USA (MNN) — Which generation do you think gives most frequently to support Gospel missions? Boomers? Generation X? The answer is actually Millennials!
Mission India recently partnered with Barna Group on a report called The Great Disconnect. The report shares research on the American Church’s current views regarding missions.
“I was a little surprised,” says Erik* with Mission India. “As a Millennial, I keep hearing we don’t go to church, we’re not this, [or] we’re not that. But Millennials actually have surpassed older generations in giving to missions. Now, Boomers in that sense are giving more financially, but Millennials are giving more frequently in higher volumes of gifts.”
The Millennial generation includes anyone born from 1981 to 1996. Millennials are between the ages of 26 and 41 today.
Another interesting finding from the report showed “more than half of the churched Millennials — 51% — say that if their church donated a percentage of its annual budget to missions, this would motivate them to give more.”
Unfortunately, 70% of all churched Christians have no idea how many missionaries their church supports.
“I would imagine churches actually do give a nice chunk of percentage of money to missions,” Erik says. “But Millennials are saying, ‘Hey, I don’t even know if they’re giving to missions. But if they did and I was aware of that, I would give more.'”
Erik says this research is incredibly helpful to church leadership. “I think as a church leader, one could also extrapolate and say, ‘Well, if they’re giving more and they’re excited about what we’re doing with missions, they are probably going to be more engaged with our church.’ So I think this report, as a church leader, can really help you say, ‘How do I reach Millennials?’”
The Great Disconnect report also found Millennials are more likely to give toward an indigenous missions model.
“My personal view on this [is] Millennials and Gen Z are ready to reclaim this idea of how we do missions,” Erik says. “Millennials and Gen Z primarily have experienced the sending model. But I think there’s also this inherent feeling in the back of their minds, like is that really the right way?
“There’s a refrain I usually hear or I’ve actually said myself when I’ve gone on a sending trip. ‘I think I got more out of the trip than what I gave.’ That is something that really has shaped my view of missions over my life of 35 years…. I understand the sentiment, but if we’re truly doing missions efficiently and having missions be something that can withstand and be stable going forward without me being there, there has to be a better way of doing that.”
Erik adds, “Now, I will have this caveat. I’m not saying get rid of the sending model and the way we know missions! I think there’s merit to it. I think where I’m coming from is saying, but is that the only way we should look at missions going forward?
“That’s what I enjoy about Mission India. We’re empowering brothers and sisters in India to do the work God has called them to do.”
Want to read more? Download the full Barna report here. There is a lot of information that could especially be helpful to churches seeking to better engage their members for the Great Commission!
You can also check out Mission India’s website here and learn more about their approach to Gospel missions.
*Last name omitted for security.
Header photo courtesy of Esther Tuttle via Unsplash.