The Barna Group has done their usual great work on research on Christian issues. This one is on generosity.
While there is broad agreement about the spirit of generosity, people differ when it comes to envisioning an act of generosity. “Service” (32%) and “emotional / relational support” (30%) are the two most popular responses among American Christians when asked what actions they associate with the concept of “giving to others.”
According to Barna, about one in five says giving money (22%), while fewer say “hospitality” (12%) or “gifts” (5%). Surprisingly, donating money is third on the list, and only one-fifth of adults selects it as their top expression of “giving to others.” The findings on this question reveal some interesting gaps by generation: Millennials, for example, are on par with the norm when it comes to service, emotional or relational support and gifts.
But the percentages for money (13% vs. 22% all Christians) and hospitality (21% vs. 12%) are essentially flipped: Millennials prioritize hospitality far more than money as an expression of generosity. At a different extreme are Elders, who are much more likely than the average to strongly associate service with generosity (52% vs. 32% all) and not at all likely to choose hospitality (less than 1 percent of Elder respondents chose this option).