In this post-Christmas season of the year as our holiday shopping bills are reaching our mailboxes, I want to raise a rather controversial topic in the immigrant churches. Many pastors in the Indian American churches have told me that second generation gives far less money to the church. Why is that? ‘We taught them in sunday schools, nurtured them through adolescents and even got them married, yet they are less frequently attend the church, less involved with the church and gives less money to the church. What more do we have to do win their trust?’
I have raised some of the second generation’s view on their affliation to the immigrant churches, including money in the Coconut Book. But often the second generation see the Indian churches as their “parent’s church”. It is yet to become their own church. Church allegience cannot be taken for granted, but reclaimed for every generation. Also you will hear rhetoric like “we don’t give to institutions, but to causes” or “We are motivated when they see where their money goes and how they are used.” They want to be involved in deciding where their money goes.
The American born generation also carry burdens of debt, parental expectations and consumerism. In many cases, they are not as financially successful as their highly motivated immigrant parents. With less income, payment to college debts and higher lifestyle choices, they are left with very little for church. Moreover Indian churches stand guilty of not having taught biblical stewardship and healthy view of money to the next generation.
It is high time, church leader take a close look at the next generations financial commitments and be engaged in winning their hearts before their wallets.