When Jonathan Marrero and his wife, Marilyn, attended Financial Peace University years ago, God began calling him to trust and surrender his personal finances—and teaching him to use what he was learning to serve others.
Now he and Marilyn both serve with the stewardship ministry at the Summit, coaching others on personal financial principles that honor God. As Jonathan counseled people at the church, he also felt he could offer something to his coworkers, who often talked about their financial struggles.
“I would hear people talking about their lights getting cut off or worrying about a paycheck being late,” he said. “And I thought I could do something to help.”
Using what he had learned from Financial Peace University and the stewardship ministry, Jonathan submitted a training proposal to his boss. At first, he was skeptical about doing a training in which he couldn’t mention God or his faith explicitly.
Jonathan prayed, asking God to make it very clear whether or not he should do the trainings for his coworkers. “God has been extremely present in all of it. He answered prayer in a very tangible way for me,” he said.
Blair Graham, Pastor of Stewardship and Generosity, also encouraged him to use his gifts, saying, “God’s going to be there when you speak.”
Once Jonathan’s work approved his proposal, he started doing big trainings twice per year starting in 2017. In each training, he covers the psychological aspects of spending money, how to set up a budget, and other positive steps, like paying off debt.
Since then, coworkers have approached him sharing their joy after starting a savings account, creating a budget for the first time, cutting their phone bill, or rethinking their expenses.
After one of his trainings for employees in Chicago, one person told him, “I know God sent you because I really needed to hear this.”
Given the financial uncertainties many families are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jonathan recently shared financial tips with everyone who has participated in the training. He also included some guidance on wise stewardship of the stimulus check many of them received.
Jonathan embodies the Summit’s values of making disciples and living on mission, using the knowledge God has given him to bless others. He's had new opportunities for spiritual conversations and godly influence in people's lives that he would not have otherwise.
He encourages those who are experiencing financial hardship to seek out their church community and go to God with their burdens.
“Pray consistently—go to your Father, he knows. And be open to saying [to others] ‘I need help.’”
Marilyn and Jonathan urge those who have expertise in financial stewardship to use those gifts to bless others.
“I think this can be a great encouragement for our people to serve in the areas God has called them to, and given them a passion for, even if they are not able to directly share the gospel in a traditional sense,” she said.
“Whether it's in their workplace, neighborhood, school, or other areas of influence, God is in them and can work in really powerful ways through them.”