How Places of Worship Reach Their Flock with Money Lessons
By Right About Money Staff Report
October 25, 2016
Teaching teachers about money is a widely acknowledged strategy for bringing financial education to schools. Now, teaching clergy about money is gaining momentum too, as a means for reaching underserved communities with basic money lessons. Divinity schools throughout the country have begun offering financial education and “faith and finances” programs to seminarians who, in turn, will be better equipped to deliver money management skills to their parishioners.
This semester, Howard University Divinity School in Washington D.C. offers semenarians a financial literacy course aimed at reaching African-Americans in their communities. The course uses an “Each One, Teach One” curriculum, an innovative training model that prepares seminarians to convene financial literacy workshops in church basements and other community gathering spots. Topics covered include money management, financial planning, credit and debt management, and maximizing financial “blessings” through investment.
“In nearly 20 years of running an education non-profit organization dedicated to financial education, I discovered that people want to learn personal money management concepts and their applications,” Howard course instructor Theodore R. Daniels, president of the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, wrote in the Huffington Post. “Financial knowledge and skills of these kind help individuals make smart decisions so that they are able to maximize financial resources and achieve their personal and financial goals.” The money courses have the added benefit of helping clergy manage their own finances in a challenging period for donations.
Last year, AARP of North Carolina teamed with Shaw University’s Divinity School in a financial literacy pilot Financial Freedom program that is now required of all Shaw divinity students. It’s geared at helping church leaders get a handle on their parish financial issues, and the hope is that will embolden church leaders to lead to a Financial Education Ministry in their communities.
The National Black Church Initiative, a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches with 15.7 million congregants, has also jumped into the financial literacy game. It offers an online course that clergy take within a three-year window. The NBCI Money Booklet is designed to help individuals and families see a complete picture of their assets and liabilities.