Changing the Generosity CultureJust out of curiosity, I did some research on the current culture of generosity. I came across five credible sources that opened my eyes. The first is from Push Pay Research. In their 2019 Church Giving Report, they found:
- Consistent givers only make up 10–25 percent of the church. Research points to the 80/20 factor, where 80 percent of giving is done by only 20 percent of the people.
- Eight out of ten consistent givers have zero credit card debt. For many, credit card debt is a barrier to giving.
- Giving to missions is down 50 percent since 1990. Additional sources state 99 percent is spent on sharing the gospel with people who already have access to the gospel. Only 1 percent is used to share the gospel with people without access to the gospel.
- On Average, Christians give only 2.5 percent of their income to churches.
- Of families that make $75,000+, only 1 percent donated a tenth of their income. Most people tend to think, “If I make more, I will give more.” Research shows otherwise.
- Of ALL the giving done, only a third goes to religious organizations. This means two-thirds of all giving isn’t for the purpose of more of God or more for God.
- People who attend church give more than those who don’t.
- Recurring givers annually donate 42 percent more than one-time donors. Generosity is a lifestyle, not a one-time occurrence.
Imagine how much faster the Great Commission could be fulfilled if every Believer joined God’s movement of audacious generosity.
The second point of research I came across was from LifeWay Research. LifeWay asked pastors how often they preach on financial giving. A fifth of all pastors say they have never preached on tithing.
I found The Generosity Project by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) especially interesting in identifying the mindset of how people give. Baby boomers had a tendency to give monetarily. Millennials give by donating their time.
In 2017, ECFA released a study that analyzed the giving patterns of the largest generation, millennials. The Generosity Project uncovered a pattern of optimism among young donors, who cite feeling hopeful and satisfied after giving. Millennials indicate being highly engaged and invested with the ministries and organizations they sup-port financially.
Here’s what the ECFA survey learned about generosity:
- Most people believe the Bible commands them to give. They have differing views about what it means to tithe.
- Millennials (born between 1980 and 1994) are twice as likely to feel generous as boomers (1944 and 1964). Boomers give more but feel less satisfied about their giving. Millennials give less but feel two times more satisfied than boomers.
- Millennials are more inclined to give because of who they are, while older generations are more inclined to give because of which ministry asked them to give.
- Millennials will give you more money if you encourage them to make a “meaningful” gift rather than a “generous” one. Meaningful means useful quality or purpose. Generous means willingness to give more of something.
- Fifty-six percent of the 16,500 Christians surveyed said they gave less than $50 to church and charity last year. Eighty-four percent of the millennials surveyed reported that they gave less than $50 dollars to church and charity last year. Seventy-eight percent of those millennials said they were satisfied with their level of giving.
- Thirty-two percent of Christians strongly associated generosity with service or volunteering, 30 percent with emotional or relational support, 22 percent with giving money, 12 percent with hospitality, and 5 percent with non-monetary gifts. Only 13 percent of millennials associate generosity with monetary giving.
The Generosity Gap by Barna Group illustrates that what people say and what they do are not the same when it comes to generosity. We all say we love generosity, but our actions don’t reflect that. This study proves that.
In 2017, Thrivent Financial collaborated with the Barna Group in a groundbreaking study of generosity among Christians. The Barna Group found significant gaps in understandings, expectations, and practices within the US Christian community about giving.Among the study’s key findings:
- Ninety-six percent of Christians surveyed said generosity is important to them.
- Sixteen percent said they are most often generous to others through monetary support.
- Forty-seven percent of Christians surveyed agreed that it is okay for church members who volunteer extensively not to give financially.
Christopher Kopka, president of Thrivent Church Solutions Group, said, “Generosity is both a reflection of people’s heart and a reflection of their wisdom with money.” David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, said, “The challenge is to create moments that invite extravagant generosity from people as they serve an extravagantly generous Lord.” I couldn’t agree more.
