I grew up in the church.
Each Sunday, I would sit in the pew, listen to the sermon, watch the offering plate pass around, finish with the Lord’s prayer, and that was my Sunday. I would say that I enjoyed my church, but looking back, one significant aspect was missing:
It was never explained why we give, how we give, or what we give – we just gave.
As I grew up, I started to better understand the biblical principle of tithing, giving among your first fruits, and the reasoning behind it. But, if I had left it to my church, I would be left in the dark, completely misunderstanding both the heart of giving and the importance of giving.
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” – Proverbs 3:9-10
I fully reserve the right to be wrong, but with Millennials giving less to the church, it seems that others in my generation had the same experience I did. When churches adopted the ‘80s style giving mentality, it hindered my generation from understanding the why, how, when and what of financial giving in the church, which explains the complexity and hesitancy in their giving today.
Millennials have underdeveloped hearts and minds regarding financial campaigns in the church. So, as the church, how do we teach Millennials the importance of giving and, ultimately, get them to do it?
Here are 4 simple steps to beginning that process:
1. Talk about it.
Money is a taboo topic. So much so, our team released a free resource just to help facilitate the money conversation in your church. However, the Bible is very clear about giving. It is one of the most heavily discussed topics and it is an important aspect of our Christian walk. By creating conversation around money, it allows people to ask questions and better understand the biblical principles regarding this topic.
2. Be transparent about your investments.
Transparency is king. We are, contrary to popular belief, a generous generation. We are passionate about making a difference and helping where we can. We know the importance of keeping the lights running, the staff paid and the buildings cool. But, we also want to know how our church is actively helping the community, how we are reaching the unchurched, and the tangible ways our giving helps fund that cause.
If you haven’t already, take a look at the North Point Community Church Be Rich campaign. As a Millennial, this provided plenty of great insight into how I was able to serve the Lord through giving.
3. Make giving available online.
Most churches have already adopted this method, but for those of you that aren’t quite there, please take steps to make this an option. I speak for most of us when I say that we do not carry cash. By having an online method of giving (through your website, a kiosk in your church lobby, Venmo, or perhaps an app for your church), you increase the likelihood of Millennial giving by acknowledging various giving styles.
4. Start with something other than money.
The best way to encourage someone to financially invest in something is to include them in the blueprint. When I know the heart behind something, and I believe in it, that is when I want to invest – with both my time and money. Start by encouraging your Millennial audience to get involved with the church (ministries, production, the welcome staff, etc.). Whatever it may be, the more involved they are, the more likely for them to develop a passion for the mission of the church and to gain a better understanding of what they are giving to. For every generation, time is money. If they are willing to give time, they are most likely willing to give money.
Millennials care deeply about meaningful causes. We want to leave an impact on the world and support organizations that are making a difference. So tell us what type of impact the church is having. Give us opportunities to see the results firsthand. Make it easy to give. These steps are essential for teaching financial giving and reaching the heart of Millennials.