$442,240

$442,240 is a lot of money.

$442,240 of debt is a lot stress, fear and strife.

$442,240 is the amount of debt that has been paid off by clients of the Kerith Debt Freedom Centre, a ministry of North Grenville Community Church in Kemptville, ON, since it opened its doors 18 months ago.

The Kerith Debt Freedom Centre (affiliated with the Freedom Initiative of ADVISORS with Purpose) is open two Saturdays mornings a month at North Grenville Community Church.  Some of the clients are believers but most are not.  Some travel 60-80 kilometres to meet with a financial coach and some are local.  Some clients live below the poverty line and some earn six figures.  Some heard about the centre through word of mouth, others saw the sign in front of the church and some read about it in a local newspaper story.  What all the clients have in common is their desire to eliminate the burden of their financial debt.

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The centre does accept walk-ins but most clients make appointments.  They complete some basic information and then meet with two coaches.  One coach provides the practical financial help and the other coach to offers support and encouragement.   A variety of analytical tools are used to give the client a financial picture and they often leave their first meeting with some kind of assignment to complete when they return for their next session.  There is no time limit at Kerith Debt Freedom Centre.  Their coaches will walk along side clients as long as they are needed.

I asked Pastor Dan Massey why he wanted to start the centre, “I was in IT before coming into the ministry.  When I came into ministry we continued to live as if I still worked in IT and then it caught up to us.”

Dan and Ann Massey found a Christian organization in Ottawa called More Than Enough that provided the help they needed to eliminate their debt.  And when they learned that The Canadian National Christian Foundation  wanted to empower the local church to provide the debt counselling Dan and Ann wanted North Grenville Community Church to be a part of that.  As Dan told me, “The more I learn the more I see there are just so many people in a situation similar to our own.  They have good incomes but coming to the end of the money before they come to the end of the month.”

Eighteen months ago, a dozen volunteers were trained and North Grenville became the test pilot church and the first centre to open.  A year and half later they are going strong.  I’ll throw that number at you one last time: $442,240 of debt paid off by clients of the Kerith Debt Freedom Centre since it opened its doors.

Our own Sandy Crozier, Stewardship Development Director, has an amazing resource page on the FMCiC website including debt reduction and budgeting tools.  Check everything out here: http://www.fmcic.ca/stewardship-ministries/downloads/