The purpose of financial ministry is to change hearts—not merely financial balance sheets.Pastor Gunnar Johnson
We are incredibly blessed in this day and age to have so many great resources to minister to people in the area of biblical, financial stewardship. I remember back in the old days when there were limited options for generosity and stewardship materials. Today that is not the case. Before I get into specific tools, let’s take a step back and examine why we use the tools.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
The purpose of financial ministry is to change hearts—not merely financial balance sheets.
Jesus also said in Mark 8:36, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”
Once spiritual transformation takes place, then the financial application must happen to fully embrace the life calling that God has given an individual.
Some stewardship ministry tools I enjoy are Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, Compass Financial Ministries’ Navigating Your Finances God’s Way, and Financial Freedom, a course that I wrote with Jeff Letz from Hillsong Church London. Let me explain how each one has helped me personally.
Compass Financial Ministry
The first biblical financial class I ever took was Howard Dayton’s small group study back in 1999. I was an unwilling participant because I didn’t think the Bible said anything about money. However, I was curious enough to go to the class.
Howard’s biblical financial study showed me a catalog of what the Bible says on many topics related to finance. Even more importantly, I learned about the heart connection between faith and finances. Each week it was the same pattern: read the weekly commentary, look up Bible verses, answer questions related to them, then fill out my prayer request form and memorize scripture. This process sounds very simple, but Compass was utterly life-changing for my wife and me!
Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU)
The next study that had a significant impact on our family was Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (often referred to by its acronym, FPU.) Dave is so motivational and fun to listen to that you can’t help but be inspired to become the best money manager you can be. Dave’s class is geared more toward financial management and motivation than Bible study, which was exactly what I needed after taking Howard’s Bible study. Financial Peace University covered insurance, investing, budgets, and marketing tricks retailers use on consumers, how to deal with creditors, and many other topics. For years, I would lead at least one FPU class and one of Howard’s Bible study classes just to keep motivated and in the Word of God.
Financial Freedom Curriculum
We developed a simple, six-week course that gives biblical insight and understanding from the scriptures, yet also provides easy, practical financial application. The uniqueness of the Financial Freedom is that it is a lighter study geared to reach people who may not be excited to be in a financial class. We designed the class to be used by pre-existing life groups. We filmed it in a London coffee shop in a conversational style so that it feels like you’re listening in on a discussion among friends. There are both American and European versions available. We have also included financial forms like the “fat finder” and a debt snowball tool, as well as spending plan tools to help people get their money organized. Our primary target audience would be a life group that already exists or an individual doing it online or with the phone app if they can’t take the class in a group meeting. I have found it beneficial to listen to teachings on my smartphone while commuting to the office or working around the house, so I wanted that as an option for people who are in a time crunch but still want the education.
Use a Multi-Dimensional Stewardship Approach
As a leader, you have to figure out what would work best in your church setting and season. All these classes are great and life-changing. Both Howard and Dave are my friends and, quite frankly, they have been my heroes for twenty years!
I wish you all the best as you seek to help people conform more to the image of Jesus Christ through financial discipleship. God is going to use you to make a significant difference in the Kingdom!