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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Hartman prepares students financially

Wednesday, October 24, 2007  
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By Kristin Cumbie

Missionary in Residence, Kent Hartman, is preparing students for the future by teaching the Personal and Family Finance course at Oklahoma Christian University.

“It seems wise to me to see what God says about money,” Hartman said.

After graduating from Oklahoma Christian in 1977 Hartman and his wife Nancy served on the mission field in Australia for nearly two decades.

“They were widely liked and respected among the student body,” Lynn McMillon, dean of the college of Biblical studies, said. “When they came back I thought, ‘What a perfect couple to be missionaries in residence.’”

When Hartman returned to Oklahoma Christian he proposed the idea of the Personal and Family Finance class.

“I think he [McMillon] was a bit surprised when I suggested a course that was not in missions,” Hartman said.

The course began in the fall of 2002 and was originally offered only one semester out of the year. As the enrollment numbers grew, the amount of times the class was offered increased as well.

This semester the class meets every Sunday night from 7:00 to 9:30.

“I enrolled in the class mainly because I had heard that it was the best class any college student could take,” junior, Luke Panter said. “I think this particular class has been worth giving up my Sunday nights,” Panter said.

Some students believe the class should be made mandatory for all Oklahoma Christian students.

“I would absolutely recommend this class to others, and I believe it should be a mandatory class for all students,” junior Jonathan Niccum said. “Personal and Family Finance is most likely the most practical class, for everyday life, out of all classes offered at OC.”

Niccum believes students should take the course because people deal with money every day and everyone needs to know how to handle their finances.

Not all students agree the course should be mandatory.

“I would definitely recommend the class to everyone, but making the class mandatory is a little extreme,” Panter said. “Even though the course is really informative and I have benefitted greatly from it, I think making a class mandatory takes something away from it.”

This year the class will only be offered during the fall semester.

“The class has been a tremendous success,” McMillon said.

The course is based around a few main principles. The first principle comes from Proverbs 3:5-6. Students are taught the importance of honoring God with their money from these verses.

The concept of a budget is also important by learning to spend less than you make, not more. This class helps students realize the importance of giving generously to God and others. The last concept is the importance of saving and investing for the future.

“We begin the class by reading a lot of scriptures,” Hartman said. “The first two days are spent looking at what God says about money.”

The Bible has 2,350 verses about money and 15 percent of Jesus’ teachings are illustrated through money.

Hartman has taught at different venues on this subject for 15 to 20 years. He believes the concept is important and people need to focus on getting out of negative situations associated with money.

A small portion of the class focuses on how money is one of the leading causes of trouble in marriages today.

“God’s idea is using money to bring your marriage together,” Hartman said.

The text for the course is made up predominantly of two books: Your Money Map by Howard Dayton and a financial workbook called Your Money Matters by Dave Ramsey.

“I enjoy the reading material that the class offers. Dayton’s, Your Money Map is an easy read,” Panter said. “It has good, Godly principles concerning the way we should deal with our money.”

This course also utilizes the knowledge of guest speakers. The guest lectures are done by various people including a bank president and a financial planner. Hartman also covers topics over real estate and estate planning. The class takes a real estate tour led by a realtor outside of the classroom as well.

“My favorite thing about the class is getting to learn about different investments, such as real estate, stocks, and mutual funds,” Niccum said.

The course is providing students with hands-on approaches to their finances.

“At the beginning of the class Mr. Hartman had us group into teams and then told us to pick securities to put a pretend $10,000 into,” Niccum said. “Throughout the semester we are to keep track of how they are doing, and at the end of semester we will see how much money we made or lost from our $10,000 investment.”

After students have taken the class, Hartman often hears back from many of them. Most students are very thankful that they have taken the class and feel it will be beneficial in the future.

“I feel that it is an important class to have because what I learn in the class, I can actually put into practice in real life,” Panter said.

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