Meet Scotti and Amber Simpson, a married couple completing their first year of seminary. They have taken full advantage of the Money & Ministry Program services by engaging financial coaching together. Scotti and Amber value financial freedom, openness to change, service to others, purposeful happiness, and family. They have passion and desire to be of real service to the world through both their vocation and their finances, but to be truly free for the life they envision, they recognize the need to be intentional. So, they have embraced a minimalist lifestyle, set out to reduce impulsive spending, and committed to better planning with goals of saving for a state-to-state move and eventually discharging educational debt so that they can respond to God’s call on their lives without hesitation.
Central launched the Money & Ministry Program in January 2017. Partially funded by a grant through the Lilly Endowment, this new program offers financial coaching to all students as a complimentary service. Beyond providing a coach at no cost to our seminarians, Central offers a monetary incentive to each student who follows through with a series of three financial coaching sessions within an academic term. During the first term of the program, approximately 25 students participated in an initial conversation, and 13 of those students completed a coaching series before the term’s end. Just two weeks into a second academic term, the Money & Ministry program is currently partnering with 15 students in financial coaching.
The coach works with students as follows:
1) To clarify personal values and cast vision for one’s financial & vocational life.
2) To assess present strengths and weaknesses, as well as examine enduring habits for good and ill.
3) To set specific and attainable goals with concrete action steps and milestone markers toward achievement based on values/vision and strengths/weaknesses.
Seminarians recognize the necessity of being prepared for the financial realms of their ministries. Some are focused on personal preparation like debt reduction and household budgeting. Others are interested in learning to lead stewardship campaigns and preach faithful sermons about money. Still are others are thinking about what it means to live simply, to spend justly, and to save wisely. All are excellent topics for reflecting with a financial coach.
Amber and Scotti are great examples of the Money & Ministry Program at work. Because of their willingness to reflect on financial matters, set goals, and take action, they will be better prepared to manage their personal finances and to lead the financial realms of their future ministries.
Central’s Money & Ministry program is personal and horizonal. It is just one of the ways that Central prepares men and women for seeking God, shaping church, and serving humanity.