A “perfect storm” of financial helps for people drowning in debt has been unleashed in recent days by the Louisiana Baptist Convention, Southern Baptist Convention and B&H Publishers.
ALEXANDRIA— A “perfect storm” of financial helps for people drowning in
debt has been unleashed in recent days by the Louisiana Baptist
Convention, Southern Baptist Convention and B&H Publishers.
• Louisiana Baptist Convention begins promotion this month of Financial
Peace University’s small group studies on personal finance. Financial
Peace University was founded in 1988 by Dave Ramsey, a Christian and
personal finance adviser with a national following.
• This follows the Southern Baptist Convention’s recent announcement of
a “National Stewardship Initiative” for regional conferences in
partnership with Crown Financial Ministries – CFM is an outgrowth of a
merger in 2000 with Larry Burkett’s Christian Financial Concepts and
Howard Dayton’s Crown Ministries.
• And in late August, B&H Publishers released Making Change: A
transformational guide to Christian money management, written by EKG
strategist Ken Hemphill at the request of Morris Chapman, president of
the SBC Executive Committee.
LBC and the SBC are concerned with stewardship on both the personal and the church levels, leaders say.
“It has been estimated that had only the active membership of our
churches tithed last year, total church income would have more than
doubled,” David E. Hankins, LBC Executive Director, wrote in a recent
editorial. “More than $10 billion of tithes were left in the pockets of
Baptist church members while God’s ministries across the world went
“There are many reasons for this failing,” Hankins said. Personal debt is one of them.
Debt is a fairly recent phenomenon, writes Ian Young, a debt counselor
with www.nodebtever.com. Before the 1930’s most people could’t borrow,
even to fiannce property, and either rented homes or built them from
scratch. Nowadays, personal debt excluding mortgages is about $19k per
household on average, triple the statistic of 1990. Nowadays more than
40 percent of U.S. families routinely spend more each year than they
earn. The difference? Financed by debt.
“The National Stewardship Initiative ‘It’s A New Day’ presented by the
[SBC] Executive Committee, is a big step toward bringing financial
freedom, help, and resources to individuals, families, and churches,”
wrote SBC Executive Committee President Morris Chapman on the SBC’s
website about its partnership with Crown Financial Ministries.
“This initiative is about the lordship of Christ in our lives and
making Him Lord of everything. After all, God owns it all, and we are
stewards of everything He has entrusted to us.”
Michael Stewart, LBC’s stewardship and Cooperative Program strategist, said he agrees.
“While biblical stewardship, or total stewardship, should always be our
primary aim, these partnerships will allow us to offer the hope of
practical, sound financial stewardship to every member of our 1,622
churches,” Stewart said. “I am excited that Louisiana Baptists now have
two resources which are proven, effective, and biblically-based. As
Christians get out of debt and lower their debt, they will be more able
to give in offerings as the Lord directs them.”
Financial Peace University plans to offer group studies across the
state as churches request it. Having at least ten participants will
qualify the church for discounts and incentives.
The curriculum, which offers advice on a variety of personal finance
issues, consists of a 13-week video course that, according to the
website www.daveramsey.com, “empowers and teaches you how to make the
right money decisions to achieve your financial goals and experience a
total money makeover.”
For more information about this ministry, Louisiana Southern Baptists
can contact Michael Stewart by calling 318-449-4253 or e-mailing
email@example.com. [See related article on this page about Faith
Tioga’s experience with Financial Peace University.]
“Imagine what churches could do for the kingdom if their members were
not burdened with debt,” Ashley Clayton, Associate Vice President for
Stewardship at the SBC wrote on the SBC website (www.sbc.net).
“Imagine what could be accomplished if church members were free to
fulfill God’s call of ministry.”
To help in these endeavors, the SBC, with Crown Financial Ministries,
plans to offer “high-impact pastor’s conferences” at several sites
across the United States beginning in 2007, the website said. “The
purpose of these events is (1) to minister to the personal financial
needs of pastors and (2) to show pastors how their church can implement
a comprehensive financial program that will ultimately help the church
become financially free.”
SBC Events are planned for Dallas, Texas on March 1-2; Orlando,
Fla., March 22-23; Atlanta, Ga., April 12-13; and San Diego,
Calif., April 26-27. Pricing and registration information on these
events is to be available on the SBC website soon.
Hemphill’s book Making Change
will have a liberating impact on families and churches as they apply
the principles of God’s Word to their finances, Hemphill said to
Baptist Press in an Aug. 24 article by Erin Roach.
“Some studies incidate that less than 25 percent of the persons who
attend church give anything to the church for Kingdom advance,”
Hemphill said, as reported in that article. “Those who do, give only
2.5 percent of their income through the church. Can you imagine what
would happen if half of our people begin to tithe? The average church
budget would be multiplied by a factor of eight.”
Making Change differs from
other personal money management books because it offers an
understanding of cooperative missions on the state, national and
international level through Cooperative Program initiatives, Clayton
“Making Change has the
potential to lead you to a rewarding new life unburdened by our
culture’s obsession with credit cards and oversized mortgages,” Chapman
wrote in the book’s forward. “… [W]e are living in a generation that
owes its soul to company stores and financial institutions.”
Conservative estimates say that 15 percent of Jesus’ teachings focused
on finances, Chapman said. The financial wisdom found in the Bible is
greater than what is found in Forbes, Fortune, Money magazine and The Wall Street Journal, he added.
“If we understand that all the resources on earth were placed here by
the King, to be used according to His principles and His purposes,
everything about life is altered,” Hemphill said.
Making Change is organized as a six-week study; a workbook is expected soon.