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Bobby Eklund to consult for LifeWay stewardship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Bobby Eklund, director of the church stewardship department for the Baptist General Convention of Texas since 1991, will become senior church stewardship consultant for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention on Feb. 1.

Eklund, who is retiring from the BGCT position in February, will be based in Bedford, Texas, and will lead training sessions and serve as a consultant in the area of Successful Christian Financial Management, a LifeWay resource he coauthored with Terry Austin, a consultant in the Texas convention’s stewardship department.

Gary Aylor, director of LifeWay’s Church Stewardship Services, said sessions to teach the resource to entire congregations have been in demand because it is “first of all, a biblical guide to family money management.

“Its main purpose is not to get people to give more money to the church but to help them find God’s plan for their lives by being the kind of stewards he wants them to be,” Aylor said.

Aylor said Eklund “has a passion for helping Christian families understand what the Bible has to say about personal financial management. Because of that passion, he has agreed to join LifeWay in extending the reach of Successful Christian Financial Management throughout the convention. He knows firsthand what practical, hands-on help can do for an individual, a family and a church. He has conducted literally hundreds of seminars and is uniquely positioned to help churches share personal financial management tools with their church families.”

Course content includes how to get out of debt and stay out of debt, how to develop and live within a budget and how to retire comfortably. A plan is provided for savings, living expenses, debt elimination and future planning needs after the tithe, taxes and Social Security have been subtracted from one’s income. Content for the study developed through needs Eklund discovered in counseling sessions as a pastor.

“Ninety percent of those who came for counseling had marital problems, and almost all of those had financial problems,” he observed. “In the 48 years of my ministry, I’ve never seen lives changed as quickly and as dramatically as I have through this seminar.

“Money plays a huge part in who we are,” Eklund continued. “Many use money improperly because it has become a false god. There are tithers who are not good stewards. The tithe is symbolic of something else. God owns it all. If we give it properly, it is a symbol of our recognition of God’s ownership, meaning we are going to turn the rest over to him and let him show us how to use it. Good stewards give out of love and recognize God’s ownership. Giving is not a matter of whether or not you can afford to tithe. It is a matter of faith and obedience.”

Eklund said he teaches that the Bible says people are better off debt-free, but added, “The Bible does not teach that debt is a sin.

“God allows us to make money to provide for the family and to extend the kingdom of God. He wants the best for the family. God created money to be a blessing,” he said. “When we have God’s priorities, money will be one of the biggest blessings we have in life. If we don’t, it will be a millstone around our necks.”

Eklund said he has seen “couple after couple swimming in debt and, after a reasonable time applying these concepts, they are living in financial freedom. I’ve seen people on the brink of bankruptcy be in total financial freedom in three and one-half to four years.”

The seminar’s practical content puts people on the right track to that freedom, he said, but the biblical perspective of the teaching “makes the practical application easy to carry out when people understand what God expects and why he expects it.”

Eklund said, “God does need our money, because if we don’t give in Southern Baptist churches next Sunday, missions will dry up. He made us partners with him for our benefit, not his. For God so loved the world, he gave. Unless we partner with God, we’ll never take on the character of God in our lives.”

A Texas pastor from 1952 until 1983, Eklund has been on the staff of the Baptist General Convention of Texas since 1983, serving first in evangelism before moving to stewardship.

Successful Christian Financial Management is one of a range of stewardship resources offered by LifeWay. Approximately 300 churches are currently involved in a pilot project aimed at growing stewards. The pilot involves using Successful Christian Financial Management, “How Much Is Enough?” and “Jesus On Money” discipleship resources sequentially during a 12- to 15-month period.

Information about Successful Christian Financial Management seminars or other stewardship resources may be obtained by contacting Church Stewardship Services of LifeWay Christian Resources at (615) 251-2808 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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