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.

Cost:
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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March 27, 2010 at 10:17 pm

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black March 26, 2010 at 7:18 am

Love this post. What a great job you did summarizing the two programs. Thank you so much! I am familiar with Crown in general, but I must say that Dave’s bold, in your face approach resonated with me more. It’s like a simplified version of Crown’s, if you think about it. But ultimately incorporates the same principles. Dave is quite a bit less… subtle, I guess you could say, and offer the kick in the pants that his listeners need!

Crown is more like the softer, gentler approach, offering lessons and guidance for those who are seeking it; not necessarily dragging people out of their doldrums like Dave’s fiery-speak, making people realize how lost they really are.

And thus ends my rambling. :)
.-= Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black´s last blog ..Birthday Indulgences =-.

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PF Journey March 26, 2010 at 10:40 am

Thanks Jolyn! I agree that Dave’s wake-up call was the shaking I needed as well. Though, some people are turned off by his “in your face” approach. At the end of the day, I’m glad both programs exist.

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Dana March 26, 2010 at 7:19 am

It was Larry Burkett (co-founder of Crown Ministries) who got us on the road for being debt free and living on one income. His program was called “Christian Financial Concepts” before it merged with Crown Ministries. Many of his books are still available today in Christian book stores. The principles are biblical and sound. I can definitely recommend Crown Ministries for those who need help. It is so worth the investment both time wise and money wise.
.-= Dana´s last blog ..Morning Roundup – Living On One Income, Recycling Rewards, Being Prodigal, Leasing vs. Buying =-.

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PF Journey March 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

Thanks for that extra tidbit of information! I’ll look for some of his books. If you want to write a review of one of his books here….let me know!

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Patrenia March 26, 2010 at 9:05 am

This is a great comparison of the two programs. I didn’t realize how huge Crown Financial’s program was and hadn’t heard of it until a few months ago. I can’t speak for Crown’s program, but I really liked Dave’s (FPU), it was a great resource for me in helping to achieve financial freedom. Overall, it looks like the are both great resources and have helped many to take control of their finances.

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Lakita (PFJourney) March 26, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I didn’t realize that at first either. Crown has a huge following and has been around a long time

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Peter March 26, 2010 at 11:56 am

Great post!

I’ve taken the FPU class, in addition to facilitating it at our church. It’s a great class that isn’t hard for any church to have available because of the in depth video lessons that don’t require a trained rep to teach, and because the materials really offer everything you need to get back on track.

I’ve also heard great things about Crown’s course and I’m sure you can’t go wrong with either course!
.-= Peter´s last blog ..How To File Your Federal Taxes For Free =-.

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Lakita (PFJourney) March 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I’d be happy for the opportunity to facilitate either one in the future!

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Carlos Frank March 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for doing this! I was introduced to Crown before Dave Ramsey and I’d have to agree with the both you and Jolyn that Dave’s approach is what woke me up and matches more of my style! I love you but I got to tell you the truth even if it hurts.

The one thing thing about Crown that is also different is that they are ok with you having credit cards and actually have you budget for credit in the budget sheets. I’m not for this, but I’m glad that they also say that once you have one month where you are not able to pay the balance off that you should cut up your credit cards and pay them off!
.-= Carlos Frank´s last blog ..How to use the Free Debt Reduction Snowball Calculator from Vertex42 =-.

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Lakita (PFJourney) March 26, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Great point Carlos! Dave has taken a “no nonsense” approach when it comes to credit cards that leaves no room for them….at all, period. I didn’t think to compare their views on credit cards….that is a major difference. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Jason @ One Money Design March 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Lakita, great overview of Crown and Dave Ramsey and I appreciate the link back to my series at OMD. I think there is some general confusion for people in deciding between the programs and you’ve provided an excellent resource for people here. Personally, I haven’t taken Dave’s FPU (I’ve read the Total Money Makeover), but have taken the Crown Biblical Financial Small Group Study, led it and also taken the Money Map Coach training. I love Crown Financial Ministries. I’ve learned to manage our finances according to God’s plan through their resources. I’m grateful to continually be equipped by them and because of this I’m able to share much of my learning with others over at OMD and in Money Map Coaching.

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PF Journey March 30, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Thanks Jason! I’m loving the diverse response from people that have experience with FPU and Crown. Thanks for your insight!

