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When you lead one of the fastest growing churches in America, there are any number of life-changing ministries you could offer to your congregation. Of all the fantastic programs out there, Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III has chosen to bring Financial Peace University (FPU) to Nashville's Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
"At Mt. Zion, we know the importance of not only preaching debt freedom but also teaching debt freedom," says Bishop Walker. "Its important that we provide the necessary tools to teach our members how to become debt free."
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A Life-Changing Partnership
With a passion to see the congregation become debt-free, Bishop Walker sought out a partnership with Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace department in the fall of 2004. With an on-going strategy in place for the entire congregation, Mt. Zion brought the Financial Peace curriculum to their congregation and community in early 2005. They have since hosted multiple classes.
Those who have gone through the 13-week program have seen dramatic life change. As a result of learning basic principles like budgeting and debt elimination, FPU graduates have transformed the way they live.
Taking Ownership of the Vision
The folks at Mt. Zion aren't just getting debt free; theyre using the same FPU principles to pay off their state-of-the-art facilities. In March 2006, they paid off one of their three buildings.
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Debt freedom is a part of Mt. Zion's overall vision for the church and its membership, says Kim Barton, communications manager at Mt. Zion. Each week, prior to the offering period, we as a congregation declare that we will be debt free in our finances, houses, and land.
Bishop Walker and his congregation of 18,000-plus are serious about financial peace for today and for future generations. We have a responsibility to our congregants to provide classes that will provide them realistic methods of becoming debt free as well as teach them how and when to invest their money, how to save for retirement, and how to do all of these things in steps, Bishop Walker said. The Bible says that a good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children. Dave Ramsey's program walks people through the necessary steps to do just that.