priest in church holding collection plate
If you are under 40, this pastor might accuse you of being a little too stingy with your money.

If you’re a churchgoing millennial or Gen-Zer, chances are your pastor thinks you’re not generous enough with your money.

A new report from Christian polling firm Barna found that an overwhelming percent of church pastors say they’re concerned that young congregants aren’t giving enough cash to their local church.

Are young people uncharitable? Is church leadership getting greedy? What’s going on?

Once Upon a Tithe

According to the polls conducted by Barna, 51% of church leadership report feeling “very concerned” that young people aren’t supporting the church enough financially. An additional 43% are “somewhat concerned”. 

That means a whopping 94% of church leadership are concerned that millennials and Gen-Z aren’t coughing up enough dough in the collection plate. In contrast, more than half of church leaders report no concerns about the giving habits of older generations.

What gives? If you ask church leadership, they might say it's a generational divide – a younger crop of churchgoers that simply aren't motivated to give as much as their parents did. 

Skipping the Collection Plate

In another examination of the giving trends of Americans, Barna found that millennials are more charitable with their money than Gen-X, and equally charitable as Baby Boomers.

61% of millennials report giving money to charities and/or churches, compared to 64% of Boomers. Only 51% of Gen Z reported giving charitably, but considering many of that generation aren't yet in their peak earning years… that is relatively understandable.

This statistic has some church leaders concerned. It would be one thing if millennials didn't have the means to donate... but the data shows that they're consciously choosing to skip the collection plate and send those funds elsewhere.

Why is that? And what does it mean for the future of churches? Those are the types of questions that could keep pastors up at night. 

A Different Type of Donation

That second report shows that younger generations may actually be just as generous as elder generations, but that their generosity simply manifests itself in different ways.

Here's another interesting statistic:

While young people are less inclined to give financially to charities and houses of worship, they’re actually more likely to donate their time, according to the report.

Just 21% of Boomers reported volunteering at a charitable organization, for example, compared to 41% of millennials and 54% of Gen-Z. 

One could argue that millennials and Zoomers are just as if not more generous than prior generations, only with a different currency.

Brace for Religious Skepticism

One factor that the report’s authors took into consideration was the enthusiasm gap for religious institutions. It’s no secret that younger generations have a healthy skepticism for faith in general, but particularly organized religion. 

For years, America’s fastest growing religion has been "none", and reports like those detailing hidden bags of cash falling out of the walls of pastor Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston do little to assuage their distrust and cynicism. 

The report itself also argues that young people simply have a more global mindset than their elders.

With the ubiquity of the internet, one’s community isn’t necessarily tied down to their physical location, like their neighborhood or local church pews. Their sense of community is global, and so those social pressures to give financially felt by generations past simply aren’t there.

What do you make of these findings? Why do you think younger people are tithing less – and what could that mean for the future? 


  1. Merlin's Avatar Merlin

    Reason? To tell us how to live our lives? Who to vote for? To increase fear? To close our minds? That their way is the only way?

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      I don't think it's any one thing but a mix and mash of several. Covid made money tighter than usual and younger people are wisening up to that. They also have been watching more closely than anyone else how both politics and religion have been finangled in horrid ways against the people from grifting to segregating and I think they are shorter of patience with all that. I also think not really having a local community and having to reach out on the web to find support and friendship. I'm sure covid has some part of that as well, causing people to not want to be out quite as much either. I think we have an overall split going on as well, So many people of all ages are stepping back from churches and looking more inside, learning more about religion in general and trying to reconcile all the crazy going on with it lately and what they know to be right. So many churches have lost their way that it's driving out the sane people. I think I'm more concerned that the young people are showing more sanity than older people who have seen so much more and should know so much better.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Let them say what they want. There is a reason its called DONATIONS meaning you give freely. If you start demanding the donations and a specific amount...what makes you any better then the tax man?

  1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

    “ No one should avoid going to church for lack of a donation for the collection plate.”

    Agree 100%. There are far better reasons not to go. It being a silly waste of time is one.

