RALEIGH, N. C. -- With home foreclosures at a record high and more lay-offs announced almost daily, Americans are looking for help. Many see the country's financial crisis as the perfect time to teach people financial lessons -- God's way.
People in the church are not immune to tough economic times.
"We're all in a crisis," said Bible Missionary Baptist Church Pastor David Barnes. "Some of us put ourselves in this crisis. Some of us worked to get ourselves out of the crisis that we were in. But it means discipline. God is a God of discipline and our world today doesn't want to hear about discipline."
Helen Lofton is one of the pastors at Solid Rock Ministries.
"We're having people having trouble trying to keep food on the table," she said. "We've seen some with job cut backs in their hours."
Christian Financial Workshop
That's why pastors and members of more than a dozen Raleigh, North Carolina churches came together for a Chrisitian financial workshop.
"I felt like it was important, because so many people are going through hard financial times with the economy that we're dealing with," explained Solid Rock Ministries Pastor Kenneth Lofton. "And I believe that if every individual can take responsibility for their own personal finances it can better no only our church, but even our community."
It had all the feel of a routine church gathering, from worship to food to fun and laughter with Mother Christian, a Christian comedian.
But the atmosphere quickly turned to the real reason for the meeting.
Good Money Stewardship
As the economy continues to deteriorate, many are looking for help just to make ends meet. Nearly 200 people attended this Bible-based financial workshop, fulfilling God's command to be good stewards with their money.
"You cannot serve both God and money," said Christian financial advisor Rodney Ballance. "Now we've all heard this, haven't we? But realistically do we put it into practice everyday?"
Ballance lost everything after a divorce -- his job, his home and all of his savings. He even wanted to take his life. But after years of doing things his way to recover, he turned to God and took some simple steps toward financial healing.
Now, more than ten years later, Ballance is using what he learned to help others who are struggling. He starts with the number one problem facing families, including Christians, money management.
"Sixty-one percent of American families spend more than their net income every year," Ballance explained. "You would be amazed at the people we sit down with - families, husbands and wives, and they've not talked about their finances."
Ballance ministers across the country, covering subjects from basic budgeting to financial investing and does it all for free.
The Keys to Turn Things Around
He shared with CBN News his keys to beginning the turnaround.
First, realize what put you into financial crisis. Focus on where you want and need to be financially. Seek and heed the advice of Christian counselors, including tithing.
"God is the ultimate healer of all things, including your finances" Ballance explained. "And until you turn to him, and you realize that the worldly things got us to where we are, our focus is on self and the world have taken our focus from where it needs to be. Until we realize that they can't turn their focus where it needs to be, we help them refocus."
Church members are listening and acting.
"We're learning a lot of different truths," said Kenneth Barnes, a financial workshop attendee. "A lot of good stuff that actually makes you grow and dispel some of the myths that we've grown up to learn about."
Jeanie Taylor attended the workshop and told CBN News she has decided to help herself.
"I divorced a few years ago and so I used my credit cards and things like that to start over," she said. "And I've found myself in kind of a financial bind. I decided to come to see if I can do something about my own situation."
That willingness to change encourages Ballance that his labor is not in vain.
"We just try to educate people," Ballance said. "Enrich them with knowledge. Encourage them with confidence and empower them with good Christian counsel that will be there for years to come."