Surprise: Millennials and Gen Z Are Poised to Become the Church’s Best Givers

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Surprise: Millennials and Gen Z are Poised to Become the Church’s Best Givers” is written by Jim Sheppard, CEO & Principal of Generis. Generis is consulting firm passionate about helping churches inspire and cultivate generosity through giving development, coaching, and strategy.

Millennials and Gen Z, often hailed as the “Me” generations, are seemingly fixated on individualism and personal fulfillment.

And yet, within the realm of church giving, a prevailing belief persists among some leaders that these generations are lackluster contributors, preferring nonprofits over the church.

Allow me to enlighten you with a surprising revelation—a truth that shatters these preconceived notions.

It turns out that Millennials and Gen Z are actively engaging in church giving at rates surpassing their predecessors.

Let us dive deeper into this eye-opening discovery and explore actionable steps for church leaders to effectively connect with these vibrant generations.

Generosity Unveiled

In 2022, Barna, that trusted research powerhouse, conducted an extensive study on generosity within the American church.

The findings?

They opened our eyes to a giving landscape brimming with possibilities. This remarkable survey encompassed over 2,000 adults from sea to shining sea, delving into their charitable giving practices.

And here’s the twist—contrary to popular belief, the Barna data illuminates the fact that Millennials and Gen Z are fervently participating in church giving, often outshining their predecessors. 

The survey found that, in general, people are still giving to churches, with 69% of all adults saying they had donated to a church or house of worship in the past year.

Examining Generational Giving Participation

Pay close attention to one particular slide that truly grabbed my heart.

This visual explores generational giving participation, asking respondents whether they had donated to charitable organizations, including churches or houses of worship, within the past year. 

Now brace yourselves for this next revelation. Are you ready? 

Amongst the Millennials, with a spirited 58% participation rate, we find Gen X, not too far behind at 53%, and our beloved Boomers holding steady at 57%.

Yes, you heard it right—their giving participation rates are remarkably similar!

The Truth Unveiled: Church Giving

And if you haven’t seen enough yet, prepare yourselves for the grand unveiling of another astounding slide from the Barna report.

This one asks, “Who gives to the church?”

Do you see it?

Millennials, those vibrant torchbearers of the future, display a remarkable participation rate of 42%, a staggering 12 percentage points higher than their dear Boomer counterparts, who clock in at 30%.

Astonishing, isn’t it?

The very generations we assumed would shy away from church giving are proving us wrong.

Dissecting the Misconceptions

“But Jim,” you might interject, “Surely, Boomers contribute more substantial monetary amounts compared to the Millennials.”

Ah, a valid point.

However, let us not tread upon the uneven ground of monetary comparisons.

Life stages, ages, and differing financial circumstances cast a shadow upon such comparisons.

Instead, let us bask in the brilliance of the participation rate—their affinity for giving. Cast aside the misguided notion that Millennials lack enthusiasm for giving to the church, for the data unequivocally refutes it.

3 Recommendations for Engaging Millennials and Gen Z in Church Giving

Now that we stand on the precipice of this newfound truth, you, as church leaders, might wonder, “What do we do with this information?”

Allow me to offer you a compass to navigate this new territory. 

Here are three practical suggestions to effectively engage Millennials and Gen Z in church giving:

1. Emphasize the Impact of Their Giving

These passionate generations yearn to make a difference, to leave an indelible mark upon the world. Unleash the power of your church’s impact and illuminate the lives transformed by their contributions.

Share compelling stories and vivid examples of how their giving propels the church’s mission, particularly highlighting projects and initiatives that resonate deeply with these young givers.

2. Provide a Plethora of Giving Avenues

In this digital age, Millennials and Gen Z thrive amidst a sea of technological wonders. Cater to their preferences by offering a variety of giving options.

From seamless online platforms to swift text-to-give solutions and even user-friendly mobile apps, let convenience and accessibility be their guiding stars.

Simplify the giving process, for a convoluted or perplexing system may become an insurmountable hurdle for these tech-savvy generations.

3. Make Giving an Act of Worship

Invite giving into your moments of worship. Amidst the pandemic-induced separation, the act of giving seemingly vanished from our worship experiences.

Yet, it is imperative that we reinstate this pivotal moment, for it nurtures the spiritual aspect of giving—a beautiful embodiment of financial discipleship.

Teach regular, bite-sized lessons on biblical giving, weave enchanting tales of impact, and emphasize trust.

As you create a meaningful space for giving within worship, the hearts of these young givers will respond with fervor.

In Conclusion

Church leaders, the revelation is before us—the unwavering truth that Millennials and Gen Z are indeed generous church givers. Let us align our messaging and communications with their unique voices and aspirations. 

As you do so, embrace what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:17. “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.”

It is what we want FOR you, not what we want FROM you.

Emphasize the impact of their giving, provide convenient avenues to contribute, and let giving become an extraordinary act of worship. Together, let us cultivate a culture of generosity that enriches the lives of these younger generations and propels the church toward greater Kingdom impact. 

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