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Millennials CAN be Generous—Three Ways to Inspire Them

How do we get millennials to move from being the generation that’s not actively involved? How do we push them to take steps of faith, but not push them away?

These are the questions Ted Max, lead pastor at Vale Community Church, has been asking regularly at his church in Bloomington, Ill. The vast majority of his congregation now consists of millennials, but it hasn’t always been that way. Only in the last few years has Vale seen this demographic shift from an average age of 40-something down to 18- to 34-year-olds.

And Vale’s had to make adjustments to keep up with the changes, such as making leadership shifts, redesigning its building to keep it visually appealing and relevant, finding new ways to get its body of believers to engage the community, and creating exciting ways to give generously.

Ted’s not afraid to make these changes because he believes it’s where God’s leading them. But he also feels that if Vale leadership isn’t willing to make adjustments to their routine, then how can he be asking millennials to do so? How can he ask them the tough questions like, “What are YOU doing in the church? How are you giving? Which ways are you serving?”

In September, Ted has been challenging his church to get “All In” with their giving, preparing their hearts to give toward their next phase of construction that includes the remodeling of its early childhood area.

And he’s found some creative ways to get his people “all in,” such as: 

  1. AS YOURSELF NIGHT: Everyone brought in $10, $20, $30—whatever they wanted to in cash. The church then pooled the money and sent people out in groups to love people. To love people as yourself in tangible ways, like buying coffee for people in line at Starbucks, buying people’s prescriptions at local drugstores, putting coins in people’s laundry machines, etc.
  2. EXPERIENCE GENEROSITY: People came on a Sunday morning and sang two songs. Then, they were unexpectedly handed a list of items and asked to spend the next 50 minutes spending $5 or $500—whatever God inspired them to give—to buy the items on the list. And they then all met back at the church to pray over the items. Vale donated the items to a local shelter that reaches the poor.
  3. CHURCH DONATION: Finally, after asking the body to give of their time and funds, the church surprised the body by announcing five large donations to five local charities.

It’s these creative ways that Ted hopes will inspire his body of mostly millennials to give of their time, service and money. What unique ways has your church created to inspire generosity?