Simpler Living

Summer Luke Brugger Unsplash

Impact Investing

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | May 23, 2016

“Impact investing” was a new phrase to me until I saw a piece on YouTube. The term refers to microfinancing: loaning very small amounts of money to individuals to help solve economic and social problems. Microfinancing is a market of about 100 billion dollars today, serving roughly 100 million people by giving loans of 50…

Read More

Giving Simply

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 7, 2015

“I never carry my checkbook to church. Ninety percent of the time I make financial giving decisions, it’s in front of the computer monitor. How can I even participate in supporting the church financially when you don’t have online giving or even automatic transfer?” The young woman looked around at the room filled with stewardship…

Read More

Money Sanity Solutions

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | May 6, 2015

Written for “Live Free,” the 2015 issue of Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation, by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center When it comes to money, families often go silent out of fear or taboo, or else yell in rancor, born of financial anxiety and family conflict. So how do children learn healthy money habits from…

Read More

Giving Tuesday

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | November 12, 2014

What a beautiful gift some anonymous donor has made for the United Methodist “#GivingTuesday”! For the one day of December 2, every gift made online to The Advance at will be matched, up to $1 million. “The Advance” is a collective term for hundreds of grassroots United Methodist mission projects in the U.S. and…

Read More

‘Tis the Season

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | October 28, 2014

By now, those of us who attend worship somewhere most likely have noticed that ‘tis the season for financial commitment programs – what many church leaders call “stewardship campaigns.” It’s when we think about God’s overwhelming generosity of blessings in our lives, and respond by financially supporting God’s work right here on earth, primarily through…

Read More

Dealing with Possessions

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 6, 2014

“Too much stuff” can be a challenge at any point in life. I read a terrific article by two newlyweds who discovered a way to “navigate the jungle of wedding gifts,” offered an alternative giving site for their wedding, and worked out some powerful “slow living practices” that they are instigating in their young-adult lives.…

Read More

The Power of Enough

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | April 2, 2014

As we enter Thanksgiving and the gift-buying days leading up to Christmas, now is a great time to talk about what is enough. According to the consumer version of this season (in the U.S., at least), excess becomes our expectation, even our norm: excess food, excess buying, excess entertainment and activity. “Enough” is a word…

Read More

Scripture Texts in “Enough” Program Guide

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | January 8, 2014

6 Key Financial Principles: 1. 2 Cor. 9:6-7 – Pay tithe and offerings first 2. Prov. 27:23f – Create budget & track expenses 3. Mt. 6:19-33 – simplify your lifestyle / live below your means 4. 1 Tim. 6:9-12 – Set up an emergency fund now 5. Prov. 22:7 – Pay off credit cards; use…

Read More

Two Resources for Family Finances

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | December 19, 2013

What might you do if you wanted to help members of your congregation hone their personal or family financial planning? Here are three resources that would encourage them and also help them with practical financial issues: 1. Freed-Up Financial Living is a terrific plug-and-play resource that gives both foundational biblical financial principles and all the…

Read More

Teaching First Fruits Living

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 1, 2011

Teaching First Fruits Living helps people put God first in their daily lives. Christian educators not only get to share the priceless knowledge about God’s presence, but also can guide people to respond to God through an essential pattern of “first fruits living.” What is “first fruits living?” It is giving to God the first…

Read More