September 2000 Issue
by Polly House
In his book How Much Is Enough?
30 Days to Personal Revival, author and financial expert Larry
Burkett says, "Money is never a problem. It's a symptom."
Expounding on that statement, Ted and Jeanette Warren led workshops
on the whys and hows of sound Christian financial planning during
Sunday School Leadership Week at Glorieta, N.M., this summer.
Ted Warren is chief operating officer of LifeWay Christian Resources
of the Southern Baptist Convention, and his wife, Jeanette, is
a certified public accountant.
In church "we always seem to make stewardship as give,
give, give. But what we are realizing is that the average person
is in a bad financial place," Ted Warren said. Giving the
person in the pew sound, biblically based financial advice is
a first step in good stewardship, he said.
How someone answers the question, "How much is enough?"
reveals several things about him or her, he continued. It reveals
a person's priorities, relationship with God, attitudes, values
and what's important. These last three, he added, reveal a person's
identity and his definition of success.
In discussing the world's definition of success, Warren listed
power, wealth, address, fame, athletic prowess, career position,
and car. All these things, he said, "are temporal."
God defines success, Warren said, as obedience, character,
availability, knowing God, and redemption. "None of these
is temporal," he said, adding, "There is a great contradiction
in what the world says and what the Bible says about the successful
A person's identity, or who he is in Christ, is the foundational
issue of all money management, Warren said. "How we identify
ourselves defines our attitudes which, in turn, determines our
"We have to determine if we really trust God," Warren
said. "There's a big difference is saying we trust Him and
really trusting Him. There will come a point when you have to
ask yourself, 'Do I really trust God?' This may be at a point
of crisis with your health, your children, your money, or anything
Settling the issue of trust will make financial decisions easier,
Jeanette Warren said people in churches need to know resources
are available to help them if they find themselves in financial
She said she would like to see every church have a Christian
financial planner available to help people who are struggling.
"This person could be someone like me - a layman with
financial experience who can help."
Based on information from Burkett's book, Ted Warren said 150,000
calls come into the Christian Financial Concepts office every
month asking for advice.
The profile of the average caller:
owes $15,000-$20,000 in school loans,
owes $17,000-$20,000 in credit card debt,
owes $20,000 on two cars, and
owes $120,000 on the average mortgage.
In American homes today, including those of church members:
50 percent of all marriages fail.
60-80 percent of these cite financial problems as the
root cause of strife.
$1.17 is spent for every $1 earned.
The rate of savings is -0.7 percent - less than during
the Great Depression.
Warren continued with the CFC stats, noting that today in evangelical
churches, including Southern Baptists:
Individuals pay four times as much in interest as they
give to the church (10.2 percent vs. 2.3 percent).
80 cents of every $1 is given by those 55 years old
20 percent of members give 80 percent of the money contributed.
30 percent of the members give the other 20 percent
50 percent give nothing at all.
one in five churches borrow money to keep the doors
"There is a difference in our needs, our wants, and our
desires," Ted Warren said. "Second only to love, the
Bible speaks about money. Two-thirds of all Jesus' parables deal
with money. Jesus brings us to a point of decision about our financial
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