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Debtors' helper

"Debtors' helper" Continued...

Issue: "Libyan exodus," March 26, 2011

Why, then, work through churches at all? Ramsey told me that churches "see first-hand the pain that finances can cause in people's lives." He notes that programs like Financial Peace University reach many who might never otherwise come inside church doors.

Some pastors believe the financial stewardship movement helps their congregants remember to own their money and not be owned by it. "We have to train our people how to break away from a consumeristic culture," says Randy Pope, the founding pastor of Perimeter Church. In the wake of the housing bubble, pastors are turning to financial stewardship ministries to help their congregants get out of debt, keep their homes, and hold together strained marriages. Perimeter tested the Financial Peace University program with two groups in 2009 and 2010, and the 250 participants paid down over $3 million in debt. "We watched the transformation in those people," says Pope, "the way they learned to better steward their money, the way that stresses within marriages were relieved, and we decided to take this to the whole church."

Some churches also find that financial training ministries change the culture of the church in subtle but important ways. Clay Knick, pastor of a small Methodist church in Winchester, Va., says that money for too long has been "the last taboo subject." When Crown or Dave Ramsey bring financial issues out into the open, people see they are not alone in their struggles.

Timothy Dalrymple
Timothy Dalrymple

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