While poverty is far more than a lack of money, how one handles his money has a measurable impact on his life, and God’s Word has a lot to say about this topic which impacts all areas of life.
Our friends at The Chalmers Center are trusted leaders in community development through local churches, promoting healthy relationships between the materially poor and those compelled to help, and equipping people to emerge from poverty using their own resources.
See this testimony from a church’s savings group in Togo, West Africa
Recently, Chalmers released a tool to help majority-world churches start savings groups as a ministry of the church. Group members pray, study Scripture, share life together, and save and lend their own money. By investing even pennies every week, committed group members can reap rewards that benefit their whole families and communities.
Restore: Savings integrates the best practices and principles of savings-group methodology, used by organizations worldwide, with biblical principles. It can be used as a discipleship and outreach tool while seeking to alleviate poverty wholistically.
Restore: Savings uses adult education principles such as small-group discussions and open questions. The training seeks to honor the dignity of each participant.
Savings groups generally have 10-20 members. They develop their own group rules about loan and savings terms, membership, fees, and other topics. The group is self governed; they elect a president, treasurer and secretary from among the group members. Members save their own money and lend out that money according to their own rules. No outside money is needed.
The Church Facilitator Guide is used to start and train groups, while the Ministry Coordinator Guide is used to orient church leadership to savings-group ministries and train and mentor Church Facilitators. Both of these guides are available for free download in English, French and Spanish here.
If you have questions about this program and how to apply it in your church, contact Laura Ellis at The Chalmers Center.