This is about a Christian perspective on financial management and stewardship. Too many people let their financial life drift by, unattended and unmanaged. The result is stress, debt, and ineffective service to the Lord. As Christians, we are told to lay up treasures in heaven, and to serve God, not Money. But living in America makes these very clear teachings seemingly unattainable. They are not.
God saves us through Jesus Christ so we can do good works for Him. We are commanded to take up our cross and follow Him. We are to be like Jesus. As long as we are poor stewards of our finances, we will serve our money, not the Lord. As long as we gratify our own desires, we will have no room in our life to really serve God.
This study is designed to illuminate scripture for you and help you become an effective servant. We hope to help you break bad habits and build good ones. We hope to help you make better choices. We hope that you will be able to find and live the incredible life God had in mind for you since the foundations of the earth.
Our perspective has four main attitudes for living. By incorporating these attitudes and following the principles they include, you will have financial freedom, you will be able to be an effective servant for God, and you will be able to demonstrate your stewardship and witness to your family and community.
1. Honor God with your Life.
2. Spend Less than you Earn.
3. Avoid Debt.
4. Prepare for the Future.
We'll begin this journey by examining scripture as it relates to our attitudes. Our attitudes towards God, our salvation, our purpose in life, and our attitudes about stewardship, money, selfishness, and responsibility will be the focus of Chapter One. You will be encouraged to choose the Lord, and to demonstrate this choice with immediate action. We expect you to begin regular giving to your local church.
If you survive the exploration of your attitudes, we will start your financial management training by helping you find out where you are, financially. It is true that you cannot make changes unless you first know where you are, so we will introduce some simple tools and concepts that will help you take periodic snapshots of your financial position. You will be able to accurately list your total debt and various bills, know how much money you really have in the bank, and know how much you are worth in financial terms. Find these simple tools in Chapter Two.
Since we find that aimless wandering is usually a result of not knowing where you are going, we will help you begin regular planning. Plans come from having goals, and we believe these should be SMART goals. Chapter Three covers Goals, and Planning. Your plans will include developing a Spending Plan, and at the conclusion of this course, an Action Plan.
Are you in debt? Are your debts overwhelming you? Are you in financial trouble? We find that even people with large incomes can have financial trouble and debt. Financial trouble is rarely a result of having too little income, but more likely a result of not having control of your spending. Unless you fix the spending problem, you will always have financial troubles. Chapter Four offers you a 4-step proven strategy for eliminating your debt. That's right, not lowering your debt, but eliminating it. Being debt-free is being life-free to do what God wants you to do. Until you are debt-free, you are in chains of slavery to the world.
While learning new habits, developing new skills and disciplines, and eliminating your debt, you are putting yourself into a better position for the future. You will be able to go where God sends you, do what He wants you to do, and take care of the needs of others. To be most effective, you should make preparations for the future. Chapter Five outlines matters of insurance, savings, retirement, and estates. Each of these areas merits a book of its own, but you need to know what is important in each of these areas. Part of your Action Plan coming out of this chapter will be to build a contingency fund for just-in-case scenarios - illness or accident, unemployment, natural disaster. This does not remove your reliance on God, but removes your focus on your circumstances and allows you to look to God. You will spend the rest of your life in the future, so you should take steps today to get ready for tomorrow.
Chapter Six is the Action Plan chapter. It takes all that has come before and outlines how you put day-to-day activities in place to accomplish God's purpose in your life. It puts Goals and Planning into perspective of daily activities. Action Plans for getting out of debt, saving for college or vacation, preparing for ministry or retirement are essential for the effective servant. Special Action Plan Worksheets help you organize your thinking for Daily Action.
Finally, the tools and forms found throughout the coursework are collected and available in the Appendix. Additional resources not covered are also found here.
It is vital that Christians not get caught up in the world and the race for wealth. Some Christian organizations make wealth and prosperity seem like the natural reward for loving God. Jesus makes it clear that His followers will experience ridicule and persecution. God needs willing and committed followers. He needs you to be an effective worker for His Kingdom. Being shackled by worldly desires, material goods, and debt keep you from following God, but make you slaves to the world. You need to be free.
God Bless You as you embark on this course towards financial freedom and mastery. Become a great steward so the Lord will greet you in heaven, "Well done, good and faithful servant..."
(Or, contact John & Sandi Larson via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 2001, 2002, Visions Business Development, Beaverton, Oregon - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED