In 2006, these five young professionals living in Vancouver, B.C., formed a "money club," a sort of financial-health support group. After two years, they reduced their collective debt from $55,000 to $10,000. All either own their own homes or are on the way there, and are regularly making deposits in IRAs and savings accounts.They accomplished this impressive feat by setting individual spending limits at weekly meetings, then holding the overspenders accountable -- over a bottle of wine -- at the next meeting. They shared clothes, low-cost recipes, advice and encouragement. Each week, one member researched a topic to share with the group, such as how to calculate credit-card interest.
"The first meeting was really scary, laying out all our checking and Visa statements for everyone to see. A bottle of wine was definitely involved, which we recommend."
"We'd all tried on our own, read all these financial books, but it had no effect on our lifestyle. Knowing you have to share your saving and spending record for the week helps you resist temptation."
That's not a house church, but it absolutely could be.
Just look at the themes that are in play:
- Small group
- Frequent, regular gatherings
- Openness based on trust rooted in mutual acceptance
- Real-life relevance and goal-focused
- Accountability (sought, not imposed)
- Joy and celebration
These days when people are so anxious about money as they watch Congress try to respond to the hosing/credit/banking crisis and the market teeters it really makes you wonder... couldn't we start churches with a mission to help people put their financial houses in order like these women did?
Of course, there would be suspicion. We're talking about money of course. People would wonder if this is just a front to get them to contribute to some denomination or pay the salary of the "evangelist." They'll be watching for the catch and wanting to read the fine print.
But what if the church planter/evangelist took no salary? What if he or she had independent support from other churches that wanted to bless the new congregations, or maybe worked a regular job as well on the side... like making tents or something?
Nah. It'd never work.
Too bad though. I'd love to give it a try.