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Matt Bell March 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Great post, Lakita. There’s another national program out there: Good $ense (http://www.goodsenseministry.com). I also teach biblical money management workshops at churches and other places around the country.
One issue I have with FPU is it saves generosity for step 7, which is hard to reconcile with the Bible’s teaching of “firstfruits” giving. While I know biblical money management is often misunderstood as being only about giving, I also believe we sell the Bible short when we hold back on teaching generosity as our first financial priority. It’s how we were designed to live.

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PF Journey March 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Matt,

I’ll have to take a closer look at Good Sense. That’s the first time I’ve heard of it.

You have a valid issue, though it is not that they are saving giving until last…it is more like a declaration that now that you’re free from debt you can give MORE.
At least, that is how I see it.

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krazgolfman June 4, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Hey. I wanted to point out to those who read Matt Bell’s post. Dave DOES teach about generosity and “first fruits” giving and he does NOT save it for baby step 7. In fact, if you take a look at Dave’s Cash Flow Plan you will see that giving is the top line item!

http://a248.e.akamai.net/f/1611/26335/9h/dramsey.download.akamai.com/23572/daveramsey.com/media/pdf/forms/fpu_monthly_cash_flow_plan_forms.pdf

Here is an example. This is Dave’s answer to a question about giving on his radio show. Want to hear the call? Heres the link to it on Dave’s web site…

http://www.mytotalmoneymakeover.com/index.cfm?event=dspAskDave&intContentItemId=9358

Better To Be A Giver
Pablo is still on Baby Step 2 and wants to know if he should still be tithing while he’s paying off debt.

QUESTION: Pablo is on Dave’s plan. He wants to know Dave’s stance on tithing when you are on Baby Step 2. They make $115,000 a year but stopped tithing in January, and he doesn’t like it.

ANSWER: Tithing means first fruits; giving off the top before you do anything. From a Christian perspective, you have to look at a couple of things when asking about the tithe. First, it’s not about what you or I think of it, it’s what God thinks of it. What is He asking you to do? It’s not a salvation issue either. If you don’t do it, the world won’t come to an end. This is your Heavenly Father, who is crazy about you, saying this is the best way to live your life, by giving. God has us give because He’s a giver, and we’re made in His image. The goal of this is to make us more in His image each day. We’re more attuned to our spiritual DNA when we are giving. Don’t give out of a performance-based or legal-based mindset, or because God will give back to you. Your life is simply better when you give, and you should give.

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Khaleef @ KNS Financial June 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I am actually commenting on Dave’s advice that you place here. Tithing DOES NOT mean first fruits or giving off the top. The word simply means “a tenth” and that’s all. God is not asking New Testament christians to pay a tenth of their income to their church. The tithes were specific TAXES that God required from the Israelites to fund the nation – just like our taxes do today. True giving to God in both the Old and New Testament is always voluntary, sacrificial and from the heart.

I am working on a series of articles on Biblical Giving, and have first started off with the issue of tithing. I don’t want to spam Lakita’s site with links, so just look at the commentluv link under this comment if you want to read my full view.
.-= Khaleef @ KNS Financial´s last blog ..What Does the New Testament Teach About Tithing? =-.

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Joseph |kickdebtoff.com March 26, 2010 at 10:28 pm

We have been through the Dave Ramsey’s FPU and read alot of his PF books. We havave adopted alot of his strategies and modified some and it has worked for us since we got married short of two years. I have recently been going through Crown Financial Literature and and as you noted they have alot of similarities.
.-= Joseph |kickdebtoff.com´s last blog ..Dangerous Internet Scams =-.

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Prince of Thrift March 27, 2010 at 6:26 am

I grew up with Christian Financial Concepts (now Crown)half hour program with Larry Burkett on Christian radio. However, it wasn’t until I heard John Cummutta’s and Dave Ramsey’s programs that I really started getting serious about getting out of debt.

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Kendra March 28, 2010 at 2:03 pm

We are going through FPU right now and greatly enjoy it. My husband also went through Crown before we met. I think they both do a great job. It is worth noting that Dave’s program is much more friendly to the secular audience – you don’t need to be a believer to benefit from his program. Crown, as I understand it, would have less appeal to a non-believer.

Thanks for offering your comparison.

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Lakita (PFJourney) March 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Kendra,

I got that impression as well! When I was looking for a financial management program to compliment our church’s outreach package, my suggestion was Financial Peace because of the same reason you noted. However, Crown would be great “in reach” like a Bible Study or Sunday school series.

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Divine and Debt Free March 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Great summary of both!! I personally have not been through crown ministries but I have heard about it. I have taken financial peace university and currently host the class at my apartment complex for a small group and its great! I think both can be beneficial.

