Every day, churches around the country are witnessing transformation as a result of Financial Peace University. More than 2.5 million families who have enrolled in FPU have kicked debt to the curb, taken control of their money, and become generous givers . Basically, they’ve learned God’s ways of handling money.
Now, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) is reinforcing those findings in its first ever Church Stewardship Survey. ECFA is an accreditation agency that promotes fiscal integrity and responsible stewardship among the Christ-centered organizations that comprise its membership.
The results of the survey, released in February, are a compilation of responses from more than 100 ECFA-accredited churches nationwide, plus almost 1,000 others. They show that churches are not only concerned about addressing biblical stewardship in their congregations, but for many, FPU is a big part of the solution.
FPU in Action
Of the churches surveyed, 90 percent said they’ve used a program for teaching and encouraging generosity. Of those, 75 percent use FPU. In fact, the class was listed as one of the most helpful resources for teaching generous giving and encouraging biblical stewardship, which can be defined as managing all of God’s resources God’s way for God’s glory. One church said that because 20 percent of its congregation went through FPU, it saw an increase in giving during the following year.
FPU graduates have become outrageous givers, understanding what Luke said in the Parable of the Shrewd Manager: “If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” (Luke 16:12). Remember, no one has ever become poor by giving. Surveyed churches that offered FPU received an additional $207 per attendee annually compared to churches that did not use FPU! One church leader even said they use FPU attendance, coupled with giving, to track their members’ debt payoff and stewardship health.
But that’s not the end of the story. Churches surveyed by ECFA say they could still improve in the area of biblical stewardship and shared at least three ways they’d like to do that in the coming years:
1. Biblically educate new believers to give
Churches are concerned about sharing the message of biblical stewardship with younger generations. In ECFA’s survey, one church explained that it “seems this younger generation gives to what they see.” The church said its members “need to ‘show’ them more often and more clearly, but also need to teach them what the Bible says about giving as a part of worship.” Churches can teach elementary school-age kids about being good stewards using Junior’s Adventures, a new series of age-appropriate lessons about money from a biblical perspective. Tweens and teens can learn similar foundational lessons about God, themselves and their money from Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, in Generation Change, a Bible study available for church and home use.
2. Teach legacy giving and offer next steps after FPU
In the survey, churches expressed interest in legacy-giving education and opportunities, as well as a way for FPU grads to continue their stewardship journey. In the time since the survey was conducted a year ago, Dave Ramsey has released The Legacy Journey, which addresses both of those needs. In the seven-week, biblically based course, Dave teaches how to leave a legacy for generations to come. With discussions on investing, estate planning, safeguarding your legacy, and discovering the keys to generational wealth and true generosity, The Legacy Journey is the logical next step for those who have found success in FPU’s Baby Steps.
3. Help church members see the tangible—and intangible—benefits of giving, and lead from the front
Only three percent of evangelical Christians give a tithe. That means 97 percent aren’t! Churches in ECFA’s survey are eager to turn lethargic givers into outrageous ones using focused and intentional stewardship teaching from the “front.” They’re looking for more effective ways to connect offerings to ministry outcomes, and to help people experience the peace that comes from turning it over to God.
Dave Ramsey’s Momentum stewardship training, held around the country several times a year, invites church leaders to learn how to create a culture of biblical stewardship in their churches. Pastors can learn how to encourage giving, promote stewardship, develop a long-term plan for their church, create church-wide motivation for financial discipleship, make church financial decisions easier, develop and grow new leaders, and more.
Churches in ECFA’s survey are witnessing their members experience a profound shift in their relationship with money. Romans 12:2 says, “Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” True heart change takes time. Whether it’s FPU or any of Dave Ramsey’s other resources, churches nationwide can find solutions that they know will help transform the members of their congregations. They’ll become debt-free, radical givers and biblical stewards filled with unstoppable momentum to accomplish God’s mission!