Churches that teach biblical principles about money help more than just their members’ pocketbooks.
“It’s a good tool to bring people closer to God,” said Jessica Garner, a volunteer instructor for Crown Financial Ministries and financial training coordinator at her church, Arran Lake Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
Garner said the 10-week course that she has taught four times at her church changes lives, because “it lets people realize God does want them to be out of debt.”
The course teaches people to rely on God, to realize, “it’s a lot easier to let God have it all and roll with it,” she said.
Changes among those taking the course are “pretty dramatic,” Garner said. Some people started tithing.
Others decided to put their house on the market or sell their vehicles.
“It changes a person to realize that God does own everything,” Garner said.
Pedro Rosario, Eastern North Carolina area director for Crown, said Crown studies have shown that giving increases by 70 percent among those who take the course.
“The benefit to the church is the fact that (church members) are out of debt,” he said.
Rosario said the 10-week course is intense. Garner said participants must agree to meet for two hours each week.
Those who take the course often become lifelong friends, she said.
Garner encourages churches to teach financial stewardship.
Such efforts can be a springboard to help communities by teaching financial principles to church neighbors and by getting church members into a financial position where they can help meet community needs.
Garner became a financial instructor after her church taught a course on finding a ministry in which to be involved.
Later when the church was raising money for Vacation Bible School she didn’t have money to donate.
She talked to church staff, found out about Crown, and learned Crown had a partnership with the Southern Baptist
Convention. Garner became a certified trainer and more than 40 registered for her first class offering.
“It was a much larger turnout than we expected,” Garner said.
Since groups need to stay small for greatest effectiveness, most people were put on a waiting list. After four
classes, there’s still some on the list, Garner said.
“It’s more than I can keep up with, to tell the truth,” she said.
Financial health package
Across three issues of the Biblical Recorder and numerous postings online, the BR staff compiled stories dealing with financial health, budgeting, teaching children about money, stewardship issues, etc. For a complete list, click here.