From the Director’s Pen

Rev. Fekecia Gunn, M.Div. is the Director of Financial Leadership for Ministry at Memphis Theological Seminary. 

A Coal Miner’s Daughter

coalminersdaughter

Throughout the last academic year, NPR followed a group of students who graduated from high school from Montgomery County, MD, outside of Washington, D.C.  Chronicling their last academic year, while focusing on their choice of public, private or community college, they were able to gather data about the cost, if it was worth it, and how they have come to value their personal choices about how to proceed:   http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/09/01/492083592/college-graduates-weigh-in-on-the-value-of-higher-education

       As a former Director of Christian Education, I have long criticized congregations who recognize college graduates, and not read more…

Financial Planning: An Unappreciated Ministry

The Financial Leadership for Ministry Program at Memphis Theological Seminary is blessed by a group of financial planners who volunteer their time to assist MTS students address the economic challenges facing future ministers (http://flmmts.org/financial-advisors/).

The need for financial planning at an earlier age has been documented by the statistics gleaned from the various seminaries that participate in the Lily Foundation’s grant to address these issues.  Yet, short of requiring students to take advantage of this valuable asset, we find that students are unwilling read more…

Field of Greens

greens1“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

          Most of you know that I am an NPR nerd.  I listen when I am in my car, commuting to Memphis.  I listen while in my car as I travel to meet other faith leaders who have also re-discovered God’s economy.  Well, I lost a friend this past week, NPR contributor, author and culinary griot, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor.  Vertamae, along with my time in Newport, AR this past year, has influenced me and my theological perspective of “Re-Discovering God’s Economy.”  She quotes Langston Hughes’ “Quarter of the Negroes:” read more…

Biblical Money Code

flmRaised in and baptized at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the age of five, I was already I was well on my way to memorizing scripture.    By that time, I had already begun the task of memorizing the books of the Bible, and scripture passages.  Therefore, when I promised so send the students in this semester’s Financial Leadership for ministry class passages of scripture for their sermon preparation assignment, I began to compile passages I knew from memory.  To add to those passages, I took to the internet.  I discovered a link associated with Sean Hyman who appears regularly on Fox Business News, CNBC, and Bloomberg Television.  A former pastor, Hyman claims that his secret to investing is read more…

Meeting with a Financial Advisor

debra

“The mission of Memphis Theological Seminary is to educate and sustain men and women for ordained and lay Christian ministry in the church and the world through shaping and inspiring lives devoted to scholarship, piety and justice.”  One of the most difficult things for us to admit is our lack of understanding about finances, both personal and congregational, and how that lack of understanding affects our mission and ministry.  I’m over embarrassment and starting over.  The Financial Leadership for Ministry program has financial advisors who consider what they contribute to MTS as ministry.  Don’t allow embarrassment to block your blessing. I didn’t!  Click here to see what a meeting with a financial advisor can be like.

The Federal Reserve to Raise Interest Rates!

Can you imagine my surprise when during my commute to MTS this morning; I heard there is a great possibility that the “Fed” would be raising interest rates as early as September?!  Oh NO!  I immediately wondered how this course of action would affect me.  Just when I thought I had it all together with my financial plan, I get this news.  Thank goodness I listen to NPR!

When I arrived at my office I immediately google “the fed to raise interest rate,” and navigated to the New York Times website, which has several articles and videos on the subject:

read more…

Pro Football Players and Bankruptcy

NFL and Bankruptcy

I find it interesting that the National Football League has teamed up with Visa “to help teach financial concepts with Financial Football, a fast-paced, interactive game that engages students while teaching them money management skills.  (www.practicalmoneyskills.com/games/trainingcamp/)

I find it interesting that the National Football League has teamed up with Visa “to help teach financial concepts,” especially in light of the recent report that “one in six NFL players read more…

“Food, Faith, Fitness & Finance”

Food Faith Fitness Finance

I have always struggled with integrating these principles into my hectic life.  However, since I became intentional about developing healthier spiritual, financial and eating habits, I look for ways to accomplish this  goal.  Therefore, I have embraced the struggle.

The first thing that I noticed, after stocking my pantry, is the amount of money I save by not eating out.  I have become an avid fan of Sandra Lee.  Sandra Lee is committed to saving money!  Her daytime cooking series, “Sandra’s Money Saving Meals,” features “incredible budget-friendly recipes for every day of the week, all based on her commitment to read more…

Choosing a Financial Advisor

There is a commercial produced by the group Certified Financial Planners (CFP), that speaks directly to the fear many people have about trusting financial planners (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afufjv_6-t4). Although the commercial is funny, the fear of financial planning and planners is not. The Financial Leadership for Ministry program addresses this subject and many others.

Mark Hester, a financial planner, addresses this issue and many others during his course presentations to students in the Financial Leadership in Ministry course (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpKe__wECyU). He provides helpful hints on what to look for when searching for a financial planner, and how to decide what financial instrument to select based on one’s individual needs. read more…

Taxes

Where has the time gone!

It is April 7th, and I haven’t had my taxes done yet!  Although I have gathered my materials, I am still searching for a tax preparer familiar with clergy income taxes.  I made the horrible mistake one year of having a “nationally known tax service” prepare them.  The cost was substantially more than my clergy colleagues said that they pay.

Now I’m scrambling to find someone to prepare my taxes.  Of course, “Google” was my first reference point.  I landed on the site “Davis Associates.”  They offer seminars on “Church Accounting and Clergy Taxes (http://www.davisassociatescpa.com/seminar.html).  But they are located in Florissant, MO.  I need someone closer to home, so read more…