For a lot of seminary students, financial considerations are something that is always on the mind. Getting an advanced degree is not particularly cheap, and especially as a lot of us enter our studies married and possibly with children, this becomes an even greater undertaking.
I am blessed to be married to an accountant. My wife and I complement each other well because she is good with budgeting and working with numbers, while I am not. Left to my own devices, I’d probably find myself in quite a financial mess once I was done seminary. In high school, my wife was introduced to Dave Ramsey, a well-known radio personality and author who is also the founder of Financial Peace University. She decided that we should enroll in the 13-week program, and although I have a proclivity to steer away from anything numbers-related, I agreed.
It has been simply amazing. If you have not heard of Dave Ramsey, you need to stop what you are doing right now (well, finish reading this first) and go find out who he is and what he does.
The content of the course is a simple step-by-step guide to learn how to budget and plan financially for emergencies and the future. There are a lot of churches that host FPU, and a typical night has an hour-long video presentation by Ramsey guiding you through the process followed by a group discussion led by the person who organized FPU at the church. Lessons include creating your budget, getting out of debt, how to buy insurance, and suggestions for investing and retirement. Ramsey has an infectious personality which will really fire you up to get your finances in order. And because Ramsey is a Christian, his lessons and his methods are influenced by principles of stewardship and biblical wisdom on how to deal with money.
The people who organized the FPU we’ve been attending told us that churches have ministries for everything imaginable, except for finances and handling money. There is so much potential here not only for students, but for everyone in the church. This is a simple and practical way to get involved and serve in your church. Christians in the West control such a large amount of the money in the world, yet our churches have the lowest rates of tithing anywhere, our missionaries are grossly under-funded, and we ourselves are plagued with debt and financial problems. Here is an opportunity to really grab hold of.
You can visit Dave Ramsey’s site for more information on Financial Peace University and other services that his company offers. Also, there is a search feature where you can find an FPU program in your area. The cost is around $100, but what you will benefit from it is worth so much more than that.