Rodney Ballance thought he was out of the financial world for good. He’d worked as a life insurance salesmen in the mid-nineties before stepping away to focus on his personal life and work as a part-time firefighter. But three years ago, he prayed to work with money once again.
Ballance works as a money coach for the Abundant Life Institute, a Christian ministry that pairs the word of God with pearls of financial wisdom. He travels from one church community to the next, offering tips that mix scripture, facts he learned working in finance, and “common sense stuff that my granddaddy tried to teach me years ago.”
There are more than two dozen other coaches at the institute, most of whom have strong financial backgrounds and securities licenses. Ballance, for his part, has published a book on the subject.
It may seem an odd mix at first. After all, can the Bible really tell you how much to set aside in your 401K? Or point out stocks in which to invest?
Ballance believes it can, and to justify this, he repeats Abundant Life’s motto several times in conversation. “Because it’s God’s dollar, not ours!” According to Ballance, God is the ultimate financial regulator.
“If Christians would remember why they have what they have and from where it came, they’d be more cautious and thoughtful with their money,” he said. “It’s the same as when a kid knows their mom is watching. He won’t be as reckless as he might be without supervision. Well, God is watching and we will be held accountable for our decisions, both moral and financial.”
Of course, congregants aren’t the only ones worrying in this economy; religious institutions are in financial trouble as well. MSNBC reported recently that because of the current economic situation many religious schools have closed, congregations have shrunk and temples and churches are struggling to keep up donations and endowments. This has increased the need for advice even more.