It was 1995 and we were living the “good life” in Oahu. Sunny tropical weather, blue skies, gentle trade winds, azure colored water, and some of the best beaches on the planet…and an awesome church where all of us were worshipping and serving.
But there was trouble in paradise.
"How did we get here?"
Credit card debts of $18,000 had mounted over a few years and were crushing our cash flow, just covering the minimum monthly payments. We asked ourselves, “How did we get here?” The answer was, slowly at times due to the high and rising cost of living in the Hawaiian Island. And quickly due to big life events occurring like buying a used car for our 16-year old daughter and purchasing plane tickets home for the family when Patty’s father had passed away a few years earlier.
Like most Americans, we felt trapped and enslaved. We wanted financial freedom and through God’s help, we made significant lifestyle changes to pay off $1,000 of debt each month. It meant great sacrifice. After 18 months, we were “free” and vowed not to repeat this again. Through God’s amazing grace and some sharp prods and reminders from the Holy Spirit, we remain out of debt.
All of this to say we have been there and experienced the unspeakable pressure of this financial bondage. Proverbs 22:7 is so true, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” So when I had the opportunity to champion a financial coaching ministry at Mars Hill Church, and to partner in building a similar ministry at Sojourn Community Church, I jumped at it.
This financial slavery ensnares millions of our members. It robs them of opportunities to invest in the Kingdom through reduced gifts and tithes; to save for the future “rainy day” events like a college education or retirement, and stresses marriage relationships to the breaking point.
These ministries at both churches impacted hundreds of families and we praise God for the great resources available. We cobbled together the best and most relevant biblically-based principles and materials into two 90-minute long sessions. Below are the links to the curriculum and to the Excel budget template.
Lastly, this stuff comes so easily to guys like me with an MBA and decades working in this arena. Most likely you will need to customize this material for your church’s context and most importantly, please find a pastoral staff/volunteer leader passionate about all things financial to use the Excel template. I am happy to coach and advise any of your team so please have them connect with me.
For God’s glory and our good!