not to be kept in secret. Tell people about them. Assure Millennials that the money they give to the church will be handled with integrity and sound stewardship.
5. The church doesn’t help them get their finances in order. Many Millennials are already plagued by debt, primarily credit card and student loan debt. Many of them need help to understand what Biblical stewardship looks like. They need to get financially healthy so that they can live generously. The church can help them with this.
Millennials are different. But they do give.
If you are a leader in your church, consider these common reasons why Millennials are often not giving to the church. And consider how you can lead the church to do something about it.
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Written by Art Rainer, member of the Summit Stewardship and Generosity Ministry Leadership Team.