As the proud father of two young adults, I might have a slightly biased opinion, but I think Millennials, people born between 1981 and 1998, have gotten a bad rap. Now the largest living generation, Millennials have been pegged as entitled, lazy, insubordinate, selfish coffee snobs whose face-to-face social skills have been completely wrecked by texting and social media.
While there’s at least a drop of truth in that description—as is the case with most stereotypes—I’d like to suggest an alternate descriptor: Millennials are misunderstood. And that’s particularly the case when it comes to the idea that they’re selfish. The truth is, Millennials are exceptionally generous with both their time and financial resources. Dollar for dollar, they may not be giving “as much” as older generations; however, as a percentage of total income, their giving is on par with that of Baby Boomers.
“But Rusty,” you might be thinking, “My church is full of Millennials, and they’re not giving.” First of all, congratulations on having a church full of Millennials. Given that 32% of adults under age 30 have no religious affiliation, you must be doing many things well. And my guess is the Millennials at your church are giving—somewhere else. If they aren’t yet contributing financially to your church, that may say less about them, as Millennials, than it does about your church’s generosity culture.
DEVELOPING A MILLENNIAL-FRIENDLY GENEROSITY CULTURE
Engaging Millennial givers is a challenging—but not impossible—task. They’re inherently generous, after all. Following are some tips for directing their generosity toward your mission and ministry:
Focus on a cause.
Open your books.
Invite Millennials to serve.
Invite Millennials to lead.
Up your expectations.
Many Millennials can’t remember a time before the internet and mobile phones. They engage with the world through text messaging, social media, instant messaging, and blogging, and they expect to be able to do everything online—including their charitable giving. The church is lagging behind in technology, and that’s a serious obstacle for Millennials.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR MILLENNIALS TO GIVE TO YOUR CHURCH
From a purely practical standpoint, engaging Millennial givers will become more and more important as older generations pass on. In general, the fewer givers you have, the fewer resources you’ll have to fund your mission and ministry.
But that’s not the most important reason to engage Millennials givers. Discipleship is. Just as we teach older generations the importance of trusting God with our finances, so should we challenge Millennials. They believe they can change the world… just think what they could accomplish by putting their resources in God’s hands.
Do you need help growing generosity in your church? That starts by knowing where you stand. Contact me today for your free giving analysis.