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Wake-up call to stewardship comes from startling stats

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–When Denny Wright talks about stewardship, he isn’t interested in nagging persons about giving more money to their church. He wants to help persons manage all of their resources from a biblical perspective.

Wright, stewardship consultant on the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s leadership and worship team, is one of 39 Baptist state convention stewardship leaders from 30 states certified to teach the Successful Christian Financial Management seminar.

Course material, published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, deals with how to get out of debt and stay out of debt, how to develop and live within a budget and how to retire comfortably. The resource includes a plan for savings, living expenses and debt and future planning needs after the tithe, taxes and Social Security have been subtracted from one’s income.

Among the startling facts he provides as a wake-up call are:

— The Bible addresses the topics of money and possessions more than 2,300 times.

— Almost two-thirds of Jesus’ parables deal with money and possessions.

— Approximately half of all marriages fail, with almost 90 percent of divorcees interviewed citing financial problems as the chief cause of marital problems.

— A $5,000 credit card debt at 18 percent interest, with only minimum monthly payments made, will leave a balance of $300 after 45 years.

— Many Americans live on 105-115 percent of their income by using credit in addition to spending all they earn.

— More than 2 billion credit card applications, or approximately 17 for each adult, are mailed to individuals each year.

— College graduates begin their careers with credit card debt in addition to student loan debt.

— Two-thirds of the approximately 1.4 million bankruptcies each year are the result of misusing credit cards.

Wright tells persons who take the Successful Christian Financial Management seminar that money is the god of many Americans.

“Consumerism is the belief that buying new things will make people happy. Materialism is the belief that having things makes people happy,” he said. “Therefore, having and getting more money is viewed as the key to happiness.”

He said Christians should not be timid about addressing the issue of money and possessions in our churches.

“I think God knew how tempted we would be to allow money and possessions to become our idol,” Wright said, “so he had a lot to say to us about it.”

Information about SCFM seminars may be obtained by contacting Stewardship Services at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention at (615) 251-2808. A catalog of all church stewardship resources available from LifeWay may be obtained by writing to Church Stewardship Services, 127 Ninth Ave., N., Nashville, TN 37234-0182 or by e-mail request to [email protected]. An Internet site, www.lifeway.com/stewardship, offers

(BP) photo to be posted in the BP Photo Library at www.sbcbaptistpress.org. Photo title: ADDRESSING THE ISSUE OF MONEY.

    About the Author

  • Charles Willis