3 Finance Classes for Churches

September 15th, 2011
Image © Ken Wilcox | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons License.

$10,502,605 and counting. That’s how much money participants in the The Great Recovery have paid off in debt or added to savings since the kickoff on July 21. Dave Ramsey and his team started The Great Recovery as a way to refocus individuals on how they can take charge of their personal financial lives to bring about an economic recovery for the entire nation.

The pledge on the site asks participants to agree to the following:

“This great nation can recover. I believe it will happen from the bottom up, one family at a time. I commit to make sure my family is equipped to do our part by educating ourselves on God's way of handling money, living responsibly, saving for the future and giving to others.”

One practical step to take towards bringing about economic recovery is to either take or teach a financial class in order to educate yourself and others on sound financial management.  There are several good programs available that are biblically based. I’ll give an overview of three reputable ones that are worth considering- 1. Good $ense, 2. Crown Money Map Seminar, and 3. Financial Peace University.

Good $ense was developed by the Willow Creek Association and has several courses that cover budgeting, debt, and retirement. Courses can be taken in a small group format or by individuals and are available in English and Spanish.  The courses are relatively inexpensive, with a total cost for an individual being about $48 (DVD and workbook) and less for a group as the cost of the DVD ($19.99) can be shared. One downside to the program is that not many other resources are available to participants.

The Crown Money Map Seminar is offered by Crown Financial Ministries. It’s a one day seminar that also has free money-coaching sessions available on budgeting and basic money management.  Courses are taken in a small group format, can be organized by a church or other organization, and are also available in English as well as a selection of other languages. The cost is relatively inexpensive at $25 a participant. There are lots of resources available on the website but two downsides to the program are that there is no advice offered on insurance or investing and figuring out how to get started is somewhat challenging.

The third program I’ll cover is Financial Peace University offered by Dave Ramsey (full disclosure- I’ve taken this course and not the others). This 13-week course, with each weekly session taking 1 to 1.5 hours each, is the most comprehensive class available of the three but requires a significant time investment. The course can be taken with a small group or at home and is also available in English and Spanish.  It is the most expensive of the three (around $99) but there are occasional pricing specials and many free resources available in addition to other fee-based services and resources. Additionally, once you pay for the course you have a lifetime membership and can retake the class at any time.

Any of these courses will provide you with solid teaching on personal financial management.

Lindsey Foster Stringer is an education analytics expert by profession and a financial coach by ministry.

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