CLAYTON -- A host of churches in the Clayton area have begun offering financial-counseling classes, helping their members to budget wisely and save money.
All of the church use a video series by Dave Ramsey, a popular financial consultant who talks about how to handle finances the way God intended.
The program has caught on in the area, with classes currently being offered at Hocutt Memorial Baptist Church, Southside Community Church and Greater Heights United Methodist Church. C3 church has offered the class in the past and plans to offer it again in the spring.
For Jay Hall, the facilitator at Greater Heights United Methodist Church, the class stresses, in practical terms, what the Bible preaches about money.
“It really comes from scripture,” Hall said. “I want to say there are over 600 or 800 references to money and finances in the Bible. There’s countless scripture throughout the Bible that says it’s stupid to go into debt, the borrower is slave to the lender. It’s all throughout scripture.”
And those lessons are relevant today, Hall said. In today’s economic climate, people need to learn to budget their money wisely, he said.
“It’s because of our economy,” Hall said. “We’ve lost jobs, people have lost their houses, and we spend too much money on credit cards. Most people who take this class are living paycheck to paycheck, and they want to know how can we earn a certain amount of money and not have anything to show for it?”
Hall said he became his church’s facilitator for that very reason – he was making a certain amount of money but had nothing to show for it.
Now, he said, he’s learned to save more, and he and his wife talk more about money, which has improved their marriage.
Since the church started teaching the class, Hall said, he’s seen single mothers who were having trouble getting by finding enough spare change to donate to the church.
Kent Woodard, who teaches the class at Southside Community Church, says the classes aren’t about churches getting their members into a position where they can give more to the church.
But Hall says that’s definitely a plus, and it’s part of the biblical message.
“There’s learning to live without debt, how to get out of debt ... and then ultimately giving back,” he said. “That’s probably the ultimate thing to it.”
Woodard said the main thing he’s learned in facilitating the class is how to get out from under the burden of credit cards. Ramsey teaches folks to use cash instead of plastic, which should help them spend within their means.
“When you’ve got money in your hand, you’ll manage it better than if you’re simply swiping your debit card or credit card,” Woodard said. “So for me personally, applying those principles has helped me to manage my money better.”
Woodard said he’s definitely planning on offering the class again in the future. “In economic tight times, the better we can manage our money, the better off we’ll be,” he said.