James L. Elrod Jr.
Millennials, Financial Transparency, and Church
It is no secret that Millennials value transparency. This mindset extends to their work, home, and personal life.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Svati Narula describes how young adults today are comfortable discussing their personal financial situation with their friends. This behavior stands in stark contrast to the practices of their Baby Boomer parents. A 2019 survey by CreditCards.com found that 61% of Millennials were comfortable discussing credit card debt with their friends, compared to 43% of Baby Boomers.
Financial transparency, Narula observes, is an extension of the way young adults conduct the rest of their lives. They embrace openness in all matters and, not surprisingly, expect openness in return.
How have most churches--particularly Mainline churches--adapted to this desire by young adults for greater financial transparency? Poorly, in most instances. Does your church post its most recent audited financial statements on its website? A five year summary of financial and operating results? A copy of your most recent annual report to the congregation?
Luring young adults into the pews on Sunday mornings in a post-pandemic world will be a challenge. Assuming you bring them in, have you removed obstacles that will foster serious engagement?
Becoming more financially transparent might be a good first step. Review your church's current practices regarding financial transparency ask whether they match the expectations of a Millennial audience.