Millennial Christians are not reticent to speak up about church finances. They often lament how many dollars of the church budget are directed toward looking after the needs of the existing membership and how few dollars go to the mission fields of the community, the nation, and the world.
"I call it Baby Boomer reflux," said Rebecca. The outspoken 26–year-old clarified: "The Boomers give money to the church, but it comes right back to them to keep them content. They hire the staff to do the ministry they won't do. The money goes to make the buildings more comfortable for them. And then churches begin all kinds of ministries for boomers and their families to keep them happy. Most churches today suffer from Baby Boomer reflux."
We didn't have to ask Rebecca if she would attend that kind of church. "I'll never go to that kind of church," she responded without a question. "That's not New Testament Christianity. That's a religious social club."
Millennial Christians are scrutinizing carefully how churches are spending the money of the tithes and offerings given by the members. They are looking to see if the church truly is a Great Commission church or a church seeking great comfort. They are asking questions about the dollars given to missions. Where does the money really go? What happens to the money after it arrives at its destination? How efficient are the recipients of the funds in getting the money directly to mission needs? How much of the mission dollars go to administration and overhead?
Baby Boomer and Gen X Christians (born early 1960s to the early 1980s) were more likely to accept the traditional ways churches give to missions without many questions. Not so with the Millennial Christians. Because they are such a small minority in their generation, they know how precious the resources are to reach the community and beyond. They will thus examine the stewardship of funds in a church or denomination with great scrutiny. They will ask many questions. And they will be unwilling to stay in churches they perceive to be irresponsible with the money entrusted to them.
But the good news is that Millennial Christians will be attracted to those congregations that show wise stewardship of their funds. They will be excited about churches that sacrificially give for the cause of missions in their communities and throughout the world.
Adapted from The Millennials by Thom S. Rainer and Jess W. Rainer (B&H Books, 2010). Used by permission.
- "Raising Money from Millennials at Church"
- "What Millennials Ask About Giving"
- "Survey Says, Millennials Do Give–and Not Just Online"
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