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Millennials, Missions & Money: A New Generation of Givers

Generational profiles help us understand the behaviors and values of people within different age groups.

Pop-culture and historical events throughout the decades create unique traits in each generation. Each group has stereotypes, strengths and weaknesses, and things that they are well known for. Encompass World Partners has talked and prayed about how to engage EVERY generation for the sake of the Great Commission, especially the coming of age Millennials. We long for Millennial Christians to have an eternal and global perspective, not only in their going and praying but also in their giving.

Millennials are an emerging generation of people who exhibit extraordinary potential for the support of Global Missions, but in order to harness this new generation of givers sending agencies, like Encompass, need to consider more than a minor tweak to their game plan. We need to display thoughtful consideration for the needs and passions of the Millennial Generation and beyond. While our focus on relationships should never change, how we relate and how we communicate will need to adapt.

At this point, most Christian non-profits are supported and led by the Builders, Baby Boomers, and Gen Xers. These generations are currently the dominant workforce, possessing the majority of the economy’s financial assets. Though distinct in their overall profiles, they are very similar in their giving trends. So the strategy for fundraising has mostly remained the same. However, the philanthropic landscape is drastically changing as Millennials are expected to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 and are considerably different than the past generations in how they give. Over 80 million millennials are coming of age and how they spend their money will be different from their parents.

Many things attribute to the uniqueness of Millennials, but the largest influence is the advancement of technology and the impact of the internet and social media. As a generation, Millennials feel the urge to innovate and change the world for the betterment of humanity. More than any other generation before them, the Millennials are more attentive and passionate to join good causes. On top of that, they want to join the fight, not only as a financial contributor but as ambassadors and volunteers.

Millennials are optimistic and excited about movements that will change the world for good. They are ready to join in and commit to people who are doing what they believe in. They want an authentic, connected donor relationship that often resembles an active investor role. This is what makes this generation an admirable support force. In order to continue faithful and fruitful ministry in a new era, we must use the new tools of our day to provide innovative ways for this generation to invest in this cause, the mission of God.

Disregarding the culture changes will leave organizations paralyzed. Ignoring the uniqueness of this new generation of givers and asking them to conform to the preferences of previous generations, could lead to grave consequences in future. We need to be open to how this emerging generation will support the Great Commission.

There are valuable lessons to be learned in the School of Change. We embrace this season and its growing pains. Consider these two understandings, basic yet profound.

The support of Global Missions needs to be done together, and that means valuing what each generation has to offer.

Instead of ignoring our differences we should embrace the distinct traits that make up the Body of Christ. We should draw upon these strengths as stewards of the Gospel. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you” (1 Corinthians 12:14-26). God created the Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and Builders to contribute with the gifts he gave them. It is the responsibility of every generation to reach to the next generation to carry-on the support of the Great Commission.

The best way for each generation to do this is simple. It is all about fellowship in the gospelIt is all about discipling relationships. 

When pursuing the same mission, the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we share in the strongest bond: our salvation through faith in Christ. This frees us to invite one another, without fear, into the dialogue, into a conversation, on what’s changing from one generation to the next.

Boomers, ask Millennials to teach you about their culture and their passions. Ask them how Christ has transformed them and listen to the same truths described with younger lips. Encourage ownership in mission. Give opportunities to try new things. Prepare them to grab hold of the baton and run.

Millennials, ask and learn about the how God crafted the generations ahead of you, how he has faithfully led them to today. This discipleship approach will insure that the baton is passed on the basis of relationship in the gospel, a powerful authenticity, and modeling that the younger generation craves. What a beautiful exchange of ownership in the Great Commission – to pray, to go, and to give.

Look for our next blog post on the biblical foundation for giving, resourcing the work of taking the gospel to the nations. Only 10 days remain until Black FridayCyber Monday, #GivingTuesday!