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Seminar on finances takes higher view

Along with notebooks, pencils and a calculator, participants in a financial seminar this weekend will bring their Bible.

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Along with notebooks, pencils and a calculator, participants in a financial seminar this weekend will bring their Bible.

"Money is so powerful and leads to so many problems," said Trish Shaffer of South Point United Methodist Church.

Money trouble is one of the top three reasons for divorce, and a hindrance for ordinary people trying to do their best, whether it’s in church or at work, she said.

Yet the Bible lists more than 700 verses dealing specifically with money management, which led Ms. Shaffer to Christian Financial Concepts – the non-profit group hosting the Friday and Saturday money seminar at the church.

Founded in 1976 by Larry Burkett, CFC emphasizes using biblical principles as a base for financial decisions.

"This is really a fantastic opportunity for the Tri-State area," she added. "A person can go through 12 years of school and four years of college and never learn how to balance a checkbook. Yet, money is something we deal with on a daily basis."

For example, the seminar can provide young families with insight on setting financial goals and keep marital problems away, Ms. Shaffer said.

"Opposites attract, and almost always one’s a spender and one’s a saver," she said. "This is something to get you on the same page."

And that suits David Classing, a Village of South Point council member planning to attend the seminar.

"I had never heard of him but I knew this was something I should do," said Classing, who is engaged to be married.

"I think this will steer us toward a way for us to spend money correctly – in a more biblical way," he said.

Many skeptics think the Bible cannot offer monetary lessons because they say God doesn’t care about people’s finances, but Burkett found out otherwise, Ms. Shaffer said.

Twenty years ago, he taught a Bible study on finances when he was challenged to find Bible verses on money, Ms. Shaffer said.

The resulting list of 700 became sort of a financial Bible concordance and the rest is history – Christian Financial Concepts was born, she said.

Just a few of the CFC lessons, aside from teaching basic economics and concepts dealing with savings and loans, teach participants how to:

– Discover God’s principles for obtaining peace and discipline in learning how to set priorities and live within your means.

– Developing short-range planning for those monthly and occasional bills.

– Setting up budgets and adjusting them to be more useful for your family.

– Determining attitudes and reasons for sharing according to biblical teachings.

Ms. Shaffer had heard several such lessons taught by Burkett on his daily radio program, but thought the area could benefit from a seminar, she said.

After a few phone calls, CFC volunteer financial counselor Lewis Kugler of Virginia scheduled South Point UMC as his next port of call.

So far, participants are coming from as far away as Indianapolis, Ind., Paintsville, Ky., and Columbus, Ms. Shaffer said.

And the dozens of local registrants are looking forward to the training because money problems are only natural, she said.

"But here’s how to deal with it."

The seminar will run 7-9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Cost is $35 per individual or $45 per couple.

Seating is limited and advanced registration is encouraged by calling the church at 377-4690.