I wanted to comment though on what matt said about fpu giving. If you take financial peace university you will quickly learn that Dave does actually put tithing before everything aka “first fruits” The giving in step 7 is more about giving MORE than the 10% and being able to sew into peoples lives much more than you could before. The word talks about not taking care of your family is worse than being an unbeliever certainly you tithe but doing more than that while your in debt is just a bit out of order. I certainly still give even when I don’t have it necessarily to give above my tithes but when im debt free the sky is pretty much the limit. I think the ceiling breaks once you become debt free except for the house but boy if you have not even a house payment??? that might make one feel a bit like Oprah on christmas lol

I will be debt fee by October 14th God willing!!
.-= Divine and Debt Free´s last blog ..Gratitude Friday and Weather Changes =-.

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Steve Stewart March 30, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Thank you so much for this post Lakita. I am a Dave Ramsey Trained Counselor and a Certified Financial Peace University Workplace Trainer and am a complete Dave Ramsey fanboy (see DaveRamseyFan.WordPress.com). I am often asked about the difference between the two and I would have to preface my answer with “I’ve never taken Crown but…” which discounts anything I have to say after that. Your comparison will help me answer honestly and I can forward them to your post as a source.
BTW – I am mostly excited when asked this question because someone IS ABOUT TO CHANGE THEIR FINANCIAL LIVES, whether they take Goodcents, FPU, or Crown! Woohoo! We all learn to be better givers either way.

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PF Journey March 30, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Awesome point! No matter which course they take a financial change is about to happen!

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Divine and Debt Free March 30, 2010 at 6:25 pm

wow Steve can you share the trained counselor experience with me? I want to become one ONE DAY I think that is the coolest thing ever!!!
.-= Divine and Debt Free´s last blog ..Back In Motion =-.

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Ken March 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm

I have been through Crown and FPU. Crown is more biblically based and less practical and step by step than FPU. But to be fair I have not done Money Map portion. FPU is 13 weeks of comprehensive teaching and training. I’m a bit biased toward FPU because I have coordinated it for the past 3 years. I think Crown has good concepts as well.
.-= Ken´s last blog ..Is Permanent Insurance Ever Beneficial? =-.

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Joe Plemon April 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Lakita,
Because I am a certified Dave Ramsey counselor and have led several FPU classes, your title caught my attention. The post was VERY well done, showing you have a good grasp on both Crown and FPU. I knew little about Crown, although I have read some Larry Burkett books, but I was amazed at how the 7 steps are so similar.
Thanks for doing the research and putting this together.

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Khaleef @ KNS Financial April 29, 2010 at 9:51 am

Great article! I knew nothing about Dave Ramsey before reading this. I have heard his name from other bloggers, but that wasn’t until about 2 months ago (I guess that’s what I get for not watching tv or listening to the radio).

I actually was introduced to sound personal finance concepts through The Motley Fool. Once I became a born-again believer, I was introduced to Larry Burkett and Christian Financial Concepts through his radio program. Through these concepts I was able to almost become debt free – until I was hit with a few setbacks (unemployment, health, MASSIVE student loans, marriage, etc).

Since then, I decided to become a financial advisor (part time for now) focusing on biblical principles. It has been very encouraging to see that there are so many Christian PF bloggers that I can learn from – now seeing the two larger programs agree with much of what I believe and practice is great!

Thanks again!!!
.-= Khaleef @ KNS Financial´s last blog ..Should I Cosign For a Loan? – What the bible teaches about pledging yourself for another’s debt. =-.

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PF Journey April 29, 2010 at 9:54 am

I’m glad you were able to glean helpful information from the article! You mentioned becoming a financial advisor…check out today’s post. Its a guest post from a fellow Christian PF blogger on his experience going through the Dave Ramsey financial counselor training:

http://personalfinancejourney.com/2010/04/dave-ramsey-training-experience/

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Still Deciding... June 29, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Thank you so much for this article! I know I need one of these courses, but I didn’t know which one. Now, I can make an informed decision!

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H. Ray Alkalai January 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm

check out this link… http://www.rodneyballance.com

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kathy sullivan October 24, 2010 at 1:52 pm

You have the wrong Crown program to compare to Financial Peace. The Crown course that is most popular and effective is the 10 week Adult Bublical Financial Study that has been around for over 25 years. It is $45 for an individual and $55 for a couple. It is taught in a small group setting with a trained facilitator(s). It utilitzes a combination of daily bible study, weekly financial practical application assignments with 10 weeks of 2 hour meetings with interactive discussions and accountability for life transformation.

