Written by Madison Andrews
Ministry Finance & Mindfulness (MFM) has unveiled two new didactic series that reimagine the purpose and parameters of the organization. Formerly known as “Ministers Facing Money,” MFM now seeks to move beyond debt-centered financial mentoring toward educational events that address the personal, theoretical, and practical aspects of financial mindfulness for students entering the ministry or non-profit sectors. Lunch & Learn lectures therefore address topics as diverse as “Scholarships: Minding the Debt Gap” (Wednesday, November 15th); “Taxes: Give unto Caesar What Belongs to Caesar” (Friday, February 23); “Negotiating Your Call” (Friday, March 9); and “Financial Leadership: Congregations and Non-Profits” (Friday, April 13). During their first Lunch & Learn event of the semester, pictured above, Dr. Steven Tomlinson explored how to think about finance abstractly, as a theology.
“I felt that was such an important one to start off with,” said Heather Zdanciewics,
“because he helped frame a theology so that you could be thinking about the way finances and money affect the way you think. As he said early on in his talk, who is your God? Is money your God? And if money was your God, how would you know?”
Such engagement in wider philosophical conversations about money rests on the idea that in order to serve populations suffering from a dearth of economic skills and knowledge, leaders in ministry and social work require awareness of their own financial experience and ethos.
“Unless you deal with your own views on money and finance,” said Zdanciewics, “you can’t help other people.”
Dealing with your own views involves, of course, maintaining a healthy relationship with the econom(ies) in which we are intractably embedded. MFM’s new Faith & Finance course — which will replace Financial Peace University (FPU) for one experimental year — provides an opportunity for students to learn how to embrace gratitude for their existing resources and feel empowered to leverage them effectively. Course objectives include, “experienc[ing] a new sense of freedom and joy in your relationship with money; discover[ing] wholesome ways to earn, save, spend, invest, and contribute;” and “appreciat[ing] the power and presence of your existing resources; com[ing] to know your own sufficiency and natural prosperity.”
MFM coordinators encourage students not to be deterred by the course fee: $50/person and $75/couple. At $7.14 or $10.71 per class, it’s well worth it.