The Do’s & Don’ts of Stewardship for Millennials
What do Stewardship & Millennials have in common? They are extremely misunderstood.
Most people think (and unfortunately many parishes teach) that Stewardship is all about money because they focus on the Stewardship of Treasure drive at the parish. We know that a Stewardship Parish does not center on money but on Prayer, Hospitality, Formation, and Service.
Millennials make up more than 75 million Americans and most people think they aren’t passionate, authentic, or into relationships. That stereotype gives this generation born between 1981 and 1997 a bad name in business, online, and the Church. More than 25% of them identify as “none” regarding their religion, and this number is increasing year by year. This doesn’t mean they aren’t passionate about causes they believe to be authentic. Millennial Catholics who are involved in their parishes or other non-profits continue to surprise older generations with their commitment to what they believe in.
So how can we present the four pillars of Stewardship to a generation seeking passion, authenticity, and relationships? In this installment of ICSC wisdom we will explore Hospitality & Formation
Feeling a sense of belonging is an innate need of human beings. We were created for community and when we feel like we belong in a place or community of people, we continue to gravitate toward them. A sense of belonging is the first stage of engagement, so as a parish we need to take this seriously. When people come to our parish do they feel welcomed, part of the family, and that we want them there?
- Greet people as they come into Mass each Sunday with a warm smile.
- Encourage parents to bring their young families to Mass in the main Church
- Meet people where they are in their journey of faith and walk with them
- Comment on how it’s nice to see “young adults” at Mass like they are a rare breed, this doesn’t help anyone feel a sense of belonging
- Discourage parents from bringing their children to Mass by commenting on every crying baby, passing mean looks to “active children” or by outright telling parents their children are not welcome in the main Church
Millennials may not identify as religious but their parents most likely did while they were growing up so many of them are baptized and received some form of religious formation as children. A recent CARA study interviewed young adults who had left the church and found that 63% had left between the ages of 11 and 17 and 23% decided to leave before the age of 10. Their reasons for leaving included items such as not believing that God exists and seeing irreconcilable differences between religion and science. Formation is key for all members of the parish, especially those seeking.
- Keep in mind that the foundations of the Love of God need to be accepted first
- Relate the teachings of the Church to the unique living situations of our society
- Remember the faith is a life-long journey so walk with people through teachings that are more difficult to understand
- Water down the faith to “appeal to the culture” and lose your authenticity
- Shy away from hard teachings because they are difficult to accept
- Assume that millennials are looking for the easy way out