ABHMS staff member invited to speak to CFPB director

By Jennifer Sanborn
Program Director, In Support of Excellence
American Baptist Home Mission Societies

You have five minutes to describe to a senior government official the economic realities and needed interventions for people in the midst of COVID-19.

What do you say?

When invited to be one of six nonprofit leaders to speak with the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on a group telephone call on April 8, I used my precious minutes to emphasize the need for partnership in protecting the most vulnerable. As the only faith leader on the call, I described that—in addition to providing religious guidance in the ways my listeners might expect—our churches collaborate with their communities to offer food, childcare, health care, translation of critical documents and a bridge to social services. I connected the economic vitality of our congregations to sustaining and expanding support networks for people living on society’s margins.

I invited my nonprofit and government partners to speak to and through religious communities, using the trust we’ve engendered to help people responsibly access government-sponsored financial support, utilize tools to manage ever-changing resources and avoid scams. And now I invite you to continue this circle of connection, welcoming the expertise, resources and guidance of those within and beyond the church in ministering to people’s financial health.

Since 2019, American Baptist Home Mission Societies and the CFPB have partnered to offer training in the “Your Money, Your Goals” (YMYG) toolkit, equipping clergy and lay leaders to have inspired and practical conversations about money. The YMYG toolkit is free, accessible and translated into multiple languages. You can also customize the resources for your ministry, selecting the tools you believe people need most.

One of the bureau staff members who led the creation of the YMYG toolkit grew up in an American Baptist congregation. We didn’t know this connection when we applied to receive training support from the CFPB, but we shouldn’t have been surprised. God is always working across time, through unexpected companions.

To join the remaining virtual YMYG training sessions on dealing with debt, understanding credit, navigating financial services and more, email me at [email protected] As Holy Week gives way to holy work, and we witness the crucifying realities of this time, let us use every resource available to plan for resurrection.