  1. David George Promis's Avatar David George Promis

    Bypass the “Middle person” and give, or volunteer, where your assistance will help others directly! 🙏

  1. Donald J Rothschild Jr's Avatar Donald J Rothschild Jr

    The younger generation has become wise to the greed of organized religions and want no part of it. Religious leaders sticking their nose into politics, sexual scandals, terrorizing the people that they will burn in hell if they don’t support THEIR church. The list goes on and on. A number of studies have shown that attendance in religious institutions has been declining for a while and continues on its downward trend. Many today state they are spiritual. They believe in a God but not the dogma attached to any one belief system.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    That’s because they have Mormon Church Envy. In the mid 1990s the Mormon Church was on the nearly bankrupt. In a vision God told the Office of the First Presidency in the church to implement a mandator minimum 10% tithings for all church members AND to donate every more with their Fast money. Fast forward to 2023 when it was revealed the Mornin Church had secretly and unlawfully amassed a fortune of over $202 BILLION DOLLARS in stocks, bonds, shopping centers and real estate. The Mormon Church currently owns 2% of all public real estate in Florida.

    With all of this having been made public pastors are jealous and want in on the action. Plus the need the money to settle sex and child molestation cases.

  1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

    If only these grifters would slither away and find large, loose rock to curl up beneath.

    Through division and constant conflict, I think organized religions helped create a big enough mess for younger generations to cope with. Expecting them to tithe at all is literally beyond the pale.

  1. Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson's Avatar Ealdormon Piparskeggr Robinson

    And the sign says "Everybody welcome Come in Kneel down and pray" But then they passed around a plate at the end of it all And I didn't have a penny to pay So I got me a pen and paper And I made up my own little sign I said Thank you Lord for thinking about me I'm alive and doing fine

    1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

      I hear you!

      Janus Joplin:

      "I'd like to do a song Of great social and political import It goes like this

      Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

      Oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV? Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me I wait for delivery each day until three So oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV?

      Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town? I'm counting on you, Lord, please don't let me down Prove that you love me and buy the next round Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town?

      Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends So oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

    2. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

      Wanted to add 'Plastic Jesus' by The Gold Coast Singers - George_Cromarty and Ed Rush, but there are so many versions.

      People have been calling out organized religions on hypocrisy for how long? If they listened to their congregates and lived according to their own teachings, they might be better heard?

  1. Janis Carol Sommers's Avatar Janis Carol Sommers

    I just watched an financial expose' on the Mormon Church. Every member tithes 10% of their income whether or not they can afford it. The church is the biggest land owner in the United States and it's coffers extend around the world. They use every DOnald Trump method of getting around the law that is available and make no apologies to their membership for abusing their trust or to the public for subverting our tax laws. I doubt the Catholic Church is far behind them. Maybe all churches use their congregations' donations to build wealth and power within the communities they reside. If we tithe it is needs based and not a condition of membership on Earth or in Heaven.

    1. Janis Carol Sommers's Avatar Janis Carol Sommers

      I hadn't read Robert's post about the Mormon CHurch when I was writing my post so I apologize for the duplicity. I believe any church needs the donations of its congregants to keep the doors open. I believe the pastor who wants younger members to give more in order to do that. They are are the wage owners, after all. Yes, the economics of living today can outweigh what we can donate, but there are many who have not increased their donations as their abilities increase, whether it is tithing 10% or just contributing more that they have. It's not only young congregants who might be in the position to increase giving, but empty nesters and some widows, as well. We all have an ethical obligation to our communities to make and keep them solvent, but transparancy on everyone's part is needed.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Knowing how much misery can be caused by religion, and I’m thinking of those that suffer from Religious Trauma Syndrome, I am more than happy for struggling churches to start closing down. Indoctrination of religious mythical dogma can be so damaging.

    That’s my ten cents to this topic 🤑


    1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine


      How do you post your emoticons? Please and thank you.

  1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

    The last part of the article suggesting that younger generations feel more connected by the Internet to a global community instead of to a local community seems to accurately represent the perspective of younger generations, but those perspectives are wrong. Local communities provide presence which is vital to genuine human interactions. The internet can actually leave people feeling less connected.

    1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

      @Russel A. Kester

      Why would anyone connect with part of a global community instead of staying local? If local presence is driving people elsewhere, then...

