Do I have to be living and working in the United States or Canada to participate in the Faith & Finances Facilitator Certification Course?
Yes. While the online coursework can be completed anywhere with Internet access, the strategies themselves are designed for practitioners in the US/Canada. In some cases, public policy and government regulations directly impact the strategies that churches are able to employ.
Why do I have to be a Christian to be certified in Faith & Finances?
The mission of the Chalmers Center is to equip the local Christian church with holistic strategies for reducing poverty. We see poverty not just as the absence of material goods, but also as a brokenness that exists in all of our primary relationships (with God, self, others, and the rest of creation). Our training materials are designed to point people to Jesus Christ as one who can help restore these broken relationships. We seek to partner with people who share these commitments as a framework for working in poverty alleviation.
Why do I have to sign a training agreement?
The purpose of the training agreement is to maintain the quality of Chalmers’ training programs and establish the terms of the training relationship between Chalmers and the Certified Facilitator. We believe that curriculum is only one piece of a quality training program. The skill, knowledge, attitudes, and experience of the Facilitators using the curriculum play a significant role in how well people learn. The training agreement outlines how Facilitators can use and share the curriculum so that high quality of the learning is upheld. The training agreement also outlines the reporting requirements for Facilitators during their two-year certification period.
Must I pay to be re-certified after the first two-year certification period?
Facilitators are encouraged to apply for recertification every 2 years to maintain access to new Faith & Finances curriculum revisions, downloadable materials, Spanish language translations, and to remain connected to the network of Chalmers’ practitioners. Certified Facilitators can continue to use the training materials they received without any additional cost per the copyright and distribution requirements.
Why do I have to report data to Chalmers?
The Chalmers Center seeks to create a network of Certified Facilitators who are using Faith & Finances in a variety of settings. Reports help to close the feedback loop in two ways. First, reporting provides Chalmers and other Facilitators with insight about best practices and challenges in using the training materials. This helps all of us to improve our curriculum and training, better serving the church and the poor around the nation. Secondly, by collecting key demographic data on the participants in Faith & Finances, Chalmers Center can better tell the story of how the church is impacting low- to moderate-income people through holistic financial education.
What is distinct about Chalmers’ financial education curriculum, Faith & Finances?
The Faith & Finances curriculum was created specifically for local churches and organizations who want to address the needs of low-income or struggling people through financial education. Faith & Finances is designed to be:
- Participatory—engages learners through interactive opportunities for participants to share and grow (not lecture based). Models that facilitators are not “experts,” but involved with their participants through a relational process.
- Streamlined—brings together biblical and technical content seamlessly. We’ve done the hard work of scripting simple yet proficient sessions, giving you opportunity to focus on creating dialogue around crucial financial concepts.
- Contextualized—designed specifically for the everyday realities of financially vulnerable adults who have some level of personal debt, no emergency fund, few budgeting skills, and a net worth near or below zero.
- Asset-based—assumes that God has given each participant experiences and skills that are essential for learning together.
- Biblically Integrated—invites participants to move beyond behaviorist “ought-to’s” to draw closer to Jesus and to one another, exploring the role that their finances play in His kingdom.
Who should sign up for the Faith & Finances Facilitator Certification course?
Facilitators may be staff or volunteers, clergy or laypersons who are interested in engaging in relational ministry with people who are struggling financially. More important than having a “financial background,” facilitators should be relational and accessible both during and outside of training. They should have a strong ability to hold participants accountable to their commitments and persuade them to take action. The ideal facilitator will have completed at least 2 years of college and successfully managed their own finances for at least five years.
Is there any way to become a Facilitator without doing the four-week online orientation? Or—Can I become certified without attending the live training event?
No. Facilitators will need to register for and complete the online part of the course and attend all of the sixteen hours of the live event training in order to be certified.
If I am certified as a Facilitator, why can’t I train others Facilitators in my organization and across my networks?
While the concepts and technical ideas in Chalmers’ curriculum are simple to understand and implement, we believe that good training necessitates a guided process of action and reflection. The facilitator certification course adequately prepares a facilitator to lead a financial literacy training at the community level. However, to properly equip others to be Facilitators, additional training in adult education principles and practices, curriculum design, and evaluation of facilitator competency is required.
How can I become a Lead Trainer so I can certify others to facilitate Faith & Finances?
Taking the Faith & Finances Facilitator Certification course is the first step to becoming a Lead Trainer. Evidence of the successful implementation of a Faith & Finances class will be part of the application process to become a Lead Trainer. However, the process of how to define, mentor, and equip Lead Trainers is still being explored. We will announce it as soon as it is available.
How can I learn more about matched savings accounts/Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)?
Visit our Matched Savings / IDA Toolkit page.