Advance Memphis excited announces program videos on social media! See our intro video here.
One of the many programs we offer at Advance Memphis is a financial literacy class, Faith & Finances. The course reviews spending, saving, and income/expense tracking. But more importantly, Faith & Finances connects our finances to God’s greater plan in His world. When I think about Memphis and the high bankruptcy rates, our nation’s saving habits (or lack thereof), and even my own struggles with personal finances, I can easily become discouraged. Instead, Faith & Finances reminds me, and the class, that God sent Jesus to reconcile all things to Himself. This is great news for the city, the nation, and myself! God has a plan and is using my resources (ultimately His) to accomplish that plan. When I believe this, I am encouraged by the importance I have in stewarding His resources.
The Faith & Finances curriculum comes from The Chalmer’s Center for Economic Development. Over the course of 12 weeks, Faith & Finances hones in on how our individual finances fit into God’s plan. For the past several years, we have taught these classes at Advance and think the material is outstanding, the classes are fun, and the entire design honors the participants and their experiences. Since Advance Memphis is so invested in the themes and ideas connected in the curriculum, we are offering a certification course for future Faith & Finances sites. The Faith & Finances Certification Training is for anyone interested in hosting a site or using this curriculum.
Having personally been through this training and led portions of it as certified a trainer, I can say that this will be a tremendously valuable experience for anyone interested in adult education and/or financial literacy among low-income communities. Register today!
We serve a God of redemption. A God of restoration. A God who is making all things new. Those are easy enough words for me to say or type, but do I really believe them? Do you? And if so, what is the application for our lives? What would it look like if we operated under the ideas that 1. Jesus is making all things new, including our money and relationships; and 2. God has chosen to use our money to accomplish His work in the world?
These thoughts have been circling in my mind over the past few weeks as I am participating as an Ally for the Faith & Finances class offered at Advance. The curriculum seeks to teach basic financial principles and bring an awareness of good financial practices to help overcome the real-world obstacles that arise as we pursue financial health. This is done in an encouraging environment alongside others, as together the class learns how Jesus can provide peace, healing, and freedom through a restored relationship with Him. The content leads participants through a number of topics and each week gradually builds on the previous lessons. The class explores how money and relationships are connected, common challenges to managing money well, how to save and create a spending plan, what it means to live simply and give joyfully, lessening debt and taking out loans, and the importance of emergency funds. Each evening of class is broken down into brief teaching by a facilitator, much small group discussion and application, and even a little role-playing and skit fun, too! Participants are able to work together, ask questions, give feedback, and encourage one another as steps are taken to more wisely think about and use what God has given.
Personally, as we have been challenged to keep track of all of our money-in and money-out each week, being more aware of how and why I spend money has been huge! I can easily begin to make wiser decisions if I simply stop to think about what I am buying and why I am buying it. Does it line up with the priorities in my life? Is it a want or a need? Is this option to buy the smartest/least expensive option, or is there a better way? The experience thus far has been insightful, challenging, and fun! It is shaping my mind based on what God’s word says about my finances, giving me tools to apply these principles to my life, and providing new friendships with those in the class as we all work together to glorify God with our money and relationships. God really is making all things new, including our finances and our relationships, and that is cause for rejoicing!