A financial ministry is a counseling service that provides financial advice with a Christian focus, basing advice on interpretations of the Bible. Most ministries are open to people of all faiths and denominations, not just attendees of a particular church. Some provide free counseling services while others may charge, often on a sliding scale. Some offer financial education in modules that participants can purchase as needed to meet their needs.
The concept of a financial ministry is rooted in the idea that religious officiants and advisers in Christianity should provide complete services to their parishioners, discussing not just matters of faith, but other topics as well. Many ministers believe that Biblical guidance is available not just for personal finances, but for business ethics, marriage counseling, and other topics as well. At a financial ministry, the goal is usually to promote financial practices in line with religious values while also helping participants get better control of their finances.
Faith-based financial coaching can include private sessions as well as groups, and many financial ministries include texts, videos, audio programs, and other materials participants can use. Online coursework is also available, along with phone counseling. Some have workbooks that may provide budgeting sheets and a variety of tips for the benefit of participants. Members of a church can contact church officials to see if the church maintains a financial ministry or has one it recommends to parishioners who may need help managing their finances.
Many financial ministries focus on getting people out of debt and helping them stay out of debt while also building wealth to create economic security. The ministry may also discuss topics like donating to charity and deciding how to manage and distribute accumulated wealth. Many Christian sects discourage the accumulation of wealth for its own sake and support efforts on the part of members to redistribute wealth through charity, community programs, and estate planning.
The approach a financial ministry takes to providing advice and assistance can vary, depending on the sect and who is developing the ministry and supporting materials. Parishioners who do not feel comfortable in a given ministry or who feel like it does not meet their needs but still want advice from a Christian perspective can seek out other ministries in the area to see if one is more suitable. Participants may also want to ask about the training a leader has in topics like financial advising, interpretation of the Bible, and counseling.