As we gear up for our 10th FPU class, we thought it would be helpful to feature a short interview with our FPU coordinators Paul and Bethel Cleveland. If you have never taken this life-changing class, consider signing up today.  Our next class begins on March 3rd.

1. How did you first get introduced to Dave Ramsey and FPU and when did you first take the class?

When we became engaged 5 years ago, Paul bought the online version of the class for us. We each took the class at our own leisure and then discussed it with each other. We made the decision to never use credit cards again. This was our first real introduction to Dave Ramsey and his baby steps.

2. How did the class help your personal finances? 

FPU truly put us on the same page in our finances. Taking it while engaged was the best thing we could do. When we got married, we quickly combined our finances and started living on a monthly zero-based budget where every dollar has a name. Because of Dave Ramsey’s teachings, we are debt-free, have a 6-month emergency fund and the right amount of insurance, and are contributing both to our retirement and our girl’s college funds.

3. When did you first begin leading the class at Faith and what drew you to the FPU ministry?

We married in October of 2008. While on a trip to NC over Christmas, we were listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast. We had been seriously praying about a ministry where we could serve. One of the calls on the radio that day was from FPU coordinators who were offering FPU at their church and seeing the difference that made in people’s lives. We discussed it together and decided this was the ministry to which God was leading us. We had Pastor and Jill over for dinner in mid-January and asked if we could bring this ministry to our church. Pastor readily agreed that this was a necessary and vital ministry to bring to our church. We began leading the class in March of 2009.

4. Do you know how many families have gone through the class at Faith?

We have had over 140 units (single, couple, or family) take FPU at our church. This does not take into account those who have taken it multiple times. We encourage those who are not part of this count to consider joining our next class starting March 3rd.  All previous class members are welcome to take it again as part of their lifetime membership.

5. Do you know how much debt these families have paid off while taking this class?

In each class, we have added up the class debt at the beginning of the class and the end of the class. In every class, significant amounts of debt are paid off.  This is caused by class members making the conscious decision to consistently apply what they are learning, allowing them to win in their finances. One of our favorite things about leading this ministry is having former class members come up and share what a positive impact the class has made in their relationships and finances.

6. I’ve heard that FPU has undergone some changes.  Can you explain what has changed? 

Yes, FPU has changed. The 13-week course has become a 9-week course with additional sessions available to watch online. The class format is now a half-hour shorter allowing us to offer FPU during the Sunday school hour. In addition, all the materials and online experience have been updated. The first time FPU was filmed, they tried to make it as universally usable as possible so it could be used in churches and community groups. This time they have created a “Church FPU” more specifically aimed to lead Believers to a better understanding of the Scriptures in regards to money.

7. Would it be profitable to someone who has already taken the class to take it again?

This class starting on March 3rd makes 10 times that we have taken FPU. We feel strongly that it is always beneficial to take the class again. Each time we travel through FPU, we are in a different place in our finances and we more keenly absorb Dave’s principles for that baby step. One of our favorite aspects to the class is that the small groups provide not only accountability, but also fellowship with other believers that we would not have come to know otherwise. This class is beneficial every time.

8. In our society, debt is so common place.  It is expected.  Being in debt is ‘normal.’  And yet, in FPU, Dave Ramsey encourages everyone to get out of debt and to stay out of debt. In your opinion, why is it so important to get out of debt?

The importance of being debt free is where it will lead you. In FPU, we come to understand that careful financial planning will take us to a place where we can impact the kingdom of God significantly by our generous giving. This is the whole point: LIVE like no one else, so later you can GIVE like no one else.

9. Is there anything else that you would like to share?

Yes. Since Paul has been driving 56 miles to work for the last 4 1/2 years and he feels called to continue on with The Jesus Film Project, we feel it is best for our family to sell our home here in Winter Haven and make the move to the Orlando area. So, we will be leaving Faith in May. The FPU ministry will continue. Nate and Raquel Noel will be trained as the FPU coordinators throughout this class and take on this ministry as their own in the fall. As always, we can use more help in this ministry, so if you wish to be a part of this ministry that is changing lives and marriages for the better, please let us know. It has been our privilege to be used of God in this ministry at Faith. We pray that it continues to make a significant impact in our church. Thank you for allowing us to serve you through FPU. We love you all.

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