Having been an active participant in the El Monte Wesleyan Christian Church (EMWCC) in El Monte, California for over twenty-six years, Rev. Asdrubal Chacon is familiar with the unique blessings of a life of service. “I started attending this church as a regular member, working with the worship team, the youth, and then after that on the local board of administration. Sometime later, I worked as an assistant pastor, and then the Lord called me to the ministry,” Chacon reflected.
Now fourteen years into his service as senior pastor of a bilingual church, Chacon has found both joys and challenges in the work of helping his congregation take on the character of Christ.
Part of that work includes building opportunities for EMWCC to be generous towards their community (and each other). Their food bank serves 75-100 families, and their small groups focus on how attendees can come alongside each other in the rhythms of everyday life.
Yet even as the church focused on taking care of others, Rev. Chacon experienced the difficulty many pastors face in focusing on their own budgets, financial literacy, and future goals. Even as he grew more responsible in stewarding the church’s focus, his own financial focus needed help.
“For me, TFI caused a change of mentality… 43 years was a long time of having an old mentality to change,” Chacon offered. “It helped me very much, especially with organizing my debt… I had a very large debt with credit cards and car loans; so I sat down with my wife, and we organized everything, and came out with a resolution that within six months, we would get rid of all our debt.”
As the Chacon family worked to meet that goal, they began to live out another value in their family: generosity toward others. “When I started the program, I realized I was missing out on the opportunity to be generous; but through TFI, praise the Lord, I have experienced the joy of giving,” Chacon shared.
The financial education Rev. Chacon experienced through TFI strengthened their ability to accomplish their goals, and helped build wise practices of stewardship that have rippled into their congregation.
“Once a year, we talk about stewardship,” said Chacon. “Our goal for this year is to structure our church to use TFI for discipleship… opening the opportunity for the church to hear this and be blessed by it will affect the church directly, but also help people and their families understand how we can be good stewards of what God has put into our hands.”
Rev. Chacon’s wife, Maria, also works as a pastor, even as she continues secular employment. Living bivocationally, the Chacon family knows the obstacles many pastors (especially Hispanic pastors) face when trying to take on more financial education. “Commitment and follow-through are two of the main obstacles,” said Chacon. “We see this in every aspect of people’s lives–people’s health, people’s churches, people’s jobs or their spouses–many of our lives require commitment to do this and follow through. That carries people away, because they may not understand or see the blessing that this program can bring to their lives.”
Despite these obstacles, Rev. Chacon urges pastors to continue using TFI as a tool for financial freedom and discipleship.
To explore how TFI could be a blessing for your own financial well-being–and to see more stories like Rev. Chacon’s, visit wesleyan.org/TFI.