Standing in the middle of Citylight's sanctuary, with gloves on, sweat on his brow, and cleaning products in his hands, Jeff Soda grinned from ear to ear. He was tired but the joy in what he was doing was obvious. After what God revealed to him at a Crown Financial class, he knew he wanted to serve the church and be faithful to God. A year ago, even six months ago, Jeff would have never thought he would be donating his carpet cleaning business to serve the Body of Christ he has come to love, let alone be in a church.

At the invitation from his fiancée, Annette, Jeff started attending Citylight on Sunday mornings last year. This past January, Annette heard an announcement for the next Crown Financial class. Annette and Jeff both owned businesses and she thought this could be a great tool. Annette was familiar with budgets, however, she wanted to be a better steward of her business. She hoped Jeff would be open to learning tools for his business. She also wanted them both to get more involved in the Church.

“I was trying to go to church regularly, but I wanted Jeff to go with me,” Annette shared. “I couldn’t force him. So, I just didn’t talk about it. I knew Jeff well enough that he would come around. God revealed to me patience, but when I heard about Crown, I knew I had to bring it up with Jeff.”

“You know there was a lot going on,” Jeff described why he was reluctant to going to Crown. “I was very hurt from my past and very reluctant to trust. When Annette signed me up for the class, I was hard in the heart at the time. I didn’t think I was ready to go through with the class. You feel out of place when you think everyone knows so much. Everyone was active here at church and I am this newbie. It was overwhelming at first. Now, looking back, it was the best thing that could have happened.”

When Jeff and Annette started going to the class, he wasn’t doing the homework. Early into it, something ‘clicked’.

“The class wasn’t just about finance,” Jeff shared. “They cover a lot of other things. After the first few classes, I started involving myself and trying to get the homework done. I was probably the only one not doing it and I didn’t feel good about that. Halfway done, I started reading and investing the time and the last few weeks of the class I was getting all the homework done. It made sense and the timing was perfect. What you hear and read in the class started to take the burden off my plate and I felt comfortable. You don’t know your purpose in life and the class started opening up my mind to this.”

Walls were coming down for Jeff. Each week, as they read Bible passages, answered workbook questions, and prayed together as a class, Jeff’s mind and heart began to soften.

“What got me was praying at the end,” Jeff confessed. “Praying for each other was for me probably the biggest impact. People in the class would ask me what to pray for. One week, I told everyone that my business was slow. That I needed more money to make it. It was tough. The craziest thing happened that next week. It was like a light switch went off. Business that week was insane, and the next week, and the next week. And the more it happened, that got me more involved and doing the homework. It was God.”

Towards the end of the Crown classes, the group discussed budgets and giving back to the church. Jeff was convicted.

“I thought right now I don’t personally give, and I can’t give a lot to the church,” Jeff said with genuineness. “Something clicked again. The thought came to my head immediately ‘’why don’t you clean the chairs and carpet at church?’’ That’s a good way to give back. So, I brought it up in class and they all thought that it was a great idea. I asked who to talk to, and a week later I was meeting with Harry, the facilities manager.”

After convincing Harry that he wanted to do everything as a gift to the church, they scheduled three days later in the week. Jeff knew he was doing what God called him to do and he couldn’t wait. Looking back on those three days, it was tough, but so rewarding.

“You know, they talked about that in the Crown class,” Jeff said enthusiastically. “You do everything to the best of your ability. Ever since that week, I have been on board with church and with God. I have realized that my life here on Earth is only a temporary one. You are here but you should be living right and towards heaven. The past few months have changed me. You change when you involve your life around church and people. I live differently now. It wasn’t intentional. I was never around people who talked about God. That short period of time, God gave me understanding and has made everything real. You learn to try to help people more, to be more accepting and more understanding, and not to be judgmental. For the first time, I’m happy and I feel good about myself.”

Week after week, God revealed to Jeff truth and hope that was radically new. Jeff began to see things not just with his finances, but with his life. He began to look back at his past and question life. The Crown Financial class changed everything.

“You know if you follow God, you can experience being one of His children,” Jeff exclaimed. “I now want to relate to people. Because He opened my heart, I want to help other’s hearts to open and follow God. I’ve seen the changes and once you witness it and feel it, you don’t want to go back. Having a relationship with God now, I don’t feel alone. After raising two girls by myself, you can feel like no one is there. Now, I know somebody is always there.”

With a better understanding of God, His Word, and of himself, Jeff has started to change how he manages his business and how he views the future.

“I’ve learned that a lot of people live their life to build their nest egg,” Jeff said with confidence. “I now know that time on earth is limited. The Crown classes have taught me to enjoy different things and with a conscious effort. Jesus saved me. I’m a sinner and God loves me. I will forever live differently.”

Jeff is excited for Sundays because that’s when he and Annette get to go to church. When he finished cleaning the carpet and the thousand chairs at West a few weeks ago, that very next Sunday it was like Christmas Day for Jeff. He couldn’t wait to come in and to see the finished product with the Body of Christ sitting in them. It felt great giving and serving the Lord. He looks forward to more opportunities to serve, cleaning products in hand and with a huge grin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *