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Posted: May 1, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Generation Change

Dave Ramsey program aims to educate younger generation on sound money practices

The youth at Red Oak United Methodist Church are studying Dave Ramsey’s, "Generation Change" to discover how money works, how God views money and how to grow into responsible young adults. The media-driven youth Bible study is designed to be both entertaining and informative and targets ages 13-18.

Red Oak’s missionary chair and youth coordinator, John Sutherland, agreed to fund the $176 study as a mission project. Sutherland believes the course will help to prepare the students as they make plans for college and careers.

"Generation Change" is taught by Ramsey via video. A typical session begins with a 10-15 minute video. The leader then will open up the class for discussion questions and Bible verses. After the second half of the video is played, the students engage in activities that apply to what they have learned from each session.

The first of the four DVD lessons, "In The Value of You" was led by Kirk and Devra Phillips who taught the students how to recognize the value they have in God’s eyes, understand that things do not have the power to define them and acknowledge the need for a loving savior. In this session, Ramsey shares his own experiences of having it all, going broke and the ever-present, sustaining power of God.

The teens were asked to make a list of 10 things that they owned and really liked. Figuratively speaking, they threw three items in the river, three in the garbage, determined which three were stolen, and as the items narrowed to one, the concept was to show them, for example, that they couldn’t live the remainder of their life with just an iPod.

In the second week, "Materialism Mayhem" led by Danny and Jana Arp, helped the youth to understand the hazards of going into debt, how to create an age-appropriate budget so debt is never an option and how cunning credit card companies try to fight for their business and brand loyalty. This lesson uncovered and explained the dangers of credit and showed how teens can protect themselves from credit card temptations.

Upcoming high school graduates Leslie Armistead, Andrea King, Jessica Uzzo and former graduate Laine Slaughter have already noted valuable lessons half-way through the Bible study. They explained how the leader held up a $20 bill and asked who wanted it. With a show of hands, the bill was crumbled, put in water and marred with mud, each time asking who still wanted it. Regardless of what condition the money was in, it was still $20. The exercise taught them that no matter what they go through, they will always have the same value to God.

Red Oak UMC evangelism chair, Martha King is concerned that many students entering college own several credit cards. Her daughter, Andrea, an 18-year-old senior at Alcovy High School, has received similar credit card offers. King read the fine print and used it as an example to show the youth how companies use marketing strategies to give the borrower a false sense of security.

In the third session, "Money Minds," Andrew and Dana Seagle will help the teens gain the tools to make wise purchases, handle money using a simple envelope system and learn the importance of saving. As they begin to witness the power of cash, they will see the practical results of saving and how quickly money adds up when they have a plan.

In the last session, "The Gift of Giving," Johnny and Tovie Duke will help the youth to grasp the concept of giving, to see that they are managers of God’s riches and give them biblical insight on how to give as their personal act of worship.

Participants keep a journal that consists of video notes and handouts for each session. The program offers a 30-day devotional for students to explore scripture passages on giving, saving and spending.

Students will journal answers to questions such as, "If you could see yourself the way God sees you, how would that change you? What would you list as your best qualities? What can you do to take the focus off yourself and put it on others that are in need around you — even in your own neighborhood?

The Rev. Miguel Valez, pastor of Red Oak UMC, said that he plans to open up the Bible study to the community every spring and fall.

"We hope that our group of teens will become mentors for their friends at high school," said Valez as he discussed how the teens can partner and help someone who has not been through the course. "We know everybody is trying to figure out how to manage their money. Being a church and a Christian-based organization, we want to teach them to do this God’s way. One of our goals in this program to teach them about their value and how to use the blessings they receive to bring God honor and glory as they build a future."

For more information or to place your name on a waiting list for the Bible study, call (770) 787-0404.

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