Focus on the Family, Ministries Team Up to Help Financially Hurting Families

Focus on the Family has joined forces with two financial organizations to help families make sense of the financial chaos many of them live in today.

"At Focus we hear from countless families who are struggling with significant personal debt and having difficulty living within their means – the numbers of those looking for help has especially increased during these trying economic times," Rich Bennett, vice president of ministry strategy at Focus on the Family, said in a statement.

FOTF, a Christian ministry that seeks to help families on a number of different levels, is now working with Crown Financial Ministries, an organization dedicated to biblical financial principles, and Finicity to bring old-fashioned but proven financial success techniques to a digital era.

"The financial piece impacts their marriages, their ability to effectively parent, their spiritual, mental and emotional health, and even the quality of their lives,” said Bennett. "To that end, we are excited to partner with these trusted organizations to bring proven, effective solutions to assist with these pervasive family problems."

Those interested in learning how to manage their finances can now sign up for Crown Mvelopes – a program that helps users manage their budget through the use of digital “envelopes” – for free through FOTF's website. The site also offers articles containing information on avoiding or eliminating debt, setting up a budget and ways couples should communicate about money issues.

Envelope budgeting is when a person cashes their paycheck and divides up the cash into envelopes, which each represent a portion of that person's budget. This method allows people to limit their spending and keep an eye on where their money is going. Mvelopes allows people to continue using this system but digitally through their computer or smartphone.

Steven B. Smith, president and CEO of Finicity, told The Christian Post on Thursday that for the last six years his company has partnered with Crown and helps Christian families by providing online tools and products.

"It's something that we're very, very excited about and very committed to,” Smith said about the new partnership. “To be able to take the Crown brand of products into a relationship directly with Focus on the Family, including the new coaching product, is something we're very excited about."

Smith says the Crown MoneyLife Coaching service is important because many families don't understand how to manage finances without someone teaching them first. He also says that coaching “creates accountability” in finances, just like it does in physical fitness.

“We all know that we need to exercise more and to eat better. We all know that, but when you give somebody tools, and training and accountability, the likelihood of success goes up markedly.”

In addition to being trained in personal finance, cash flow management and the Mvelope system, financial coaches that can now be reached through FOTF are also certified by Crown in the "biblical aspects of personal finance," said Smith.

Reuters reported earlier this week that U.S. consumer credit jumped by 10 percent last November, marking the biggest spike in a decade. The change could be a positive signal in an economy that has been struggling for years, although there is still much more ground to be regained.

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, spoke to congregants at his Lake Forest, Calif. church about finances last November, saying that although the economy is still struggling, people can look to the Bible for help in dealing with their financial woes.

“The Bible is literally filled with advice on how to get out of debt, how to stay out of debt, how to prosper, how to have financial stability, and how to save and spend,” he said.

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