Now that we are three weeks into our stewardship series, Financial U, I wanted to give a brief update on how it's going. We have approached this as a three-legged stool, one being the weekly sermon series by our Senior Pastor, David Smith, the second being the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University series, and the third being the series of topical seminars we have offered. It has been overwhelmingly well-received. In fact, I don't think we could be happier with it at this point.
We have about 50 families attending the Dave Ramsey 13-week FPU series, which started on February 15. Each family must pay $93 to be a member of Ramsey's FPU. The membership gives them all their materials and access to lots of online resources. It's a quality resource. We knew we would have fewer participants in that offering since the cost is a factor.
We are offering 13 topical seminars on a wide variety of topics, each being taught by industry professionals from within the church family. We wanted to use people from within our church as we felt this would increase the trust factor, as well as allow us to be sure of the integrity and motives of the presenters. We have had over 600 people sign up for those seminars, which was thrilling for us and for the presenters. Of all the seminars, the most popular has been the one on "How to Make and Keep a Budget." I guess that tells you where many people are--they're in need of help with the basics. Why shouldn't the church step in and help with practical issues like that? Here's a file with all the seminars and descriptions you can download: Download Financial U Seminars.
Finally, David has been preaching a sermon series that has been awesome. It isn't heavy-handed, manipulative, or any of the things that people usually get nervous about when they think of stewardship series. One of the themes he has repeated several times throughout is, "God doesn't want something from you, he wants something for you." And that nuance has colored his teaching throughout his messages. He's done a great job. Give a listen to one of his messages--or give the link to your pastor and have him contact David through his blog. I know he'd be glad to share his message notes.
People are worried, they have questions, and some of their foundations are being shaken. The church has to step into this turmoil and help people where they live. They need help with their money, their future, and their faith. Jesus spoke so much about money, which should tell us that it's an important topic for us to address, especially today. As pastors, we can't have all the answers, but we can do our best to be practical-- and allow the Word of God to provide a spiritual context for what's happening in our world.