On March 8, 2018 our membership voted its approval to open our credit union to include all Christians. What a momentous day! It confirmed to me that our Credit Union is being led into even bigger places of ministry. More and more Christian entities are collaborating in areas of common concern. It is another change in our lives and it is a big one at that. There is much change in our world today with much of it happening fast and wide reaching. In times like these can Christian Credit Union (CCU) make a relevant impact on our world? What does stewardship really mean? Can we define it? I came to the conclusion the answer to the first question is categorically “YES”. We can, and should, have an impact. Define stewardship? You bet. It is a relevant concept on its own and describes what we do at Christian Credit Union. The topic was partly instigated by several discussions I’ve had personally.
I would like to take a moment to celebrate a few achievements relevant to the discussion. Congratulations to David van Berkel, Certified Financial Planner®, Rob Drost, Level 1® CFP Certificant, and to me, Carol Haayema, with having achieved the CKA® designation or Certified Kingdom Advisor®. While not the focus of this article, these achievements actually fit well into the discussion at hand. Kingdom Advisors is, among other things, an education provider recognized by Financial Planning Standard Council (FPSC), who award and monitor the CFP® designation. In addition we have a number of staff presently, or soon to be, enrolled in the Certified Kingdom Advisor program or other various industry accreditations. Kingdom Advisors is an entity of collaborating Christian businesses largely geared to finance. In addition to credible biblical accreditation, we have access to a wide variety of resources from personal counselling to financial management available through them. Our advisors earning designations and certification is important. If Christians are to be taken seriously in finance, Christian and competent must not be an oxymoron. Industry accreditation goes a long way to reflect that goal. The ability to obtain resources for the body of believers will help them to fulfill their mission as well.
What then about our questions? Can CCU have relative impact on our world? Can we define “stewardship”? The Bible does not give direct answers, but the Bible does teach principles to help us live biblically right and to live well. Biblical principles are transcendent to time and specific problems. These principles, along with prayer, can help us navigate any situation humankind can face in life. That is what makes the Bible so relevant and timeless to any day and age. Ground rules must apply when determining biblical principles; scripture should always be interpreted with scripture and then within the broader theme of the Bible. Our decisions must be tested within that framework.
The theme of The Bible is about a fallen people separated from a relationship with God. Rescue, redemption, and restoration with God came through Jesus Christ our Saviour and the sharing of that good news to others is the calling of every believer. The Bible teaches that wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Prov 9:10) and that wisdom and understanding come from God (Prov 2:6-8). There are 2350 verses on money and possessions, in fact 15% of all Jesus said was on this topic. Why did our Saviour have such a big focus? If we are honest, often money and possessions are a primary competitor with Christ for lordship of our lives. Jesus said “You cannot serve God and money. (Matt 6:24). That is rather direct. In the interest of length I’ll assume we are reasonably on the same page with this point. I believe we are given (even appointed) specific time, talent, and treasure to fulfil the work God has appointed us to do (Eph 2:10), and demonstrated in the story of the talents in Luke 19:11-27. What is the Biblical theme of the work He appoints us to do? Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”. We are further called to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” in Matthew 28:19. In other words the Great Commission.
How does this relate to CCU and our membership? Our world is enslaved by fear. Fear of not having enough, and of not being enough. We are slaves to image. Think selfies, social media, and relationships with others. Advertisers appeal to the wallet regularly to speak to this reality. A chief cause of marital breakdown today is money and money management differences.
Is CCU relevant? Can we have impact on these concerns and ultimately on the church which has impact on the world? Categorically YES! Perhaps now more than ever before. These concerns have impacted churches and believers along with the world. I believe that as Christian Credit Union our mission is to assist members with choices to live biblically right and well. This includes giving biblically well and to support members to finish well using the gifts, talents, and resources, God has given.
What then about “stewardship?” Another word for steward is “trustee”, or one appointed with an entrusted task. Christian Credit Union is a steward of your trust, of biblically wise financial advice and purposed to fund your work in church and school as agents of grace. A large part of CCU profits go back to members and to houses of discipleship such as churches and Christian schools. This money directly funds the discipleship efforts of the church’s mission in the great commission. These items are the difference between CCU and any other financial institution. CCU has all the products offered in all financial institutions. In answer to our mission, we have worked hard to ensure that, where possible, our products and services reflect biblical principles. I encourage you to speak to our staff to find out more about how. To the questions we set out to examine, there is no doubt in my mind that we are relevant, have impact, and have defined biblical stewardship. I hope I have achieved the goal aimed for and done justice to the examination as well.
Professional accreditation is your outward assurance that you can expect to receive competent advice. Our mission and vision statements are our commitment to do so with biblically wise advice. We are excited to carry this mission out. Christian Credit Union has direct influence over roughly 7000 agents of grace (aka members). Imagine the ripple effect on our churches and communities and on our world. May we take up our task that His name be glorified, and that the world may see our work and come to Him.
Carol Haayema, CFP®, CKA®
Senior Financial Advisor
Disclaimer: The article references materials provided through Kingdom Advisors.