Young people often have a long list of of legitimate excuses for why they don’t give tithes and offerings to their churches. Minimum wage jobs, unpaid internships, student loans, newly married, a new family, uncertainty about the future are just some of them. The bottom line is that young people don’t feel like they have a high enough level of financial stability to give the way they feel called to. As church leaders, we should recognize and validate their feelings.
Many of these young people may have never given before to any organization, whether a church or not. Students in churches don’t feel obligated to give because of the aforementioned reason. They simply have never given in the past. A Biblical understanding of stewardship and generosity was never instilled in them at an early age.
Church leaders and student pastors have likely asked them to consider giving on multiple occasions, but they have never really felt drawn in or passionate about why they need to give. So how can pastors and other church leaders instill a sense of urgency and transfer a Biblical call to give in the students of our churches today?
1) Make stewardship a frequent topic of discussion in your church and student ministry. Discuss the values of giving on your church website. Send emails through your ChMS. Post messages on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Remind students constantly about why we are called to be good stewards and be generous with our money. Prepare large group mini-sermons discussing the “why” behind Biblical stewardship. Make sure you communicate how vital giving is to the overall health and goals of discipleship to the church and her community. Be clear on where the money goes and how it helps fund certain activities, mission’s programs and discipleship opportunities.
2) Encourage young people to give outside of their money. Students, whether in middle school, high school or college, have very little disposable income. Often times they’re working part time jobs to pay for car insurance and have enough gas money to get to school and back, let along their friend’s houses. Communicate that Biblical stewardship is not just about money. It’s about them giving their time, talents and other resources. Don’t let them be discouraged when they can’t give monetarily. Encourage them to volunteer in the church, play in the church orchestra, sing in the choir or help with Vacation Bible School.
3) Be understanding about young people’s realistic financial abilities. It’s extremely easy for students to see how much their parents and other older people in the congregation give and become frustrated that they can’t give that much. That doesn’t mean they can’t give though. The Bible says we should all be “cheerful givers.” The amount doesn’t matter. On the contrary, giving is a matter of the heart. Encouraging students to give within their means, regardless of the amount, will cultivate a spirit of cheerful generosity.
4) Encourage them to give once. Yes, you heard right. Focus your priority on getting them to give the first time. Once they give, feel how good it feels to give and help others and see the benefits, they will give again, often in more abundance subsequent times.
5) Be persistent, but not pushy. The ultimate goal is to instill a passion of true Biblical stewardship that will lead young people to make a habit of giving regularly. Hopefully that will continue as they age, establish themselves in your church and become more mature believers. Ideally, they will become a long-time church member who is dedicated to giving back God a small portion of what He has blessed them with.
Jesus doesn’t care about your money. He cares about what your money says about your heart. Jesus doesn’t need your money. He wants what your money represents. He wants your heart. He wants your heart to long for the great things of God and be hungry for them.