October 2015 Good $ense Newsletter: Freedom vs. Fear

“What if you were given the choice to change or die?” was the question posed in an article in Fast Company magazine. What if a doctor said you had to make changes in how you think and act or your time on earth would end soon?

Most of us probably believe we would change! But the research reported in the article indicated that 90% of people who have coronary-artery bypass surgery do not make the healthier lifestyle changes that could arrest their disease and keep them from a return of pain, repeated surgery or even death.

My first reaction was that if the threat of death doesn’t change behavior, how is the threat of debt or even bankruptcy going to get folks to change spending behavior?

However, the article went on to say that when positive rather than negative outcomes were stressed the percent that made positive changes was much higher. Rather than, “You’re going to die!” doctors stressed such things as “You’ll be able to actively play with your grandchildren” or “You’ll be able to take long walks with your wife and not feel any pain.” Joy and Freedom were found to be a more positive motivators than fear. And if patients attended twice weekly support sessions, 77% made and stuck with healthier lifestyle changes.

The implications for stewardship ministry are clear:

  1. Fear is not a good motivator.
  2. Providing ongoing support to folks trying to make change is very helpful.

These findings align with the Good $ense core values of:

  • highlighting joy, peace and freedom
  • following a grace-filled approach versus judgment and guilt
  • emphasizing heart change versus just learning mechanics

These values are reflected in our Freed-Up Coaches Training Workshop that trains Coaches to walk beside folks as they attempt to change financial behavior. Are coaches available in your church or organization? You can check out this resource here and start equipping key people to help others transform their finances and lives.  The freedom they experience from the pull of the culture toward a closer relationship with Christ could be palpable.

There is indication that the church at large is awakening to the centrality of financial stewardship in peoples’ day-to-day and spiritual lives and in the global issues of our day.

You are part of that awakening! May your efforts be guided by God’s “wisdom from above” which, “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17).

Partnering with you,

Sid Yeomans
President, Good Sense Movement
Transforming Finances! Transforming Lives!