The FSMP began working directly with households in 2005. After an inauspicious start, using traditional budgeting methods, we changed our approach and, in 2006 and 2007, the families we worked with began making lasting changes, significantly improving their financial stewardship. Instead of looking backwards to assess where money had been spent, we took a future perspective and assigned priorities to cash as it became available. Therefore, the FSMP holds rigorously to a cash-based accounting approach and a simple system of prioritization that allows families to weigh the options ahead of them and choose to spend in accordance with their values and priorities, as well as the amount of cash they have to spend. The program cuts through the clutter and confusion of our complex financial system and helps participants avoid the pitfalls presented by an ever-present media providing frequent, insistent, and effective enticements to borrow and spend.
In 2006, we drafted the first versions of the manual that we still use today to work with individuals and households as we implement the 10-week technical program and in 2008, we wrote the technical mentor training manual. In 2010, we wrote a spiritual manual and developed a five-week spiritual program that presents the biblical principles of stewardship to our participants. This is a refresher for many and new information for others; in both cases, it lays important ground work for making the hard decisions that may be required as the technical program progresses.
As the FSMP became effective, we began to hear about the benefits and long-term changes that were occurring in households who worked with us. Today, we have a waiting list of those looking for answers based on biblical principles of stewardship, that come first to the heart and then to the check ledger.