Academy of Preachers

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Millennials, It’s Our Turn

Nick Bettis, AoP ’15

Millennials have received a lot of attention over the past few years, and not all of it has been kind. Like any young generation of the time, Millennials have been criticized for being lazy, entitled, and selfish. There is even a rumor going around that Millennials don’t give to charitable organizations.

The research disagrees.

While Millennials may not give the most money per year on average to traditional charitable causes ($481 vs. $732 from Gen X), more Millenials give than any other generation (84% vs. 59% of Gen X) even at a time when unemployment and ridiculous student debt present financial challenges across the board for my generation. Millennials also give differently. We make up 33% of giving to crowdfunding sites and are far more likely than older generations to give that way. A Washington Post article highlights research that shows Millennials are generous with their time, not just their wallets.

The report found that 70 percent of millennials spent at least an hour volunteering their time to a cause they cared about, with more than one-third volunteering 11 hours or more. Forty-five percent participated in a company-wide volunteer day. Thirty-two percent used paid time off to volunteer and 16 percent took unpaid time off to volunteer.
Seventy-seven percent of millennials said they’re more likely to volunteer when they can use their specific skills or expertise to benefit a cause.

You get the point. Millennials are generous, just like the generations that came before. Then why does my generation have such a bad reputation for being uncharitable? It may be partially due to the fact that Millennials are more careful givers, and that can appear stingy. Millennials prefer to research charitable causes before donating and are more likely to give individually to causes that connect personally rather than simply joining a workplace or community drive.

Short version: Millennials are more likely to give to (and volunteer for) charitable organizations that they trust to make a real difference in a way that matters personally to them.

If you are a Millennial AoP alum, you may be asking what this has to do with you. Here is the answer: If you have attended an AoP Festival, you can thank a donor. Most AoP donors are Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. Their generous donations, along with grants and endowments, are what make the Academy of Preachers possible. Their donations have funded scholarships, which allowed me to attend my first National Festival in 2015 and changed the course of my ministry. Our senior generations have given so that AoP could Identity, Network, Support, and Inspire young preachers in our generation to explore a call to gospel preaching.

Now it’s our turn.

This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Academy of Preachers. Over the last ten years, a new generation (Gen Z) has come of age and the world needs to hear their voices. As Millennials are now mostly in graduate school or fully in the workplace, it is our turn to step up and do our part to Identity, Network, Support, and Inspire young preachers in their generation to explore a call to gospel preaching.

Here’s how…

You can become a member of the Academy of Preachers. When you join the AoP, you commit to either a monthly or yearly donation (amounts vary depending on membership type). By becoming a member, not only do you receive membership benefits, you become a part of our mission. To learn about our four membership categories, click here.

You can give a one-time donation.

You can volunteer at an event. If you live nearby an AoP event please give your time, your skills, and your smile. Check out our events here and email for volunteering information.

The Academy of Preachers exists because Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers believed a new generation of socially conscious Young Preachers was worth their time and money. They believed in something they had not yet seen. They believed (and still believe) in us.

We have seen and experienced the good AoP can do. We have seen and experienced what is possible when people give their time, money, and passion for a new generation.

It’s our turn.


Sources: The Street | Entrepreneur | Washington Post | The Guardian

*The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author(s) or speaker(s) and do not represent the beliefs or positions of the Academy of Preachers. The distribution of content by Academy of Preachers is an effort to fulfill our mission to Identify, Network, Support, and Inspire young people in their call to gospel preaching. Our network and participants are widely diverse in geography, ethnicity, culture, gender, theology, tradition, and practice. We give space for those in our network to contribute their unique voices to a global conversation on gospel preaching and Christian ministry. 

About the author…

Nick Bettis, AoP ’15, is a certified Elder candidate in the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is the Communications Assistant here at the Academy of Preachers. After earning a degree in Pastoral Ministry and 5 years in youth ministry in Missouri, Nick and his wife Shelby now live in Wilmore, KY, where he is a student in the MDiv program at Asbury Theological Seminary.