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Strengthening the Church One Life at a Time

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On any given Sunday morning at Immanuel Church in Gurnee, Illinois, people will line up to speak to Senior Pastor Joe Boerman, shake his hand, thank him for some solid biblical teaching, and maybe even offer an opinion or two. But Dick Giesler, Immanuel’s Business Administrator, also gets his share of handshakes these days!

“Almost every Sunday, families come up to me and thank us—the church—for taking them through this life-changing course,” he notes. The course is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU), and if you log in to the Immanuel website, you’ll see FPU near the top of the list of this successful church’s ministries.

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“We’ve been offering Financial Peace University for two years now. More than 700 people have been through FPU at Immanuel, and almost from the beginning there has been a steady stream of stories about how they have reduced debt, cut up credit cards, had enough emergency savings to meet unexpected needs, and found themselves able to share with others more easily.” At Immanuel, they believe that changing the lives of the members—one life at a time—will strengthen the church as a whole!

Immanuel is definitely a people-oriented church. Helping people find deep joy in God highlights their church’s mission. They’ve found Financial Peace University to be a natural fit, according to Giesler—so much so that they offer it at a church-wide level through Dave Ramsey’s Momentum program. Momentumenables the church’s leaders to step up and lead their congregation in learning and applying biblical principles to their money.”

FPU classes, which are part of Momentum, have also been a valuable outreach tool, says Giesler. “A good number of unchurched people from outside of Immanuel have taken the course and then begun attending services here.”

An Unlikely Visitor

Giesler recalls one man who had vowed he would never step foot in a church, but came to FPU, albeit reluctantly. It took him a long time to open up, but when he finally did, he decided to come to a second FPU series where he became more involved and open about money and about the church. Then at a Thanksgiving sharing service, he entered the sanctuary, sat in the back, and listened. He’s had a complete change of heart and now attends Immanuel regularly. “To see something like that happen—this is the real reason we push FPU here at Immanuel Church!” said Giesler.

Immanuel’s future plans include expanded FPU offerings. “We’re just starting a Spanish FPU class series, with four families now attending,” Giesler reports. “We’re really eager to see if we can get this area of ministry growing here in northern Illinois.”

There’s no question that Immanuel Church is committed to teaching stewardship through FPU. “We’re beginning to see increases in family giving,” he said.

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