With more and more people struggling to get a grasp on their finances, many are looking to churches for practical and biblical help. However, only a small minority of churches worldwide have a process to help people adjust their lives to God's financial plan.
Rick Warren's Saddleback Church's Stewardship Pastor Chris Goulard believes most churches can develop one just by following a few steps.
The first two steps deal with leadership: finding a strong pastor to lead the ministry supported by a strong team of counselors.
"Those who have a financial background often need to learn what the Bible teaches about money and to truly have a heart for helping people," Goulard said. "The heart is much harder to teach. If they come in with the heart for ministry, I can often teach them the financial part more quickly."
Another step is to know that the purpose of the ministry is not to replace professional advice or services, but is a way to help people make healthy, biblical decisions when dealing with money.
Several individuals have found the ministry useful.
"I realized something," said Tomiko. "I'm a steward of God's money. Am I really taking care of God's money when I'm not properly dealing with my bills? Of course not. God wants me to be a good steward of what he has given me. I have to face those bills."
Knowing that they're talking with a counselor who is not trying to sell something is reassuring.
"My wife and I have always made God a priority in our finances," Paul said. "So we want to make certain we are not only handling our money in a godly way but also looking out for our family. Working with a guy who understands that commitment really helps."
Chris learned that she didn't need to redecorate her condo voraciously, and the ministry helped her learn about God.
"What is amazing to me is how much God cares about details," she said. "He is a loving God who is more interested in the little details than we could ever know. He shows that in ways that are just remarkable to me."