Comparing Crown Ministries & Financial Peace

by Mike on March 26, 2010

There are currently two major programs that encourage financial stewardship from a Biblical perspective: Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University & Crown Financial Ministries. The programs have more similarities than differences. Both programs have helped thousands of families eliminate debt and find financial freedom while keeping God at the center of all the lessons. So which one is right for you? I can’t answer that for you. Take a look at the information side by side and decide for yourself.

The Programs
Financial Peace University (FPU) is Dave’s life-changing program that teaches you to achieve your financial goals by eliminating debt, saving for the future, and giving like never before. More than 1 million families have attended FPU with amazing results. You will be challenged and motivated to make a plan for your money and change your family tree forever!

Crown Financial Ministries®, founded in 1976, is an interdenominational ministry dedicated to equipping people around the world to learn, apply, and teach biblical financial principles. Crown has taught or equipped more than 50 million people in over 80 nations with the life-transforming message of faithfully living by God’s financial principles in every area of their lives. The ministry is located in the United States, Canada, Latin America, South America, and Africa, and is expanding into Europe, India, Asia, and Australia. Crown relies on approximately 250 employees and over 10,000 passionate volunteers worldwide to help ignite True Financial Freedom around the globe.

Mission Statements:

FPU: To empower and give HOPE to everyone from the financially secure to the financially distressed.

Crown: Equipping people worldwide to learn, apply, and teach God’s financial principles so they may know Christ more intimately, be free to serve Him, and help fund the Great Commission.

Curriculum for Churches:
Crown Ministries & Financial Peace University both offer comprehensive guides and resources to establish classes at your local assembly. The plans follow a similar course of action: present materials to the pastor, select a coordinator, establish start dates, and publicize. Crown offers a bit of flexibility in building a curriculum. There is a recommended 4-week introductory course, after that you can choose from the Crown Teaching solutions that will benefit the needs of your local church. Financial Peace University is a 13-week video curriculum that incorporates small group discussions.

FPU appears to provide a more “out of box” kit where the coordinators only need to be able to play the DVD and facilitate the discussions. This can be a benefit if you are lacking the manpower teach an entire class. Crown Ministry’s material requires a teacher which would involve more preparation. Some would welcome this personal touch.

The cost of the Financial Peace University kit is $93 per family for a lifetime membership. The host church will also need to purchase a leadership kit which is $299. This provides all the information, access, and support needed to run the curriculum.

The price for Crown is not as clear since it is dependent on the courses you choose. The recommended 4-week introductory kit is $25 plus $2.50 for every member handbook. The Crown Money Map is a popular addition, this course is $125 for a single set or $150 for couple.

The 7 Steps of each Program
The steps to get out of debt and build wealth are very similar. Take a look at them side by side:

Financial Peace \ Baby Steps
Crown \ Money Map Design

Step 1

$1000 in an emergency fund Begin using a spending plan & save $1000 for emergencies.
Step 2 Pay off all debt with the debt snowball. Pay off all credit cards and increase savings to one month’s living expenses.
Step 3 3 to 6 months in savings. Pay off all consumer debt & increase savings to 3 months living expenses
Step 4
Invest 15% of income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans.
Begin savings for major purchases (home, auto, etc.), retirement, children’s education, business
Step 5 College funding. Buy affordable home, prepay home mortgage, invest wisely.
Step 6
Pay off your home early
Home mortgage paid off, Children’s education is funded, Confirm estate plan is in order
Step 7
Build Wealth and Give!
Retirement is funded. I am free to to be more generous with my time and money.

As you can see, both plans are very similiar. In fact, Dave Ramsey credits the late Larry Burkett (co-founder of Crown) as one of his mentors who helped him get out of debt and form his thoughts and ideas on finances. (source). Both start with saving a small emergency fund and end with being free to give more because you have eliminated debt during steps and established financial security during steps 2-6. Dave Ramsey’s theme is focus. He emphasizes small wins and focusing on completing one baby step before moving to the next. There is a clear distiction of each milestone that is passed. Crown’s Money Map design allows you to start multiple initiatives at once (example save for retirement and college in the same steps).

Note: One Money Design did a full series comparing and analyzing the Baby Steps & Money Map Design. Be sure to check that out when you’re done here!

Counselor Training
These are actually two different forms of training and difficult to compare side by side. Dave Ramsey offers a boot camp all-inclusive counselor training for $2,950. This includes hotel accommodations (the class in in Brentwood, TN Tuesday-Saturday), meals, website membership and training materials. After training you can offer your services to your church, military or non-profit. You can also charge for your services if you desire. The course also grants 35 hours of education credit for certified public accountants.

The Crown Money Map training course set is $125 for a single set or $150 per couple. If you take the course as part of a small group, all you need is approval from your pastor. However, if you take the course as a self guided study, you’ll need to attend an additional 1 day workshop held by a certified Crown instructor. Money map coaches are volunteers and are listed for referals on the Crown website.

Both Crown & Financial Peace are great programs and each one has some benefits that appeal to me. When researching Crown and Financial Peace for my church I noticed that Crown’s focus was more internal while Financial Peace had the potential for more participants outside of the church. I beleive it is for this reason that some churches choose to host both Crown and Financial Peace classes.

What about you? Do you have any experience with Crown Ministries and / or Financial Peace University?

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