Wrestling with Worry

I finally know what distinguishes man from other beasts: financial worries.

– Jules Renard

Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?

– Jesus (Matthew 6:27)

If student polls and minister surveys are to be believed, countless faithful clergy wrestle with financial worries all the while knowing that Jesus’ words are true. No different from peers in other fields of study and work, ministers must consider compensation, healthcare, and cost of living when accepting a call from a congregation. These same ministers must plan for children’s college funds, home improvements, and retirement savings. Add debt reduction and underemployment to the mix, and you have a recipe for worry.

How can ministers wrestle with and tame their worries in healthy ways?

Financial coaching offers great potential for transforming worry into positive forward-moving work. Several Central Seminary students currently engage financial coaching through our free student service.

One student writes, “The most meaningful part of the financial counseling was having someone to bounce my financial questions/concerns off of. I do financial counseling with my clients, but it’s different when you are looking at your own finances. It is easy to justify your own faults when you don’t have to put them on paper for others to see. It is definitely a program I want to continue being a part of while I attend Central.”

A seminarian couple shares, “We are looking at relocating. Because of financial coaching, we feel more prepared and more at peace about our move. Financial coaching has opened our eyes to the expenses we will incur and has encouraged us to develop a plan of action that we may have not done on our own.”

The focus of financial coaching at Central is threefold.

1) Clarifying personal values and casting vision for one’s financial & vocational life.

2) Assessing present strengths and weaknesses, as well as examining enduring habits for good and ill.

3) Setting specific and attainable goals with concrete action steps and milestone markers toward achievement based on values/vision and strengths/weaknesses.

Financial coaching sessions #1, #2, and #3 act like a funnel that begins high and broad but becomes more focused incrementally through the exchange of inquiry and listening with an attentive coach.

Central aspires to alleviate the burden of financial worry our students carry by partnering with them as they dream about their vocational futures and grow increasingly knowledgeable and confident in financial matters.