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Stewardship directors trained in biblical financial management

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)??In their first annual planning meeting with the new church stewardship services staff at the Baptist Sunday School Board, state stewardship directors from across the Southern Baptist Convention earned certification to lead congregations in the study of a new resource.
State leaders and others who qualified to teach “Successful Christian Financial Management” during the Sept. 22?23 seminar in Nashville, Tenn., brought to 134 the number of people trained to help Christians understand and practice God’s truth in financial decisions.
Gary Aylor, director of church stewardship services, said “the resource 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. While many assume the resources they have belong to them to use as they wish, the Bible teaches us that God owns everything, and he entrusts resources to us to use according to his plan.”
An early September mass mailing promoting the resource brought immediate inquiries from more than 140 churches and a steady flow of daily telephone calls and letters asking about the seminar, Aylor said.
“We anticipated strong demand for this resource, but the response underscores the need for local churches to provide members with practical tools for managing their money, giving in obedience and preparing for the future.”
Designed for all church members, the seminar material, written by Texas?based stewardship leaders Terry Austin and Bobby L. Eklund, teaches a biblically based philosophy of money. 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 and debt and future planning needs after the tithe, taxes and Social Security have been subtracted from one’s income.
In introducing the material, Aylor recalled a time in which banks helped people manage their money.
“This was the way we kept our country together financially,” he observed. “Today, all the restraints have been removed. I get an average of three credit card applications through the mail each week.”
Aylor said he believes 20 to 25 percent of people in the United States are in “serious debt.” Others live paycheck to paycheck, he said, and have not planned for the future, though presently they are not in debt. Another 10 percent, he ventured, “cannot possibly spend all their money during their lifetime.” Each category, he said, needs the principles of “Successful Christian Financial Management.”
Since assuming responsibility for stewardship education and capital fund?raising in June 1997, the board’s church stewardship services also has begun a quarterly publication, “Stewardship Journal,” with proven principles and tools to build a biblical stewardship foundation for churches’ needs. Articles in the first issue, released for fall 1997, included features on relational stewardship and our inability to outgive God, as well as stewardship truths for children and worshiping with tithes and offerings; a column on lifestyle stewardship; and a range of informational articles and resources, including a drama written especially for the magazine. The winter 1997?98 issue has as its theme “In the Red” and features an article on the financial crisis of the American family.
A brochure on the “Successful Christian Financial Management” seminar is available from church stewardship services by calling (615) 251?2808 or by fax request to (615) 251?2719. A catalog of all church stewardship resources available from the Sunday School Board may be obtained by writing to Church Stewardship Services, 127 Ninth Ave., N., Nashville, TN 37234?0182. Copies of “Stewardship Journal,” at $3.95 quarterly, may be ordered from the Customer Service Center, 127 Ninth Ave., N., Nashville, TN 37234?0113, by fax at (615) 251?5933 or by electronic mail at [email protected].

    About the Author

  • Charles Willis