  1. Theresa C. Marquess's Avatar Theresa C. Marquess

    In this day and age of rising grocery prices, gas prices, and the cost of living, it can be hard for parishoners to dip into their purses to put something into the collection plates of their chosen houses of worship. I would much rather see people in church putting a slip of paper into the collection plate with their pledge to do volunteer work, than to have those people stay at home being without the spiriitual nourishment that a sermon can bring to them. No one should avoid going to church for lack of a donation for the collection plate. Somewhere out there a solution exists but we all need to cooperate with one another for that to happen.

  1. Patti Anne Lisenbee's Avatar Patti Anne Lisenbee

    Young people are struggling to survive in an expensive world by working more than one job. Money is tight - it's far easier to contribute their time and efforts rather than money. So instead of paying a company to repaint the church, make it a volunteer day for members to come do the painting and lo, money is saved all around.

    But then, it doesn't reach the pastor's pocketbook! Pastors are a greedy bunch overall, IMHO. They want and desire to have, they have to be rich in this biz. One of the pastors here in Anchorage had a diamond on every finger, silk suits by the best designer and his wife had furs and diamonds as well. When I saw him that day, it was in an ice cream store as he was buying his newest member. (This church frequently paid out to have new members. Carnivals in the parking lot, free pony rides for kids, etc, a new car for the member who brought the most guests!) More money in the collection plate means more for the pastor.

    What I foresee is church buildings closing and being reopened as homeless shelters. That would be a great use for a building that assembles people for one particular reason - to indoctrinate them into the religion and politics of a man who wants to be a ruler. Why not cleanse the building of the bad karma in it and use it for something REALLY necessary!

  1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

    A tithe of guilt is utterly useless to God.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Donations are what they are and what people can afford No church minister or official can demand more money.Sounds like these pastors want more money for what line their own pockets.Thats how it seems to me.

  1. Thomas Christopher Medina's Avatar Thomas Christopher Medina

    There are probably many reasons that church attendance and monetary contributions are declining. First and foremost is the fact that an institutional body that is made up of human beings is not immune to the temptations of society, which can be influential on the society itself. When people see the same types of corruption, scandal, hypocrisy and misappropriation of fund that they see occuring in every other area of society, it cast' doubt, and who wants to contribute or be a part of that. Just like everything else in life, if we retrace our steps backwards, we usually find that we have created our own demise.

  1. Father Flanagan's Avatar Father Flanagan

    Well, when a partitioner asks the church for help with a financial problem they get told to pray on it but when the church needs help and even when they don’t they pass the plate around! Jesus told everyone not to look for him in these houses of gold but to look for him under the rocks and trees for that is where you’ll find him so basically you shouldn’t be going anywhere they ask you for money to worship or where the minister/priest/etc… speak from a pulpit exalting himself above the congregation for Jesus never spoke from a position of authority and never exalted himself above the common man instead he walked and spoke among them and broke bread with them as equals! The Vatican is one of the richest organizations in the world and yet helps no one but themselves and takes no responsibility for they’re priests actions rather they cover and protect them for their heinous crimes so it’s no wonder people don’t give to these fraudulent churches!

  1. Gretchen E. Paupore's Avatar Gretchen E. Paupore

    Is the reduction in donations perhaps partly a result of Trump's Tax Cuts and Job Act in 2018? With the change in tax laws, itemizing charitable donations resulted in a less favorable deduction than taking the standard deduction, so there was certainly less incentive to donate to any charity. According to one source (, in 2017, 47.1 million tax payers itemized, but that dropped to 15.3 million in 2018, 31.8 million taxpayers - wow!

  1. Kevin Michael Zurrin's Avatar Kevin Michael Zurrin

    It's like the old man who only put a dime in the basket every time he went to church. The pastor finally worked the nerve up to confront the old man and asked him, why when a dime is so worthless these days do you only give a dime. The old man replied, "In my day son, we were taught to pay people what things were worth".

  1. Steven Ferrell's Avatar Steven Ferrell

    I have gone to a few different churches over the last 4 years and none of them took an offering. The one I attend now and have for about a year, never takes an offering. They will once a quarter have someone talk about the finances of the church, what it costs to pay heat, lights, the pastor salary, etc. They keep all the books open for anyone that wishes to view them as to where money goes. Then let people know where they can give.
    They never take offering and other than that quarterly update, money is never mentioned.

