We are so excited that our Generous Foundations: Financial Literacy 101 video series is now live on our website. This is thanks to the efforts of our BFJN staff and a generous grant from the United Methodist Foundation of New England.
This project has been a dream of ours for almost 8 years! In this blog series I want to share a little about Generous Foundations – how it started, our hopes for how it will be useful to our community and a discussion of the ideas it introduces and shares.
Many years ago we created a workshop on basic budgeting and financial planning as a precursor to our Lazarus at the Gate study. Lazarus is a unique 8-week Bible Study that examines the biblical foundations for just and generous living. One of the most challenging and important components of Lazarus is the sharing of budgets. As part of one session participants are invited to share their budgets with one another (in actual numbers, percentages or other ways groups decide). This is hard because money is often something we silo. We feel uncomfortable having frank discussions about it outside of meetings with a financial planner or loan officer. It is also hard because not everyone keeps a budget or has been taught some of the basic principles around budgeting generally. This latter problem was brought to our attention by a group wanting to do Lazarus and we were asked to develop materials to teach some of these basic principles. We were happy to do it, but we didn’t want to teach finances divorced from our identity and call as Christians. So that original workshop was equal parts practical financial information and advice and examination of what the Bible teaches about money. It was the how of money management with the why of Biblical generosity.
After we did the workshop a pastor from out of state reached out to ask if we could develop a video series with the materials from the workshop – since her congregation was too far to do anything in person. We thought it was a great idea and it gave us a chance to refine and add to the original materials. It took a lot longer than we thought it would but the series we have created is everything we hoped it would be. Money can be such a hard topic for emotional and practical reasons. We want to remove the stigma and the wall we sometimes place between money and our spiritual lives. Generosity is a spiritual discipline and we know that part of our call as an organization is to disciple our community in just and generous living. This resource is a big part of how we hope to do that!
In the next blog in this series I’ll talk about the principles behind the series and the Biblical call to generosity. In the meantime, check out the Generous Foundations series for yourself and let us know what you think.
“The world asks, “What does a man own?” Christ asks “How does he use it?” – Andrew Murray (Christian Minister 1828-1917)