What might you do if you wanted to help members of your congregation hone their personal or family financial planning? Here are three resources that would encourage them and also help them with practical financial issues:
1. Freed-Up Financial Living is a terrific plug-and-play resource that gives both foundational biblical financial principles and all the material you will need to work out or update your own personal or family financial plan, as part of a small group experience. The short DVD excerpt for each session features three experts in a dialogue format about the subject, so a member of your own local church or cluster can lead the sessions with all the resources and instructions he or she might need. You can design the course for a weekend retreat, for one packed six-hour day, or for a series of weekly sessions. It even includes online resourcing available to you through a password. Out of all the Christian financial management resources available, this course, originally written by Dick Towner for Willow Creek UMC, best reflects the theological range of the United Methodist Church and balances both theology and practical tools.
2. At Ease: Discussing Money and Values in Small Groups is an Alban Institute book written by John and Sylvia Ronsvalle. The book gives a design for you to set up a small group and then provides the content to explore the connection between your personal values and issues around money. At Ease gives three levels of reflective questions from which the group can choose to discuss, and provides two “gateway questions” to help you decide when you’re ready to move from one level to the next. The questions emphasize participants’ experiences and interact with the Scriptures and Jesus’ teaching. The authors’ language is not overly religious and communicates well to people who may be new to Christianity or to the church.