by Todd McMichen, Director of LifeWay Generosity and Digital Giving100

Generosity is no longer about money. Outside of prayer and fasting, I believe it to be the most critical ministry in the church moving forward — especially if we desire to reach and release the next generation of believers. Here are some trends that will encourage every pastor to lean toward designing a powerful generosity ministry.

Generosity Is Trending

  • The volume of nonprofit organizations has grown by 20 percent while the for-profit sector has grown by 2 to 3 percent. People are recognizing life problems today and are taking big steps toward solutions by starting fully legal nonprofit organizations.
  • Nonprofit organizations continue to see hiring growth. Employees transitioning from the for-profit sector to the nonprofit sector continues to grow. Adults are making major career decisions based on personal life values and meaning beyond the dollar earned.
  • The youngest generation of adults, those in their 20s and 30s, has been powerfully affected by their experiences while growing up in the U.S. At a very impressionable age, this generation personally witnessed events like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the War on Terror, the Recession of 2008, and a national political divide. This generation prioritizes problem solving and difference making in our country both personally and professionally.
  • More Americans are volunteering today than ever before. Holistic generosity is alive and well. People are not content to simply make a donation. They want to get involved alongside others to leave a lasting legacy.
  • More dollars are being donated today to nonprofit causes than ever before. People are not content to simply provide a nod of verbal support or volunteer for an afternoon. They are also willing to step up to the plate with a generous donation.

How Can We Increase Generosity in the Church?

Generosity is growing in the marketplace, yet church giving as a whole is on the decline. And every month I witness churches verbalizing volunteer needs in their bulletins and from the stage. What is the disconnect and how can we turn it around?

1. Set a Clear Vision.
This generation is longing to experience a powerfully clear vision from the church that helps people and our country for the good. We know the church has the most powerful vision on planet Earth, but it tends to be unclear and not concise. Longtime insiders get it, but it is not obvious to outsiders. Generosity ministry is vision ministry.

2. Lead with Passion.
This generation is longing to get involved in alignment with their passion. They are not as content to show up and volunteer simply because an organization has a need. Volunteering for them in alignment with their passion makes life meaningful. This is why so many adults are seeking to align their careers with companies and organizations that are making a substantial difference. Leading with a passion for what is best for the giver is a quantum leap forward for churches. Historically speaking we have prioritized church needs like a lack of volunteers in the nursery.

“Generosity is growing in the marketplace, yet church giving as a whole is on the decline. What is the disconnect and how can we turn it around?”

 Todd McMichen

3. Connect Giving and Volunteering.
This generation is not afraid to verbalize a cause that motivates them while engaging others to join them, giving both time and resources to solve a problem. Generosity is everywhere, just check out your Facebook feed. This kind of passion and energy can be powerful fuel for church vision. Make generosity a team sport that is fun and where everyone wins. Volunteering as an obligation or duty of church membership is not as motivating as we might think.

4. Clearly State the Mission.
Some church programming can feel irrelevant and can be void of a simple process to help a person live a meaningful life. I tried to state this in a way that is not harsh or judgemental. I love the Church, but we could use some help with an efficient strategy that engages and releases people in a meaningful way. Sometimes we can get too caught up in what is important to church programming, forgetting the mission. Whereas a nonprofit can by its nature possess an extremely clear vision and strategy. For instance, Habitat For Humanity is as straightforward as they come, clearly explaining what it does and how I can get involved.

Generosity is 100 percent on the rise. If your church is not enjoying this tremendously powerful wave, there is truly no better time than the present to jump in the game. We are living in the most generous era in U.S. history. Let’s help the church leapfrog to the front of the pack. Unleash giving today!

(This article was originally published by LifeWay on June 4, 2020)