What we say about being generous and what we do about being generous is not consistent. When it comes to the research about generosity, the numbers prove that our actions speak louder than words.
The Science of Generosity research program at The University of Notre Dame stated: “Americans pride themselves on being generous. Two-thirds of Americans believe it’s important to be generous. Yet, almost half of the US population actually gave no money to charity at all.”
The Science of Generosity research program evolved out of Christian Smith’s work on Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money.* That book examines the complex reasons for the illiberal financial giving of American Christians. The research clearly showed that more liberal giving could accomplish world-transforming change. I agree. More people need to flip the switch to generosity.
— From pages 210–215 in Audacious Generosity by Kevin White
About Audacious Generosity…
Given the choice, every one of us wants to be more generous, but fear holds us back. Audacious Generosity shows you to exchange any sense of pressure and regret about giving for genuine confidence and satisfaction.
With Audacious Generosity, God is the Giver, and giving depends on what God puts into your hands. Gone are the days where you feel pressured to be the giver. Instead, Audacious Generosity will empower you to give limitlessly — as God gives through you.
By reading this book, you will learn to enjoy a living relationship with God that’s fueled by courage, characterized by freedom, and overflowing with audacious generosity. As God combines courage and freedom in your life, you will experience, receive, and give more than you ever thought possible. See what happens when you open our hands to God and commit in advance to use what He puts into our hands to fulfill His mission.
For full details please visit https://kevinwhite.us
About Kevin White…
Twenty years ago, Kevin White needed food for his family. God said, “Feed others and your family will eat too.” Today the organization Kevin founded, With Love From Jesus Ministries continues to distribute millions of dollars a year in needed resources to high need populations. Kevin’s family never missed a meal, and Kevin went from barely surviving to thriving through Audacious Generosity.
For ten years, Kevin has been the Founder/Executive Director of Global Hope India a mission organization to Indian Nationals. He’s traveled to India fifty times hosting a thousand people on mission trips.
Kevin and his wife, Shelly, have three adult children and one grandchild. They live in Cary, North Carolina.
For full details please visit https://kevinwhite.us
*Smith, Christian and Michael Emerson with Patricia Snell. Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
About Kevin White
Kevin White is a Christian pastor, international speaker, and an international best-selling author. As a writer, Kevin’s newest book, Audacious Generosity, is a best new Christian Book of 2020. Audacious Generosity was an instant international best seller in India and the United States of America. Audacious Generosity is the New Book to Read in 2021. Look for it among Christianity books on Amazon and everywhere books are sold. Kevin’s why for life is to extend access to Jesus to all people world-wide. Kevin loves to motivate people how to encounter the presence of God in their everyday life.
As a seasoned entrepreneur, Kevin has started and helped start hundreds of businesses, churches, and nonprofit organizations. Kevin is an expert in church leadership and business development. Kevin’s shepherd’s heart can be seen in his speaking and writing. He integrates Biblical principles and worship into everything he does. Kevin’s strategy is to help people transform into the likeness of Jesus. Find more from Kevin White including his blog, podcast shows, YouTube Channel, and Generously Blessed 1MM One Minute Motivational Series at https://kevinwhite.us
About Global Hope India
Kevin White is the Founder/Executive Director of Global Hope India, a Christian mission organization focused on sharing the gospel in India and among Indian Nationals world-wide. We facilitate virtual mission teams to India and short-term mission teams in-person in India. These teams empower the church in India with pastoral training, youth pastor training, children’s ministry, church planting strategy, church planting ministry, and medical missions.
Global Hope India is a Christian charity that raises funds for India. 92% of every dollar given benefits gospel outreach projects in India such as church planting, orphan care, clean water projects, bibles, medical clinics, etc. Our partners in India serve the Baptist mission in India, Church of God in India as well as independent Christian churches. We do one thing – advance the gospel in India. We do it in one way – through the local church in India. Join us today by praying for India, giving to God’s work in India and going virtually or in person to make disciples in India. Find out more information at https://globalhopeindia.org