Some church leaders believe that young people don’t give. Is this true? Do millennials not give? Are millennials selfish individuals who don’t care about anything else other than themselves? Let’s examine some research to find out.
Millennials are caused-based in their giving
In a survey conducted by the Barna Group and Compassion International, 47% of young practicing Christians said their church should be more involved in fighting extreme poverty. What is more, 45% of millennials said they would increase their giving to their church if it were more concerned with poverty alleviation.
For millennials, they want to know their giving is going toward a cause. In general, they feel less of a desire to give out of a sense of obligation. Now, the reason millennials give can be your local church, but they want to know their giving is making a difference.
As a church, plan on providing regular updates on how the church’s giving is helping with the spread of the gospel and alleviating physical needs. For millennials, don’t just tell them their contributions are making a difference, show them how with pictures, videos, and stories.
Millennials and their giving potential
For most millennials, they don’t lack a desire to give; they lack the financial resources to make significant financial contributions. Unlike older generations, millennials are just starting out in their careers, and their income is not as high.
While the average North American earns roughly fifty thousand dollars per year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average salary of 20-to-24-year-olds hovers around twenty thousand dollars per year and the average 25-to-34-year-old earns roughly thirty-nine thousand per year. After you subtract from their average income of 20-to-34-year-olds the average student loan payment of a person in their 20s, which is about three hundred and fifty dollars per month, then you can see millennials do not have as much giving potential as older generations.
It’s not surprising young people don’t give as much as older generations. But, since this is the case, should your church prioritize reaching young people if they don’t have the ability to give as much?
In short, yes, and the reason why will surprise you.
Millennials bring the fire
In a study conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute from 2012 to 2015, the researchers began their work with similar questions as most churches: Is prioritizing young people worth it if they don’t give? Can a church survive and thrive by prioritizing a group of individuals who cannot give as much as others? Let’s just say the researchers were pleased by their findings.
After spending more than 10,000 hours in research, conducting 1,300 individual interviews with over 250 churches across 40 states, they heard a similar concept time and time again from churches successfully reaching young people: vitality. In other words, when a church is full of young people, then the entire church is infused with energy and intensity.
During their research, the group at Fuller Youth Institute pulled back the layers of what churches meant by “vitality,” and they discovered several interesting implications.
When the study organizers asked the churches in their research how much young people gave, the pastors and leaders would often chuckle and respond, “Not much.” But they’d quickly point out afterward that having young people in their church infused it with energy, which attracted older adults to their church who had more financial resources to give.
The implication is clear: There is a trickle-down effect when you successfully reach millennials. When you reach and retain young people, then the infusion of their energy and intensity will influence other demographics within your church—even in their giving, which is supported by the data from the Fuller Youth Institute.
Don’t fear that the future of your ministry’s finances is in jeopardy if you prioritize reaching millennials. The data from this study suggests you can spur on growth in other areas of your church, including giving, if you successfully reach young people.
To learn how Shelby Systems software can help you engage Millennials in your church, contact your Shelby Sales Consultant today!