These past couple of months have been really busy for me. I’ve been a certified Faith and Finance facilitator for a couple of years but have recently been going through the process of becoming certified as a Lead Trainer or a ‘Trainer of Trainers’.

Faith and Finances is a program through The Chalmers Center out of Chattanooga. You might know them as the authors of When Helping Hurts. For years we have used different types of financial curriculum at The Restoration House but never really felt like it was quite fitting for the families with whom we work. We were so excited to learn that The Chalmers Center, experts in empowering low income people, had developed this spot-on curriculum and knew from the beginning it was something we wanted to be a part of.

After being trained as a facilitator I also knew we didn’t want to keep this resource to ourselves; I wanted to share this resource with the greater Knoxville community. Until this year, the only way you could become a facilitator was to be trained by Mark Bowers and Jerilyn Sanders of The Chalmers Center. This year they have decided to begin training a handful of current facilitators as Lead Trainers. So I jumped at the opportunity to be trained to train others in this community, both at non-profits and churches alike!

This has been a huge challenge to take on as the time commitment has been very strenuous, especially over the past couple of months. But I have learned so much in the process! I have read many articles about reconciliation and about poverty and financial education. I have also read a large book about adult learning styles. I spent a month on-line interacting with a class of 36 students from all over the US and then a few days in Dayton, OH where, along with The Chalmers Center staff and another Lead Trainer in training, I prepared and then taught the live Faith and Finances training for two days. What an experience!

Over the 2 days I was responsible for training a group of 16 folks how to become Faith and Finances facilitators. I really enjoyed facilitating deep, rich discussions about reconciliation, about the fact that God wants to make all things new, even our finances, about adult learning styles and a host of other things as well. I’ll admit, preparing to train these 16 facilitators stretched me and taught me so much. I’m sure I learned much more than I was even able to teach them. Isn’t that how it usually is when we prepare to facilitate a class?

My final step in becoming a Lead Trainer is to finish up my reflection paper on reconciliation. No small task! But again God has been using this process to continue to teach me and grow me. And, I know I’m going to continue to grow as I have been asked to jump in and help with another training down in Atlanta in November. This class is so large they needed to add another trainer to the group. We’ve just started the on-line portion of the training and I can tell I’m going to enjoy this group as much as I did the first group!

I hope to get a local training on the calendar in 2015, so be on the lookout! I would love to see many locations offering Faith and Finances classes throughout our community in the upcoming months. And I have to admit my very favorite thing will be bringing into the training one of our recent Restoration House grads. I’m ready to see her take the lead as a facilitator with Faith and Finances classes at The Restoration House. Now that is a beautiful picture of God making all things new!

“Chalmers trains churches and ministries in Faith & Finances, a biblically integrated financial education curriculum designed specifically for low-income people. Through Faith & Finances, churches can train the materially poor in practical money management skills and unpack how our money is part of God’s work in the world.”