Darrell Todd Maurina
When Pastor Doug Brooks of Parkland Baptist Church in Clovis thinks of debt, danger comes to mind.
“Certainly finances are among the biggest needs that young families face today,” Brooks said. “Credit is easily obtained, good or bad, and it usually puts people in a position where they spend more money than they make, and then they spend the rest of their lives getting out of debt.”
In an effort to help families address their debt problems, Parkland Baptist Church is bringing in a Lubbock pastor, the Rev. Bruce Ammons, to speak on biblical principles for Christian money management. The “Conquering Debt God’s Way” seminars will be held at the church on Jan. 18 and the church encourages people to come regardless of church affiliation.
This will be the fourth year Parkland Baptist has brought Ammons to Clovis, most recently in 2001, and Brooks said prior seminars have drawn significant numbers of people from other churches.
“I would imagine that 80 percent of those who come to these seminars are from our community and have benefited from this ministry,” Brooks said.
“He talks extensively about the beliefs in life that you will always have a house payment and will always have a car payment, and he talks about why that doesn’t have to be the case,” Brooks said. “Most individuals can be debt-free in a five-year period of time.”
According to the organization’s Web site, Ammons served in Lubbock-area churches in various staff positions for 17 years and now travels full-time teaching the “Conquering Debt God’s Way” seminar.
Even though he was serving as a pastor at the time, Ammons said he didn’t learn what Scripture teaches on money management until he was tens of thousands of dollars into debt.
“My wife Ruthie and I were a part of that vicious cycle of working more and still being $200 short every month of meeting our financial commitments,” Ammons wrote. “For 11 years of our marriage we were losing ground financially until finally Ruthie and I found ourselves a slave to debt and after years of living in financial straits my emotional rubber band snapped.”
Brooks said Ammons’ personal experience with crushing debt helps people relate to his seminars.
“Most of what this seminar comes from is that when he was praying through and asking God to give him direction on how to defeat the debt that he had, the Lord took him to the Old Testament book of Joshua where God took the Israelites into the promised land and from there gave him instruction on defeating his enemies,” Brooks said. “For most of us, we learn to live with debt, not destroy debt. As long as you live with it rather than seeing it as an enemy, you will never have a desire to destroy it.”
The Sunday event begins with a seminar kickoff during the church’s morning worship services, held at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and then continue with seminars in the afternoon from 3 to 7:30 p.m. Even though the seminar is held on Sunday, Brooks said other pastors in the area have encouraged their members to attend.
“Because they know the benefit it brings to the churches, I have pastors every year tell me if you’re going to offer this seminar again, tell me so I can tell my members,” Brooks said.