A group of missionaries went to India this month to teach Biblical principles of stewardship and debt.
Besides meeting with pastors and businessmen, Freedom Xperience 2005 team's other activities included meeting with local congregations, meeting with high school and college students, and organizing prayer groups and events.
In America, 54 percent of churches have debt, according to a poll, and local church leaders have reported that many families struggle with materialism and debt. To help them apply Biblical principles that help people overcome debt, Christian financial ministries have been springing up in the past few years.
But Matt Elsberry, the director of an overseas operation of one of these Christian ministries said, "Freedom from the illusion of ownership of possessions needs to come to every believer in the world; not just those in America."
The church is crying out for material teaching and calling it one of the most needed teachings, said Elsberry. He travels around the world preparing for U.S.-based Crown Financial Ministries' international conferences. Between 95 percent and 98 percent of those in attendance at the international seminars confess "financial sin," said Elsberry.
Freedom Xperience - as the program is called - was created in 2002, as a way for volunteers to try a short-term mission trip.
This would also contribute to Crown Financial Ministries' vision of teaching God's financial principles to five percent of the world's population by 2015.
Participants from across the U.S. volunteered at international conferences, and over 13,000 attended "Pastors Conferences." Another 4,000 were taught through "Business Conferences." Meanwhile, hundreds of pastors committed to training ten pastors each and teaching at least 100 people. If successful, it would mean 2.8 million people have been taught.
Crowns CEO Howard Dayton said demand for scripture-based debt counseling is skyrocketing. Crown worked with 900,000 Americans in 2003 and 1.1 million in 2004; it projects a 25 percent increase in the U.S. in 2005. Crown has reached about 8 million worldwide through its financial seminars.
Christian financial advisers point out that Scripture is filled with references to money. There are 2,350 verses addressing money in the Christian Bible, making only love more often noted.
A happy, well-lived life means understanding and following the Bible about handling money, and that means borrowing only when absolutely necessary.
Crown Financial Ministries' next stop is China, from Sep. 3-18, and they need short-term mission volunteers for the event. Following that is Crowns Annual Reunion 2005 to be held Thursday, November 10, 2005 through Sunday, November 13, 2005 at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Asheville, NC.