How Millennials View Church Finances
A wise stewardship of funds is desired by today's young adult

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.

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This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."


Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments


May 17, 2014  10:23pm

Poor fiscal responsibility is only one of the concerns of the millennial generation regarding the church. The lack of effort by church members to live out the faith in which they preach is probably the bigger issue. From the ministers to the members there is a general attitude the the church should compliment their life rather than allow their lives to serve God in biblical ways. Until churches stop acting like they are a social organization that is there to make people feel better about themselves, they will continue to drive many more young people away from the church. It will be a very interesting next 20-30 years for the church.

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Bill OConnell

March 11, 2014  6:52pm

An old science teacher taught me that new research and the search for new ideas must start in the library to determine the current state of the world. Simply declaring that too few dollars are sent to those in need does not establish it as fact. These millenials should first look to find the churches that put Christian Stewardship toward the poor and needy into practice decades ago, and continue to practice it today. i am proud to have been Treasurer of two different churches where the first 40% (in one case) and 20% (in the other case) went to Missions Committees that scrutinized the effectiveness of the recipeints closely. My encouragement to these millelials is to stop wasting energy by complaining, and expend that energy with those in productive ministry.

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March 05, 2014  2:48pm

Yes, my research on this topic indicates that Millennials are tired of church being run as business! They want it to feel like a family...where the needs of people come before programs and projects that simply benefit those sitting in the pews on Sunday morning. Despite their value on technology and media, Millennials would rather see money go to the community or missions than be invested in yet another new and updated piece of equipment for sole use within the four walls of the church.

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