I realize “How Attending Church helped Me Become Rich,” is a click-baity title. But it’s true…
Building most of my social life around friends I made at church helped us become rich. This is how two normally un-connected activities, like attending church and becoming rich, became the same thing for us.
Last night, I was soaking in the hot tub at our local community center like I do on most winter nights. While relaxing, I let my mind wander freely and fearlessly. This is one of my favorite things to do because you never know what a wandering mind will find. Sometimes you can find a hidden treasure inside all the nerve endings and brain matter inside of your skull.
I followed my mind as it wandered into one of my favorite forests of thought: Money, Lifestyle, and my decisions surrounding finances. You can’t live your best life until you think about what your best life looks like.
I followed my wandering mind into these maze of thoughts. I started thinking about the decisions we’ve made to get to where we are. How have we been able to save around $300,000 in six years? The best way to visualize your future, is to examine what you’ve done in the past. Because the past is always creating the future.
As I soaked deeper into the bubbling hot tub, I asked myself, “So how exactly did we do it?” Our results have been abnormal when you compare them to the average american net-worth by age.
So what was unique about us? How were we able to create so much wealth in such a short time? We were just trying to live life the right way. So how did massive amounts of money accumulate in our bank account?
I thought deeper, trying to find the answer to the question: “What decisions did we make in our past that led to our financial results being abnormal?”
All big results in life come from a combination of small decisions, so I started thinking about the small lifestyle decisions we made. Then a big revelation started dawning in my head. I started to see the light on how we did it.
Below are the three reasons on how attending church helped make us rich:
#1 OUR CHURCH IS FILLED WITH FREE, HEALTHY ACTIVITIES 7-NIGHTS A WEEK:
Maybe we’re just super lucky to have a wildly active church 15 minutes from our house full of people our age who look, act, and think like us. (Our pastor is an old rave DJ so you’ll find more flashing LED lights than dusty old hymn books in a service. Not that hymn books are bad, they’re just not the right scene for us.) You can check our church out here: Substance Church.
But honestly, our church has a huge selection of different subgroups that meet all across the Minneapolis and St Paul metro areas. On any night of the week, you can go and meet people like you, who want to do the same activities as you, and most of these group don’t cost any money to attend. When you can get most of your lifestyle entertainment for free, that’s a huge secret weapon to save money and get rich.
For example, Amanda and I love being outside in the summers. So on Monday nights, we attend a group of walkers/hikers called, “Take a Hike (On Us!)” who meet at 6 PM and explore a new park in the metro area every week. We just walk and talk for a few miles as a group and make new friends as we explore. The only money we spend to be part of this group is the occasional tank of gas to get us to the park we’re meeting at.
But that’s not the only group we found that fits our lifestyle. When we first got married in 2015, we wanted more married friends to learn from so we joined a “Married for Life” subgroup that met at a married couple’s house. For the next three years, we met bi-weekly with other married couples and just talked about what our marriages, lives, and families were going through.
We enjoyed the subgroup lifestyle so much, that two years ago we started our own subgroup based on our blog, Wealth Well Done. So every other Wednesday night, for 6 weeks in the spring and fall, we open our house up to anyone who wants to spend 2 hours talking about saving, investing, and lifestyle design. This is the email reply we created when new people request more information:
We have about 6-10 people attend each session, and some of our best friends have come from this group. Realizing that 90% of our social groups come from free social activities like this, made me realize how much $$$$ we’re saving by not having to go out and spend money on entertainment to be with friends.
For example, a few months ago, we met some friends at a local upscale restaurant on a Friday night. I’ll admit it was a cool experience. It reminded me of being young and going to the bars and clubs on weekend nights. The restaurant felt like a happening club full of well-dressed, attractive people, and it felt cool to be there. The beers and drinks looked delicious, and our dinners were fantastic. It felt powerful to be in such a beautiful, popular, unique location and party it up on a weekend night.
But when the bill came, I remembered that that trendy and popular lifestyle is also FREAKING EXPENSIVE!!!!
We avoided the expensive drinks, but I realize we easily could have walked out of that restaurant paying a $100 bill each just to see some friends! It was such a vivid and striking moment as I compared our cheap church lifestyle, to that expensive bar and restaurant lifestyle that so many millennials are part of.
When you can make your social life cost as little as possible (Like I wrote in this classic post “The Three Horseman That Will Make You Rich and Poor”) you can naturally saving a TON of money. And saving money is one of the essential ingredients to build wealth.
#2 MY CHURCH FRIEND’S ARE THE ANTI-JONSES.
My mind kept wandering as I sat in the hot tub, and I found another revelation as to how attending church has helped make me rich.
