After Gregory Trumbach graduated from seminary and was ordained in 2008, he and his wife, Cherie, celebrated with a party at their house. As the guests arrived, one person stepped into the Trumbach’s notably large living room and declared, “This feels like a church.”
In fact, about a year later, their living room did become a church of sorts. The Slidell, Louisiana couple hosted children, teens, adults and church leaders there, where they would hang out, eat and study the Bible. Eventually, they took the next step and formalized the gatherings by starting the Christian Fellowship for the Nations Church.
But having people congregate in their home eventually became impractical, so they found a small, tucked-away building for the church. As their congregation grew, they moved to a more visible part of town and hung up their sign with Gregory’s phone number on it. Soon after, Gregory got a call from a Thrivent financial advisor.
How Thrivent serves both families and churches
Gregory was hesitant to speak to the financial advisor. He wasn’t familiar with Thrivent, and he wondered: Is it a church? Is it a parachurch? Is it something else? Plus, he had recently just found a financial advisor to manage his retirement savings and a few other financial concerns.
“I wasn’t too keen on undoing it all,” he says. “But as [he] began to talk to me and said some things [about Thrivent’s programs] like Thrivent Action Teams and Choice Dollars®, it just really piqued my interest on doing ministry outside the walls of a church community, ministries through Thrivent. I said, ‘Let's talk in person,’ and here we are today.”
Thrivent is a financial services organization with generosity at its core. It's a not-for-profit organization and Fortune 500 company that helps individuals and churches bring their beliefs and values to life. That includes bringing together financial tools like insurance, banking services, investment options and financial guidance—as well as opportunities to give back through a full suite of charitable giving options, volunteer programs and partnerships with causes.
For example, Thrivent clients with membership can organize a
Through another program,
The organization also comes alongside churches. How does Thrivent do that? Churches can apply to enroll in Thrivent Choice and become a recipient of Choice Dollars grant funding and fee-free personal donations through Thrivent’s online giving platform.* In addition, Thrivent has a church loan program. It’s one of the largest faith-based church lenders in the U.S.
For the Christian Fellowship for the Nations Church, the Trumbachs had decided they could manage the day-to-day operations without having to hire additional staff. And with their Thrivent financial advisor's help, they created a plan to manage the financial side without losing their primary goal of providing service to its congregation and the larger community.
“A lot of our money was going to mortgage, utilities, building stuff,” says Gregory. “The Thrivent resources enabled us to make the church a people business.”
Financial literacy leads to helping others
Thrivent also helped the Trumbachs with their personal finances, including retirement goals, insurance needs, legacy planning and saving for college for their four children: Anya, Petra and twins Harmony and Zachary.
Gregory always had a natural curiosity about financial planning and over the years he had gained a lot of knowledge. He was fairly confident with what he knew when he and Cherie started talking with Thrivent. However, those discussions increased his financial literacy and helped the couple see their finances in a new way.
“We learned to see our finances as a tool to help us achieve our life goals,” says Cherie.
Their work with Thrivent also gave Gregory the confidence to share his knowledge with members of his church.
“Thrivent has helped me show lots of people that money is not just about tithing to a church,” says Gregory. “You have to know how to invest, you have to know how to save, besides giving and the other traditional ideas associated with money.”
As he shared his financial wisdom and experience with Thrivent with his congregation, people slowly started approaching him for financial help. Over time, it had an impact.
“Since we know a lot about money management [and] work with Thrivent and resources like that, [people] get curious,” he says. “They say, ‘My finances are a mess. I'm in debt. I don't know how I'm going to save for the future, for this or that. Can Thrivent help me with that?’ And over time, a significant number of people have joined Thrivent.”
Then the Trumbachs started getting feedback from the wider community that the knowledge they were sharing was making an impact.
“Somebody will tell me ‘You told me about Thrivent a couple years ago, and I got involved in Thrivent Action Teams for a women’s ministry or men’s ministry or some kind of outing and through that, someone was ministered to or greatly helped,’” says Gregory. “Or, ‘We would've never met this person or known this person if we didn't do this event, and it led to a lifelong relationship now.’”
“I've seen people’s lives changed,” says Cherie, “from [living] paycheck to paycheck to being able to save money and think about the future.”
Real clients. Real stories.
Pulling together for greater impact
While organizing Thrivent Action Teams and engaging in other ministry efforts, the Trumbachs’ circle of friends and acquaintances spread even further to include other church leaders. Soon they began to see their city not as a community with many small churches, but rather as one with a single church that can do good for everyone.
Teaching others how to better their lives and inspiring a community to work together—it’s something the Trumbachs couldn’t have imagined when they started their church. But by following their hearts, they not only bettered their lives but those of their congregation and Slidell. Thrivent has been there to help each step of the way.
“Our relationship with Thrivent has helped magnify the impact we can have on our community,” says Gregory. “We’re good at teaching families how to manage their finances, take care of their future. It’s also helped us teach people how to reach their neighbors, reach their schools, just be able to do things in public places where you can shine your light.”
Want to talk about your financial goals with a Thrivent financial advisor?