When you lead the second-fastest growing church in America, there are any number of life-changing ministries you could offer to your congregation. Of all the fantastic programs out there, Bishop Joseph W. Walker III has chosen to bring Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University to Nashville’s Mount Zion Baptist Church.
“At Mt. Zion, we know the importance of not only preaching debt freedom, but also teaching debt freedom,” says Bishop Walker. “It’s important that we provide the necessary tools to teach our members how to become debt free.” With a passion to see the congregation become debt-free, Bishop Walker sought out a partnership with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace department in the fall of 2004.
With an ongoing strategy in place for the entire congregation, Mt Zion brought the Financial Peace curriculum to their congregation and community in early 2005. They have since held 3 classes consisting of 30 small groups over the past 18 months. And they’ve reported dramatic life change from those who have gone through the 13-week program. As a result of learning basic principles like budgeting and debt elimination, FPU graduates have transformed the way they live. In the very first class, 122 people graduated and eliminated nearly $580,000 in debt! In theirSpring 2006 graduating class, 55 FPU families saved $62,000, eliminated $167,000 in debt, and gained financial freedom they’ve never known!
Growing the Vision
But the story doesn’t end with those amazing testimonies! The folks at Mt Zion aren’t just getting debt free; they’re using some of the same FPU principles to pay off their state-of-the-art facilities. In March 2006, they paid off one of their three buildings. “Debt-freedom is a part of Mt. Zion’s overall vision for the church and its membership,” says Kim Barton, Communications Manager at Mount Zion. “Each week, prior to the offering period, we, as a congregation, declare that we will be debt free in our finances, houses and land.”
Building the Kingdom Debt Free
Bishop Walker and his congregation of 18,000-plus are serious about freedom for today and for future generations. “We have a responsibility to our congregants to provide classes that will provide them realistic methods of becoming debt free as well as teach them how to and when to invest their money, how to save for retirement and how to do all of these things in steps,” Bishop Walker said. “The Bible says that ‘a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.’ Dave Ramsey’s program walks people through the necessary steps to do just that.” Mt Zion understands that when people get financially free, the chains of fear fall from the other areas of their life as well.
||Dave Ramsey is a personal money management expert, an extremely popular national radio personality and best-selling author of The Total Money Makeover. Dave is changing the face of America by helping people get out of debt and build wealth. Ramsey exemplifies his life’s work of teaching others how to be financially responsible, so they can acquire enough wealth to take care of loved ones, live prosperously into old age, and give generously to others. For more information, please visit daveramsey.com
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