A church in Kansas City is taking on a unique initiative. Pastor Randy Frazee of Westside Family Church believes a well-known program can help Christians in the city learn to be more generous as a result of getting out of debt and becoming financially stable. In an initiative that has never been done before, Westside organized Margin KC, a city-wide effort to take people through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU) program. Over 100 churches in the Kansas City area are participating.
God is concerned with “reaching our hearts through discussing our wallets,” Ramsey told the Westside congregation this Sunday at a kick-off event for the city-wide effort. He emphasized the importance financial management should have in a Christian’s life by pointing out that “Jesus talked more about money than he did love and grace combined.”
As far as Frazee is concerned, becoming financially stable could have a big impact on the families in his church. Frazee said the number one cause of divorce in the U.S. is financial stress, hinting at the need for couples in the congregation to learn how to manage their finances in a healthy way.
Why Make Such an Effort Over Money?
As if easing concerns that some may have that taking a concerted effort to become financially stable may be simply self-serving, Ramsey said having money is not a bad thing. He expounded on this thought:
Money will make you more of what you already are. If you’re happy, money will make you unbelievably happy. If you’re depressed and you get money, you’ll go into serious depression. If you have a problem with your temper and you get money, Lord help those people around you…If you’re kind and generous and you get money, your generosity becomes outrageous and we begin to call you…a philanthropist, and you change entire communities with the wealth that God has entrusted to you.
Ramsey went on to say that not having a lot of money is not a sign of godliness. “Don’t be walking around broke and calling it faith. That’s not faith. That’s Gnosticism,” he said.
The point that Christians should be concerned with, according to Ramsey, is that a financially stable Christian is one that can be generous. Ramsey encouraged the congregation to get their houses in order so they can be “outrageously generous.” Being outrageously generous goes above and beyond the obligatory 10 percent tithe most Christians they should give. Ramsey said he believes the tithe is a baseline you should give to your local church. But outrageous generosity goes above and beyond this baseline.
“You’re designed to be a giver because you’re made in your Father’s image and he gave his only son,” Ramsey explained. And, to state the obvious, “you can’t give generously when you’re broke.”
110 Churches Will Participate in Margin KC
Many people agree with Ramsey’s beliefs on money. “Living paycheck to paycheck is no way to live,” David Brooks says. Brooks is the North campus pastor for Vineyard Kansas City, and he has personally benefited from FPU. Brooks was able to pay down thousands of dollars of credit card debt using the principles from Ramsey’s teaching.
Those who sign up to attend the program will meet at one of the 110 churches participating in Margin KC once a week from September 15 to November 16. Each week of the program focuses on a different aspect of managing money wisely. Weekly topics range from budgeting to learning how to save to the best way to buy a home.
Through the Margin KC program, the course costs $95, although many churches are offering scholarships to those who may not be able to afford the course fee. In Westside’s kick-off service, for example, Frazee explained his church will help members who can’t afford the class, but they won’t be giving it away for free. As he explained, “you have to have skin in the game.” Additionally, people don’t have to belong to a particular church to participate in the program.
Frazee initially asked, “what if we could 100 churches to join us?” An overwhelming 110 churches decided to join. Frazee says the churches vary in denomination and demographic. This year, Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal churches will participate, including some African American churches and 14 Hispanic churches.