It’s because my church friends are the “Anti-Jones’s.” You know that saying, “People go broke because they’re trying to keep up with the Jones’s?” Meaning, it’s easy to spend money and slide into debt when you’re trying to keep up with a neighbor or friend (The Jones’s) who always have a bigger house, flashier car, and most expensive clothes.
It’s true. Keeping up with the Jones’s in your life will lead you to being broke just like them. But the cool thing about the friends we’ve made in church is that they’re almost the “Anti-Jones’s.” This is what I mean:
Our friends from church are more interested in finding out what God wants them to do with their life, than they’re obsessed with always buying newer and fancier things.
When we drive up to our church, or subgroup, nobody pays attention to our older 2004 Toyota Camry with 220,000 miles on it. Nobody judges us by the jeans and sweatshirts we bought at Goodwill. Our friends don’t care about the type of stuff we own. Our friends care about our souls and who we are as people.
Our church friends are more interested in how our marriage is doing, and how God is working in our lives. They want to know what our dreams are, and what missions we’re trying to accomplish with our time alive. They probably don’t even notice what brands we’re wearing, because I don’t notice what type of brands they’re wearing.
When you have friends that don’t care about the things you own, it’s super easy to save money because there is ZERO pressure to impress anyone with luxury items that you don’t need. Because even if you did buy them, you friends wouldn’t even notice or care that you had them.
Real friends are more interested in the real you, than the version of you that is covered up with a bunch of expensive things. When you have a social group who looks past big homes, expensive cars, and flashy clothes, and tries to find the voice of God in everything, you will find that you have a huge advantage over mass America. Rather than spending a bunch of money to impress people, you can save and invest a ton of money, and build a TON of wealth along the way.
As I continued to follow my wandering mind as my body soaked in the hot tub, I stumbled onto the last big revelation on how attending church has helped me become rich:
#3 Healthy Fulfilled People Build Healthy Fulfilling Lives.
Personally, I’ve found that when I spend a lot of time seeking God, and praying to God — while simultaneously making smarter decisions — good things tend to happen to me. That’s because when you go on a mission to improve yourself, you will automatically begin to improve the quality of your life.
Thinking about money is one of my favorite things to do, but there’s one subject I love think WAY more about.
I love to challenge myself with questions like this: “How can I get better? How can I get healthier? How can I make smarter decisions that will lead me to live the life I want to live?”
When I begin to find answers to those questions, I ask myself more questions, like:
“How I do I destroy that addiction that’s holding me back? How do I remove the evil forces in my life, and replace them with Godly forces? How do I accomplish the goals I want, while remaining the moral person I want to be?”
I ask myself these questions constantly because that’s how you find the answers to unlock the doors to the future you want to live. I’m a huge believer that when you improve the quality of your inner world (your mind and spirit), you will automatically improve the quality of your outer world (The world you live in). I wrote about this philosophy I call “Mirror-Theory” in a post a few years ago. You can read it by clicking the below image:
Looking inward on yourself challenges you to see the flaws in your thinking. Once I find my flawed thinking like: greed, pride, selfishness, and lust, then I can start tearing down those flaws. I can re-build those mental flaws into strengths of being loving, caring, giving, and selflessness.
I believe that working on improving your soul, is the first step to start improving your life.
Luckily, my church friends are all about this way of thinking. Changing and growing becomes easier when you’re surrounded by friends who also want to change and grow.
In conclusion, in and odd an unexpected way, this is why going to church has helped me become rich. Once I realized that attending church and becoming rich were connected in my life, it’s a totally logical outcome. When you combine frugal living, healthy friends, and a daily discipline to improve the health of your soul, building wealth and getting rich is the natural result that occurs.
Before I close this article, I will say that not all churches are created equal. Sadly, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all-people-and-churches approach. Churches aren’t perfect and neither are the people in them. When I was looking for a church, I had to visit about six of them before I found the one that felt right to me.
But when I walked into the church that felt right for me, I felt like I had found my tribe of people that I’d been looking for my whole life. After spending a few hours hanging out with them, I said to myself, “I like these people. This place feels like my type of friends. I want to create a life with this group of people.”
Once I found my tribe of church friends, I jumped in and built my lifestyle with other positive, Godly friends, who were also on a mission to achieve their purpose in life. Being around friends who were 100% focused on improving their health, happiness, and spirituality was contagious. I wanted the same thing.
Ultimately, becoming rich, was just an unexpected byproduct of following God, disciplining my human nature, and doing everything I could to improve the person I am.
Let us know. What awesome church do you go to? I know that there may be some people out there who are looking for a great community and here is a chance to share yours.
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