I recently heard that a church had a small sample of its membership take a poll on the amount of debt they held. The numbers were staggering.
Out of 60 people, 16 were debt free. The rest of them had over $2,500,000 in debt. $500,000 of that was credit card debt. The remaining was chalked up to mortgages and car loans.
Keep in mind that those numbers only represent a third of the total congregation's membership. I believe it is safe to say that the church's budget is being strangled because of the amount of debt held in the pews.
Statistics say that the average American has around $15,000 in credit card debt. Add to this hefty student loans, car loans, and housing loans and you have an incredible materialistic hole to dig out of.
That hole is one of the main reasons why the church fails to be a leader in charitable works today. With its people in mass debt and enslaved to materialistic gain there is no possibility of supporting missions and ministering to the poor. As Jesus said, "You cannot serve both God and Mammon."
I'm happy that the sobering realization caused the leadership of the above mentioned church to begin implementing Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace program. I want to encourage others to become serious about their stewardship too.
If we are going to gain the world for Christ, then we must first be rid of our love of it.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.