Local church pastors are invited to join in a six-week online study of Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well-Being, a new personal money management curriculum that seeks to promote financial wellness for clergy and laity. The Zoom study, led by the Rev. Jeff Vanderhoff, will run Wednesday evenings from April 14-May 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
The six-session curriculum is guided by Wesleyan values and speaks to key money management topics—such as saving, earning, giving, spending and debt. Developed in response to an expressed need among clergy, it offers separate workbooks for clergy and laity. The clergy workbook addresses many of the financial matters unique to U.S. clergy.
The April 14-May 19 session will allow pastors to go through the study using the clergy workbook, then lead those in their congregation using the workbook designed for laity. The online class will be limited to 18 participants. Those who attend all six sessions will earn 1 CEU.
"I have been looking for a stewardship resource to use with my congregation for years, knowing there was a problem but not having a solution that would fit my setting,” said Vanderhoff, pastor of Trinity UMC in McMurray. “Saving Grace is the solution I've been looking for, and my congregation has responded well to it so far."
The study was published by Wespath Benefits and Investments and The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH), through Abingdon Press. It was created through the Clergy Financial Well-Being Initiative, a United Methodist multi-organization effort to assist U.S. clergy with financial well-being from the first steps of discerning God's call to ministry through retirement. Saving Grace helps clergy and their congregations put John Wesley’s teachings into practice as they move toward reaching financial goals.
"Initiative leaders increasingly identified a need for a basic resource on personal financial management that would work well for United Methodists. We wanted a program that fits well with Wesleyan values and context," explained Dale Jones, Wespath’s Managing Director of Church Relations and project director of the Initiative.
The Wesleyan program is designed to encourage open discussions about money, and to help participants reach personal financial goals and achieve a sustainable financial life.
"John Wesley challenged the people called Methodists to gain all you can, save all you can, and give all you can when he preached on 'The Use of Money.' Saving Grace brings these guiding principles to life for the 21st century," explained Brian Milford, President and Publisher of UMPH.
"Oftentimes we think about our financial discipline as compartmentalized as just our bank accounts or saving accounts, but it truly is a spiritual discipline for us," says Saving Grace co-host Rev. Anna Guillozet in the first session of the program.
Saving Grace includes videos, participant workbooks, a leader guide and devotional materials. Additional materials cover matters specific to clergy finances. Resources are available either in print or eBook with videos offered on DVD or streaming through UMPH's online platform, AmplifyMedia.com. They can be purchased on Cokesbury.com and Amazon.com.