What is Financial Ministry at The Ridge?

Hello Ridgers,

About 6 weeks ago I joined the Ridge staff as the leader of our financial ministry. You may be asking yourself, “What’s a financial ministry?” First, a little background. About 7 years ago, I asked the church leadership if I could volunteer my gifts to help fellow Ridgers handle money better. It started with leading a few Financial Peace University classes, but soon expanded into one-on-one financial coaching. Some people were facing specific financial hardships in their life, some wanted to better align their finances with their faith, and some just wanted to do money better.

Fast forward to 2019, I made the decision to dedicate my life to serving others with these gifts. I stepped away from my awesome career in commercial real estate investing and started finding ways to serve others through coaching, speaking, teaching, writing, podcasting, social media, and any other platform where I may have an opportunity to influence others for good. One of those opportunities is to serve my Ridge family through this role as financial ministry leader.

So again, what is a financial ministry? I’m glad you asked! A financial ministry is a team of people that are specifically dedicated to equipping and encouraging people to live their money God’s way. To understand how our money and possessions fit into our faith, to reduce tensions in our marriages over the topic of money (the #1 cause of divorce), to better understand how to handle our money in a healthy way (i.e. the things we were never taught in school), and to find deep joy and meaning in the resources God has blessed us with.

At the Ridge, our financial ministry will initially involve teaching (more classes), speaking (Sunday mornings, men’s groups, women’s groups, etc.), coaching (walking alongside Ridgers who are currently in a painful financial season), and workshops (half-day opportunities for Ridgers to lean into specific financial topics). This will surely evolve over time, but our primary goal is to serve the people of the Ridge with love, compassion, and truth.

In the six weeks I’ve been in this position, we’ve been asked a lot of questions. I thought this would be a great opportunity to address a few of the commonly asked ones:

Why did the Ridge decide to invest its time and resources in a financial ministry?

We believe God has specifically called each of us to live a life in accordance with our gifts and passions, but oftentimes we find ourselves living a different life due to financial reasons. We also recognize personal finance is one of the primary areas of stress in families, and this stress is not income-dependent. Surprising to some, people making $500,000 per year are experiencing the same problems and stress as those making $50,000. Lastly, we believe personal finance is one of the most misunderstood topics in our culture today. The world’s perspective of money has seeped into all areas of our financial life and it can be difficult to know which way is the right way and what decisions are the right decisions? The proper handling of our finances is a spiritual endeavor which helps us live a more fulfilling life and grow closer to God.

Is giving the primary focus of this ministry?

No way! God calls us to be joyful, generous givers, but handling money biblically is far broader than simply giving. I believe there are seven key financial principles God teaches us in the bible:

• Ownership: God owns it all and we are simply asked to manage it on his behalf.
• Contentment: We need to live with margin in our lives.
• Budgeting: Let’s create one, stick to it, and make it fun.
• Debt: Get out and stay out!
• Saving: Let’s be prepared for rainy days and future needs.
• Spending: Enjoying money is fun and our God explicitly asks us to enjoy this blessing
• Giving: Always the elephant in the room, but the absolute most fun we can have with money if we do it well and for the right reasons.

Am I on the Ridge staff?

Unlike Milton (catch that reference!), I am indeed on staff and am actually getting paid. At the outset, I am slated to invest 15-20 hours per week into this ministry. We will continually reassess and make adjustments as needed.

Is the church in financial trouble?

Absolutely not! In fact, the church is in a great financial position having just paid off the last of its debt in late 2018. The church is well-positioned to serve those within the walls of the church, the broader community, and beyond.

Am I being groomed to take over Dan Schuknecht’s job?

Not that I’m aware of……haha, just kidding! No, Dan’s responsibilities regarding money specifically relate to the finances of the church, whereas my role will be focused on the finances of families within the church and community. The introduction of this financial ministry does not impact Dan’s role at the Ridge.

Am I selling financial products to Ridgers through my coaching?

This is the juiciest question I’ve been receiving lately. The answer is a resounding NO!! As a financial coach, I actually don’t have any products to sell. This is by design, as my coaching clients have something that money cannot buy: Trust. By having nothing to sell to people, there is pure alignment of interest since I have nothing to gain except the joy of watching someone win with money. I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Is this ministry targeting people who are struggling with money?

No! This ministry is meant to serve anyone who interacts with money and possessions in their life. In other words, we all have something to learn! Different people, with different backgrounds, living in different seasons of life, may experience the content through a different lens, but it applies to everyone.

Am I looking for volunteers?

I’m a huge believer that we need to use our gifts and passions to serve the Kingdom. If you have specific gifts and/or passions to help people with money, I want to hear from you! This ministry isn’t about me. It’s about collectively serving the Ridge as well as we can. With that in mind, I’m looking for other leaders to jump aboard to love people well. Whether you have an interest in teaching classes, coaching families, or even helping behind the scenes, I would be honored to connect. Several people have already stepped forward with a heart and desire to get in the game, and I’m so excited for what that may look like. Please shoot me an e-mail at tshelton@ridgelife.org if you’d like to learn more.

Can I speak to your group or at your event?

I’ve received this question from many people, each of whom have their own unique idea for what that would look like. If you have an idea or a potential need for a group/event connected to the Ridge, let’s chat! {email Travis}

Ridge, I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve you and I’m going to give it everything I have. Let the adventure begin!

Travis Shelton