The “Good Life” in the United States

Leadership // February 2, 2009

The “good life” in the United States…

• The average household spends $1.20 for every $1.00 earned.

• Personal debt is at an all time high.

• Many families are one paycheck away from disaster.

• Personal bankruptcy filings jumped 40% in 2007.

• The average 50-year-old has a net worth of minus $7,000.

Obviously, too many Americans do not know how to survive financially in our society. These Americans include many Christian households and even Christian clergy. Money and wealth are rival gods to the God we know in Jesus Christ. What is the point of an affluent lifestyle that is based on consumption, that values materialism and that mandates two incomes? Is this the abundant life that Jesus came to provide?

Churches today have a strategic opportunity to teach from a Christian perspective the financial life skills necessary for surviving and even thriving in our society. People are looking for answers to rescue them and their families from the uncertainties of economic upheaval. People need a spiritual transformation in faithfully managing their financial resources.

The benefits of your church offering financial skill training are many:

• Christians will confront and reject the false god of money.

• Skillful money management will build confidence.

• The absence of financial anxiety will strengthen marriages.

• Contentment, simplicity and thrift will enable generosity.

• Clergy will effectively teach and preach about money.

• Spiritual growth will progress faster and deeper.

One of the most effective ministries in equipping churches to teach financial skills with spiritual goals is the Good Sense Ministry of the Willow Creek Association. Good Sense has a new and timely product available entitled “Freed-Up Financial Living”. “Freed-Up” refreshes and expands on the Good Sense Budget Course that has been taught in over 5,000 churches. You can view this new Biblically based financial training curriculum at Good Sense Movement.

There is no doubt that it is time, today, for “taking the cure” for our ailing and anxious hearts. We must reject the false god of materialism, stop accumulating stuff, and learn to invest our lives and resources in people and the things that will last beyond our lifetimes.

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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