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Stickney UMC is building faith and financial well-being

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communication, Dakotas UMC

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Twenty-five members from the Stickney community gather each week at the United Methodist Church to learn about financial well-being. Photo by Pastor Amber Laffey.

Matt and Desirae Gahl are on a journey to help 25 community members find financial well-being. The couple lead a Financial Peace University—FPU course at the United Methodist Church in Stickney, South Dakota.

“We want to give people the chance to understand that they do not have to be burdened by their finances,” says Matt. “You can manage things, so you don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck.”

Last year, the couple attended an FPU course at the United Methodist Church in Plankinton, South Dakota, and found it to be life-changing. “We are living differently now. We are on the same page and feel so much better about our finances,” shares Desirae.

Finances can bring tension to a marriage. Matt and Desirae know that things can get tight for young families. “We see people that struggle every day. We were that way before we attended FPU. We had no idea where we were spending our money.”

Twenty-five people gather each Wednesday, at Stickney UMC. “We are so excited to see people attend,” says Desirae. “We put the word out through flyers, bulletins, on social media, and just prayed people would come. They did.”

Childcare is provided by a local 4-H club so that families with young children can feel free to attend — there about 6-10 children that participate each week.

Gahls see FPU as an integral part of their faith journey. They see the scriptural message in every lesson. “Each week, the lesson has a scripture that guides the discussion,” says Desirae.

“We have always been involved in church and trying to live out our faith,” says Matt. “But through the lessons, we can see how finances and faith go together. “

The young couple has noticed that this year has been a challenge for many in their community who depend on farming and agriculture for their income. The wet spring and fall have caused a decrease in yield and income for many.

“It has been a rough year for a lot of people around here. Having this opportunity is important, especially for the guys. They don’t always want to talk about financial matters a lot,” says Matt.

The congregation in Stickney applied for a Breakthrough Ministry grant to launch Financial Peace University. The grant is paying for the materials or kit that each participant or couple needs and also for childcare. The next grant application deadline is January 31; get the application and instructions here. For questions about the application process, contact Diane Weller in the Foundation office.

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Listening and learning at Financial Peace University in Stickney. Photos by Pastor Amber Laffey.

“It has been inviting to be able to tell people that they do not have to pay for the kit and the childcare, especially if they are struggling financially,” says Desirae.

The ten-week course will end in March. People are showing up each week and sharing.

Desirae and Matt say, “You know anyone can come and speak about finances and what to do. But this helps you walk through it with each other. It is inviting to people. We are thankful that people are coming.”


Financial Ministry Grant — Recieve funding for a financial education course for your congregation and/or your community. The Financial Ministry Grant is available through January 31. Get details here

Apply for a Breakthrough Ministry Grant —Projects supported through Breakthrough Ministry grants include: new ministries and expansion of existing ministries to reach new people, ministries that create church and school partnerships,  ministries that build relationships with college students or other young adults, programs that help individuals hear and discern their call to ministry and technology that will enhance mission and ministry impact. Apply by January 31 here


Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 AC2020 slider 2.jpg 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000