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Derrik Hubbard, CFP January 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

We’ve done both the Crown 10-week study and FPU at our church.

I appreciate both ministries and how millions of people are being free financially through their programs (and others).

I’ve described the difference in programs as:

Crown is a Bible Study with practical application support
FPU is a practical application study with biblical principles support

Not sure if that’s the best summary, but maybe it will help others.

For what it’s worth, our experience is that our congregation is responding better to FPU in that it is better scratching their itch of the issues they are currently facing and struggling with. I love and respect Crown immensely, but I get the feeling that people are struggling financially so much that they are less interested in a Bible Study at this point in their life. Please don’t misunderstand, the Word of God is life changing and powerful, but our congregation has responded better to the practically-focused program to get them out of debt and engage them emotionally in the process.

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Mainstay Ministries April 20, 2011 at 2:57 am

These are two great programs for the congregation. Great idea!

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Corey Hambrick August 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I have been through both programs and I have to say that I think Dave Ramsey, while good, leads people in some wrong directions.

The thing I like about Crown is they are seeking to change your heart, not just your habits. When I say that Dave Ramsey leads people in the wrong direction, I don’t mean to slam FPU. It teaches people some important things about money and handling it, but I think sometimes it leads people into Idolatry.

Here is what I mean. If you ask yourself questions like, what will make you happy? What do you need, etc. Many times Dave Ramsey’s philosophy I think leads people to idolize being financially free, that becomes the goal or the idol to worship. I think the above summary about FPU being practical with biblical principles is a fair description. He quotes biblical passages but in my opinion, he does not ground you to scripture the way that Crown does.

That is why in my opinion, and this is all this is, I support Crown more then Dave Ramsey. Again, let me be clear. I like what Dave Ramsey is doing and saying. There is a lost world out there that wants nothing to do with the Bible and Christianity and they listen to Dave Ramsey and follow him closely. They need his FPU. But for Christians, I would rather encourage people to seek out and use Crown because ultimately what we need is not biblical principles about handling our money, what we need is a change of our heart that only comes through scripture. That is what will change the way we handle money.

Just my opinion.

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H. Ray Alkalai January 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm

check out http://www.facebook.com/financialMinistryOutreach and see what you think.

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Laurie McGee October 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Hi,

After much digging on both the Crown and Dave Ramsey websites, it appears that the Dave Ramsey site is driven more by $$ and less Christ driven than Crown. Just an observation. Is it me, or did anyone else come to that conclusion.

In Christ,

Laurie

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H. Ray Alkalai January 22, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Those are great programs with awesome teachings… they do have a small downside… the cost to the organization is significant… check out a program recently launched by a well know author and university professor…Rodney Ballance… at http://www.rodneyballance.com the program not only teaches you how to easily and methodically how to get out of debt… it shows you how you can accumulate wealth for your family and you… I am the ambassador in Minnesota for this program and am very proud to represent a program that is offered for free to religious organizations and a small fee for participants…

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RY Robertson March 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Dave Ramsey’s FPU is where “it’s” at! I love his motivating and yet simple baby steps that lead you to true financial peace. My wife and I are newly weds and have already paid off much of our debt by using Dave’s “debt snowball” technique. I love that Dave gives practical advice for people to start planning for the future (i.e. how to start and protect a 401k and the difference between a 401k and 403b). I have not done much research in Larry Burkett’s model, but I can definitely say that Dave Ramsey’s works and works well! Finally, I love how he incorporates a Christian worldview into his material and gives you great tips on how to bless people with your wealth. “Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else!”

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Emmanuel July 20, 2012 at 11:02 am

Really cool post, highly informative and professionally written..Good Job

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Kasie Lewandowsky August 10, 2012 at 3:01 am

Real nice style and design and excellent subject material, nothing at all else we need :D.

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Peter Oliver October 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Amazing blog mate

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Terry N. Bailey October 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

Great information. I’ve been a follower and strong advocate of Dave Ramsey since 2002. FPU changed my life and I’m actually facilitating and FPU session now. FPU is now 9 weeks rather than the 13 weeks it used to be. I never heard of Crown until earlier today, so I decided to Google it and landed on this page. Thanks so much for the great side-by-side comparison. I’ve heard Dave Ramsey mention Larry Burkett in FPU. I will definitely check out Crown’s website!!

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Mike October 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thanks for the comments Terry!

Reply

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