Some people like to talk about their faith, while some like to talk about finances. But for some, talking about either of these things can be challenging and isolating, especially if you don’t feel you’re a success story yet. But for class participants of Faith and Finance at the Buckner Family Hope Center™ in Longview, Texas, they have found a community that is a safe space for their questions.
Rev. Doug Ashley, pastor of Longview Evangelical Presbyterian Church, found the Family Hope Center through some local friends about five years ago.
“I had a few friends that were involved with the Family Hope Center and shared with me the great things this community was doing, so I felt called to get in touch and get involved,” he shared. “I started as an ally in Faith and Finances as soon as I started volunteering.”
Pastor volunteer provides biblical perspective on finances
The Faith and Finance class offers participants a biblical perspective on managing their finances well, as well as encouragement and accountability for creating a budget, overcoming debt and more. As an ally, Ashley walks alongside participants and helps them walk through challenges in their finances. Four years ago, Ashley began teaching the class.
“Just to be somebody to bounce off ideas, thoughts, concerns, questions about what’s going on with their finances,” he shared. “It’s a place where you can talk about faith and the regular everyday life like dealing with money and budgeting.”
Financial classes offer safe place of support
Throughout the pandemic, the course went virtual. Ashley continued to look for ways to connect in the class and foster those relationships between attendees. He makes classes interactive and open, offering the space for anyone to bring up any concerns – finance related or not.
“We had a woman one time mention her husband was looking for a job,” he shared. “All the class members started thinking and offering, ‘Has he looked here? Has he looked there?’ And she was able to walk away from class with several contacts of places where he could go.”
“It really is a community where we say, ‘How can we help you? How do we do this together?’” Ashley said.
Financial classes help build a strong community
Creating that sense of support and community offers participants a place where they can walk through life with confidence. Ashley values it highly because not only does it connect them with others, but it can also connect them with what God is calling them to do in this world.
“When it comes to all the things God has given us in the world, we’re given those things for a purpose,” Ashley said. “There are things that God is redeeming through the work he is doing in our lives, even with our finances.”