The mission statement for Vineyard Columbus is: “To develop communities of disciples who experience God, love one another, and partner with Christ to heal the world.”
It can be simplified into four parts:
- Develop community
- Experience God
- Love one another to heal the world
The labels of Christian and Disciple are often times used interchangeable, but they are quite different. In the New Testament, Disciple occurs 281 times, and Christian occurs only three times. In the first century the label Christian was probably a pejorative by non-believers, perhaps referring to low stature and pure living. In modern times, Christian is used by believers, referring to their own orthodox beliefs, salvation, and moral compass for conduct or political opinion.
Jesus describes disciples in Matthew 4:19, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” This short verse can be broken into three parts.
- “Come follow me” tells us to put aside our plan and point everything in our being to Him.
- “And I will make you” teaches us that disciples are people who are being changed by Jesus.
- “Fishers of Men” means that we are introducing others to Jesus and walking with them in this transformative journey.
VC Stewardship Ministries incorporates this mission statement into every aspect of the ministry:
- We develop community through financial education and coaching in ways that bring people closer together.
- We disciple people in their relationship with Jesus Christ as we teach them how to handle their money better.
- We want people to experience God as they integrate their faith into their finances. Since money touches about every area of life, this provides so many opportunities to experience Him in profound practical and spiritual ways.
- As individuals create an orderly financial house with God-directed priorities for living they become better equipped to partner with Christ to love one another to heal the world.
A useful tool for learning how to walk this out is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU). This 9-week course (offered since 2010 at our various campus classrooms, Zoom meetings, and homes) has helped a few thousand people begin this part of their discipleship journey. For the first time ever we're excited to offer it to you for free (initial price was $129, plus $99 for the budget app). We're doing so because we feel it meets the four cornerstones of our mission.
FPU classes help people handle money better through improved cash-flow planning, smart buying, relating in healthy ways with your spouse over money, and wisely applying Biblical principles. This class also addresses many other areas such as home buying, retirement and college planning, and investing. Some people even experience wealth increases. However, suppose you are not maturing and growing deeper in relationship with Jesus Christ in the process. In that case, we might be the same immature Christian, but maybe just more greedy, selfish, and stingy (ref. 1 Timothy 3:1-5). Personally, the process of economic change has been about dealing with my pride, impatience, learning to trust in God’s provisions, and relying on His Spirit for power and growth. Discipleship often looks like cutting to the root of the heart of things and walking with Jesus more closely.
Walking out good stewardship isn’t always easy. But I’ve experienced God in ways I never expected as I walked the path of financial discipleship. I experienced miracles of his provisions when I didn’t have enough. I received strength to persevere – sometimes waiting on him, other times hard work – to help me mentally and physically survive. I received the power to resist when I wanted to selfishly purchase something when I didn’t need it. One of the most extraordinary things is the freedom and peace only God can give us, with vulnerable, uncertain futures. I know I can trust him, regardless of economic conditions. When I focus on being a good steward, I don’t have to run ahead of him or worry about difficult days. More than these things is financial discipleship’s effect on our generosity, which leads to the fourth part of our mission.
Daily news headlines indicate that our world is in grave need of the healing, but do you ever wonder what you can to love one another and heal the world? A well-worded Facebook post will not. Nor will binge-watching another Netflix series. When God begins to heal me of my pride, greed, and self-centeredness, I tend to live more for him and others – mostly through the generosity of my time, energy, and money. FPU is one of God’s tools for our family to help me have a generous heart while we were still struggling. We became more consistent tithers, contributing to our local church that is walking out this mission and personally experiencing the promises of Malachi 3:10. Now, while doing better than those difficult years, and with more time, we can be more generous with both. We have experienced more of Galatians 5:22 fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are things money cannot buy, but enable us to live more joy-filled lives he has designed us for.
FPU is one of many things we offer in the stewardship ministry. It's excellent for those wanting to have less debt, plan for the future, increased generosity, and have more financial peace and freedom. Seventy-eight percent of people live paycheck-to-paycheck; a majority of people over age 50 have less than $117,000 saved for retirement. Personal finances are one of the primary sources of marital discord. If you can relate to any of these challenges, this class may be right for you.