  1. Steven Ferrell's Avatar Steven Ferrell

    I have gone to a few different churches over the last 4 years and none of them took an offering. The one I attend now and have for about a year, never takes an offering. They will once a quarter have someone talk about the finances of the church, what it costs to pay heat, lights, the pastor salary, etc. They keep all the books open for anyone that wishes to view them as to where money goes. Then let people know where they can give.
    They never take offering and other than that quarterly update, money is never mentioned.

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    All churches are businesses and the product they create and sell is the hope of eternal life. The Catholic model includes no birth control other than the rhythm mtethod and mandates that everyone attend Mass each week. The Shaker model mandates total separation of the sexes. In 2022 there were only 2 Shakers left, living in Maine. The Catholic Church realizes that to remain successful all those kids born need to be indoctrinated in “Sunday school” and Church run schools. Then attending the mandatory Mass, they will continue to finance the “Church”. If your business is failing, maybe changing your business model will help.

  1. Susan Christine Giganti's Avatar Susan Christine Giganti

    Corruption has made younger people skittish about where their money will go. They consider their time volunteering as an acceptable donation. The pressure to give to many charities has risen since Covid. I know one church that had a cash donation box in the back and they made their payroll every month. So who knows the formula for the future?

  1. Rev. Jim Sutton's Avatar Rev. Jim Sutton

    I've never been a fan of tithing. And after a family experience 60 years ago, church (regardless of denomination) just comes across as greedy and entitled. When my father lost his job, he notified 'his' church (Methodist) that our family's weekly tithing would be delayed for a while. All of a sudden, the minister and other 'officials' stopped visiting our home. Parishioners no longer acknowledged us in public --- they would literally turn around and walk away from us. Then, tithe billing due statements started coming in the mail. Because of that experience, my dad turned atheist, my mom internalized her faith, me and my siblings enjoyed not having to go to Sunday School/church anymore. We never 'belonged' or went to another church again (except when I married the first time and only because my fiancee wanted a church wedding). So, when I see a richly appointed church, I just wonder what Real good the money could've done instead of gilting the decor and fantastically robing the clerics.

  1. Guy Sutherland McLaren's Avatar Guy Sutherland McLaren

    There was a time when churches were not businesses, but did charity, There wre fewer NPOs doing good work, People now choose to support causes rather than giving to the already wealthy pastors

  1. Robert E. Polston's Avatar Robert E. Polston

    There are so many ways the Universal Church fails to hear the words of Jesus Christ. Jesus said to the question of money that we should render to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and to God what is Gods. If the church leadership is wanting more money then I wonder what kind of leadership that might be in the face of purpose and value. The written argument says that young people are far more likely to volunteer their time to help others than to give money. Who are really the leaders?

  1. Bishop William Dusenberry, DD's Avatar Bishop William Dusenberry, DD

    When I became a ULC Bishop, 1970 or thereabouts, I was ordaining so many new ministers, that hardly know what to do. The newly ordained, who were friends of mine, I call every spring (about tax time) and inquire as to when I could expect my fair share of all the donations they had collected - and, year, after year, until this very day, none of the ministers I had personally ordained, ever forwarded me my fair share. Hopefully one of my fellow ULC clergypersons (who’s not jealous of me, because I’m a ULC bishop, and they’re not) will advise me accordingly, in this regard.

    1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

      William, I'm not sure why you feel the need to brag on your ordination since it means no more than does the ordination of any of the rest of us, but if you are so proud of it then why do you not use that in your posting?

      1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

        Pride my dear, pride. Man's ego is his greatest obstacle.

    2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      You are NOT a ULC Bishop. And you never were. But you keep on being delusional as I checked your "link" the last time you were challenged on this and instead of showing documentation of your claim, all you showed were photoshopped made up records. Oh and one more thing thats is so darn easy to prove that you are not telling the truth, look at this link directly from the monastery in which they clearly show they DO NOT offer anything higher then a minister. So either you are lying or the site is lying. And do you really want to claim the site you come to on a regular basis to voice your opinions is going to tolerate you implying they are lying?

