Anybody raised in the ’80s will recognise the phrase, “I love it when a plan comes together,” by A Team character John ‘Hannibal’ Smith. Well, here at Baptist Savings we feel the same way. Let me explain.
Twelve months ago we came up with a plan here at Baptist Savings, and we are now seeing it coming together in very exciting ways. There were four things we wanted to achieve:
- Lift the profile of Baptist Savings
- Make Baptist Savings commercially competitive
- Show people how to leave a legacy
- 4. Show people how to reduce their debt
Finding ways to show people how to reduce debt has been the area of most success – not so much in the numbers (though 70 Baptist pastors have improved their financial circumstances since we launched the initiative at the Gathering last year) – but in the real life stories of real people.
I went to see one young couple to survey how the programme had worked for them, and to make sure that we were actually delivering on what we promised back in October.
This young couple, in their 30s, don’t have any children and they are on a dual income. I was sitting at their dinning room table when suddenly the wife started crying, which made the atmosphere a bit uncomfortable for her husband. Here he is with a veritable stranger at his table and his wife is crying, and he doesn’t know why she’s crying. I made my excuses and got ready to depart, when his wife stopped me.
She told me she wanted to tell me a story. She said: “We have been married more than 10 years now, and I have just fallen in love with my husband all over again.”
At this point I assumed I should go and leave this couple to move to a different part of the house. I tried to depart again, but the wife stopped me once more. She told me that one of the things that had attracted her to her husband was his generosity of spirit.
“It was nothing for him back in those days to pay somebody’s mortgage payment for the month, take around a food parcel or provide somebody with clothes – he was a very generous man and I loved that about him,” she said.
“As time has gone on we have acquired more stuff, a boat, the latest cars… but to afford these things I had to go back to work. I work shifts so sometimes it happened that I wouldn’t see my husband for four or five days because our routines were different.
“But, as a consequence of the financial health check we attended back in October, our financial circumstances have been so radically changed that we have a lot more disposable income. So much so that the generous man I fell in love with has just re-emerged.”
And it struck me that while I was looking at this whole area as a numbers exercise, God was actually in the business of transforming lives. When somebody’s debt burden is removed, other pressures that emerge in a marriage – like depression and anger – are removed, and people are set free.
Whilst we have had over 20 different seminars now, and literally hundreds of people have been or are in the process of being set debt-free, there are always the stories that emerge of real people whose lives have been changed by what Baptist Savings is doing.
I thought that when a plan came to fruition it would be satisfying, but it’s actually much better.
There are numbers of seminars planned in various regions of New Zealand over the coming months and we urge you to attend, and to join all those people who have had their lives changed – it’s time to become part of the story.