Video Courtesy of CBN – The Christian Broadcasting Network
Recently, a co-worker shared something that enlightened me. They always used a financial counselor to advise them on various decisions that they needed to make regarding their finances and investments. However, they didn’t seem to be satisfied with the outcome of their investments.
They shared with me that, after talking in detail with their spouse, they decided to learn more about investments and the stock market. They signed up for classes and realized they could actually manage their own financial portfolio. They took charge of their investments and began to see a positive turnaround within the first few months of releasing their financial counselor.
They seemed confident about what they had learned and we’re looking forward to managing their financial portfolio in the months and years to come.
The biggest fear that many people have, is the fear of not knowing what you don’t know. That sounds odd but it is true. What you do not know about your finances, or financial health, may seem scary to some to the point of denying its existence or choosing to deal with it when things get really tough.
God desires for us to have balance in everything we do. Having the confidence to handle your finances is a commitment you have to make to yourself. Hosea 4:6 states “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” KJV.
If people are bold enough to admit they do not know, they take the time to educate themselves in the areas that matter to them. So, why not us, children of the faith?
There are so many resources on finances. The question you need to ask yourself is, “What is my area of struggle when dealing with money?”
- Is it a saving problem? Most likely you have not established boundaries and self-control, and you may need to set up a budget to stick to it.
- Do you have unrealistic goals and expectations that leave you disheartened each month when you review your finances? Set goals for yourself that will boost your confidence because you are able to achieve them. This will result in becoming a better steward of your money because you have established a level of faith in yourself that you are capable of meeting goals when you set them.
- Are you drowning in debt? Find out the exact amount that you owe so that you can establish a precise plan of tackling it.
When it comes to money, you have to be bold and face the issues head on. If you are tremendously blessed financially and have no issues with money, find ways to educate others to live in that liberty that you have been blessed to experience.
I learned a great lesson from that co-worker. What you don’t know, you can learn, and what you learn can enlighten you to make better and sound decisions that can position you financially to be in a stable place.
Are you ready to face what you don’t know about your finances? Start today. Learn something. It could serve as the trigger of change to a great financial future for you in the years to come.
Every year college tuition rates continue to increase, making it more difficult for African American students and their families to find the resources necessary to meet the rising costs. Across the country, there are numerous companies and organizations willing to offer support and give scholarship money to qualified students, all that they ask is that you apply.
Companies and groups like Microsoft, Boeing, SallieMae, INROADS, and the National Association for Black Journalists (NABJ) are just a few of the organizations willing to give you money. However, a great deal of that money is being returned due to a lack of interest.
We know that college is expensive, and figuring out a way to pay for it all can be frightening, so we’ve decided to do some of the work for you, by providing this list of 25 underutilized scholarship opportunities and the link to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Take a few moments to familiarize yourself and then apply!
1. The CocaCola Scholars Program
2. SallieMae College Answer Scholarship
3. Ayn Rand Essay Scholarships
4. Brand Essay Competition
5. Presidential Freedom Scholarships
6. Microsoft Scholarship Program
7. Holocaust Remembrance Scholarships
8. Back 2 College
9. Guaranteed Scholarships
10. Easley National Scholarship Program
11. Maryland Artists Scholarships
12. The Roothbert Scholarship Fund
13. INROADS Scholarship
14. International Students Scholarships & Aid Help
15. College Board Scholarship Search
16. College Net Scholarship Database
17. ScienceNet Scholarship Listing
18. Scholarship & Financial Aid Help
19. Student Inventors Scholarships
20. Historically Black College & University Scholarships
21. Scholarships For Paralegal Studies
22. William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship for Minority Students
23. Federal Scholarships & Aid Gateways 25 Scholarship Gateways from Black Excel
24. Jackie Tuckfield Memorial Graduate Business Scholarship (for AA students in South Florida)
25. Boeing College Scholarship
The gates of hell will not prevail against the work of the church, but what about that massive bank loan?
An April CBN News report on church foreclosures was rebroadcast online last week and got Urban Faith digging into the topic. The report focused on two black churches in Atlanta that were threatened with foreclosure. One church, Higher Ground Empowerment Center (HGEC), renovated (and changed its name) after a 2008 tornado damaged its building, but couldn’t repay its $1 million mortgage when attendance and giving declined during a year-long displacement.
When the story originally ran, the church’s fate was uncertain. Urban Faith tried to contact HGEC both by phone and email to find out what the outcome was, but didn’t get a response. Citi-Data.com lists the church (under its former name) as the owner.
The church’s Facebook page is active and advertises a Financial Fast on the first week of every month in 2011. Congregants are advised to meditate on Scripture verses (Exodus 22:14; Proverbs 22:7; Matthew 25:14-20; Malachi 3:10) and refrain from discretionary spending and credit card dependency. The fast was scheduled to kick off in May with a 4-week Bible Study on Becoming Better Financial Stewards.
“The fast is really about curbing the need to consume. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a good steward or a spendthrift; all of us consume more than we need,” the announcement said.
If any of our Atlanta readers know the fate of this congregation, please let us know. Whatever it is, we applaud its willingness to advocate better financial stewardship.
“More than 90 metro Atlanta churches were posted for prospective foreclosure from 2006 to 2010, according to a review by the Kennesaw-based real estate research firm Equity Depot for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,” AJC reported in February. Fifty churches, most of them small African-American congregations, “dominate the foreclosure lists,” AJC reported.
In January, The Wall Street Journal published a story that explored the roots of the church foreclosure crisis nationwide. The bottom line: Historically, churches have been accustomed to obtaining specialized loans that allow them favorable repayment structures. But after the economic downturn, many of those churches were faced with situations similar to the subprime mortgage crisis that devastated countless homeowners.
“Since 2008, nearly 200 religious facilities have been foreclosed on by banks, up from eight during the previous two years and virtually none in the decade before,” The CoStar Group real estate services firm told the Wall Street Journal. A representative at CoStar told Urban Faith Friday that the group hasn’t updated its church foreclosure data since then, but promised to keep us posted if it does.
In April 2010, Reuters published an in-depth report on the situation, which also noted that African American churches have been hit particularly hard.
“Their congregations have suffered higher unemployment, and often the churches provide more services,” Reuters reported.
Rev. Grainger Browning, senior pastor of Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington Maryland told the news wire, “At a recent meeting with the 100 top pastors in the country, it was amazing how all of us were facing some sort of challenge with the banks.”
A historically high rate of church building preceded the most recent economic collapse. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, money spent on the construction of religious buildings rose sharply in the late 1990s and peaked at $9 billion in 2003 before leveling off. A study by the Barna Group found that more than half of U.S. churches said they have been hurt by the recession, according to the Reuters report.
Then, on July 8, BusinessWeek published a grim article about the residential housing collapse titled “The Housing Horror Show Is Worse than You Think,” which makes us suspect the crisis is far from over for churches.
“The housing decline will be a long, multiyear process, and the multiplier effect across the economy will be enormous,” Doug Ramsey, an analyst at Minneapolis investment firm Leuthold Group told BW.
“What was real and what was never meant to be?” Ramsey wondered.
It’s a good question for struggling congregations as well. With iconic churches like Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral going bankrupt, perhaps its not only the end of the McMansion era, but also the church expansion one.
The situation leaves us with questions:
What was done in faith and what was bad stewardship?
What do church foreclosures and bankruptcies do to the church’s collective witness?
How do we respond in faith to this crisis?
If your church is being foreclosed upon or facing serious financial hardship and you think your story can help others, we want to hear from you. Email me at [email protected]
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