      Here is the link proving you are not telling the truth

    3. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

      Money grubber

    4. Susan Christine Giganti's Avatar Susan Christine Giganti

      With all due respect : Fair share for doing what exactly ? Ordinations do not require a lifelong financial obligation to the person who performed the ceremony. I don’t see that obligation in any religion.

    5. Reverendo Jeferson V Barbosa's Avatar Reverendo Jeferson V Barbosa

      Dear William, They do not give anything back to you simply because tithing is historically Jewish and not Christian. When in the Acts of the Apostles people sold everything and placed it under the feet of the apostles, they were not paying tithes, nor were they paying salaries to the apostles. People sold everything, so that everything was distributed equally to all those who were missing In fact, I identify Jesus’ message with Marxist ideals. Now, regarding your ordination, where I see you discussing, the ULC's only position is that of ordained minister, whose title and form of address is not defined. Even on the ULC website there are titles of deacon, priest, bishop, archbishop and pope. And before you say that I'm jealous of your ordination, you can rest assured that I'm not. I was ordained in the three degrees of ministry (deacon, presbyter and bishop) in a Continuing Anglican Church in my country, where I have certificates and photos of ordination, and I have the "apostolic succession" that they believe in. When I joined ULC, I left all these titles aside, and started a simple job, the way I always dreamed. So, my dear in Christ, you can be sure that no one is jealous of your episcopal title, as I have observed that the ULC is guided by the form of government (presbyteral, pastoral).

  1. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

    10% and no more unless they want to give more. That means no

    more and time and talent.

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    We do not seem to have the age gap problem with tithing at our church. Perhaps it is because every member knows exactly what the money is for. The majority of the offerings go to pay for the upkeep of the building, utilities, Pastors salary, and supplies. Ten percent is mentioned in the Bible. Most of us keep with that. All other workers are volunteers.

  1. Marilyn's Avatar Marilyn

    I do my own mission work in my city. I don't owe any church a dime. A donation is a free will offering that is not necessary. If they want to grow the community, they need to stop demanding money. The whole notion of tithing is been made up and has nothing to do with good will and serving your fellow man.

  1. Rev. Shawn Jose.'s Avatar Rev. Shawn Jose.

    When I was a child, for the summer I went to Church Camp and I had so much fun, I also learned skills that would be in the range of boy scouts, but centered around the churches faith. I shot arrows built shelter tracked animals by track, edible plants and more, more like Native Americans. If they knew without a doubt, the money is going to return to them in Joyful Memories, Dinner Halls for festivals

  1. Jerry M Choat's Avatar Jerry M Choat

    Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under [compulsion] for God loves a cheerful giver.{2 Corinthians 9:7

    A cheerful giver touches our heart. They also warm God’s heart. No doubt most of us would be happy to receive a gift from a giver who is motivated by love rather than by a sense of duty or obligation.

  1. James Manley's Avatar James Manley

    The reason is that the anti-christ is alive and strong and a lack of good teaching is allowing him to thrive.

  1. David Lee Zutz's Avatar David Lee Zutz

    Most Younger Members don't have jobs. They are able to donate their time, because they really have nowhere else to be during the day. But let's not forget, Time is an expensive commodity. So We should Be thankfull for the time given out of charity. Maybe We should be encouraging more Young Members to be more Productive Members of Our Communities, and then the Monetary aspects will work Themselves Out.


    To start, priests have responded to a call to serve the people of God in a unique pastoral and sacramental manner. Their primary goal is thus service to the Christian community. As canon law prescribes, every Christian has a right to pastoral care, and that starts within a parish community. Priests, following Jesus’ example, are to accompany the people in their joys and struggles, and this takes time.

    However, as you know it has been a wrenching season for three of America’s largest religious denominations, as sex-abuse scandals and a schism over LGBT inclusion fuel anguish and anger within the Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist and United Methodist churches. There’s rising concern that the crises will boost the ranks of young people disillusioned by organized religion. One of the many reasons we need to do more and turn the hands of time. When people lose faith in Priest they lose faith in church, and lose faith in God, so Funds become little to nothing.

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