One question that never gets asked, but I feel some people wonder is:
“Zach, why don’t you want to get into a bunch of college debt? Everyone else is doing it.”
As I have said before, I was planning on attending Grace College starting the fall of 2008 for about $12,000 a year. Over four years, I would have ended up spending about $50,000 for the degree from Grace. A good chunk of change! My goal was to work aggressively at paying that down to around $10,000 so that I could leave and go work for a non-profit (Compassion International, To Write Love on Her Arms, etc).
Long story short, loans didn’t work out as I expected and I ended up staying here at home (If you want to read the whole ordeal, I invite you to take a gander at My Story).
Going throughout all of this past school year, I wasn’t completely sure which direction I desired to take my career choice.
Did I want to head into a ministry?
Or did I want to head out to the workplace?
Each week would bring a different feeling for me as to the direction I wanted to take my career choice.
One week, I felt strongly that working in a ministry environment would be the best for my future.
The next, I’d feel that I wouldn’t be challenged enough and felt compelled to go into the “secular” workplace.
I considered the salaries that I’d make in each option.
I considered the stress.
And I still couldn’t decide.
I feel I didn’t have a good answer until I heard Dave Guiles speak at DGBC (You can listen to the message “What in the World is Going on?” and subscribe to the podcast on ).
About half way through his message, Dave spoke about a group of people who gathered together to decide how exactly they were going to go about changing the world. They we are all friends who desired to solve poverty around the world. God was not letting them be at peace. They all gathered together and wanted to see how they would solve the world. Many of the families changed their lifestyles; three of the couples left for the urban poor, one of the couples were great in business and asked the group if they were okay with staying in their profitable business and then supporting the three couples who left for the urban poor. Of course, the group agreed overwhelmingly.
I found this extremely encouraging as I debated back and forth on which direction to take my life.
As Dave was talking about this, I remember thinking how similar this sounds to my group of friends. So many of my friends want to go and change the world. Many want to travel to Africa, to Asia with some wanting to work here in the United States, all with the goal to change the world.
I never had that feeling.
Do I have a desire to head abroad at some point in my life?
However, I feel much more similar to the couple that had a successful business. I always felt that regardless of which route (ministry or secular) I took, I would become a very successful businessman. Up until the Sunday that Dave spoke, I never felt right in admitting my goal as a successful businessman and having a goal of making money.
Because of Dave, I now feel confident (and completely at peace) in my future plans.
Now, how exactly does all of this tie into getting through college with under $10,000 of debt?
- It will allow me to help my friends get started in their ministry. Starting the very first day on my job, I will begin to share my money with my friends who are so passionate in changing the world. Rather than waiting to pay down my $50,000 loan, I am able to begin to be a blessing to my friends in financial ways that will allow them to change the world.
- I will be able to see first hand how the money I donate is used. My good friend Ben, after me telling him this news, informed me that he will not just allow me to write checks. He wants me to go and see what he is seeing and become aware at how my money is being used to end poverty in the world.
- I will be able to not worry about driving the newest, nicest car or having the biggest house because I am living with the satisfaction that I am blessing others through my financial standing.
Where do you go from here Zach?
- I continue to work through my classes at Columbus State Community College
- I continue to work at Buehler’s in Delaware
- I continue to support Compassion International and help Haiti
- I continue to support the work of Delaware Grace Brethren Church in volunteering my time with the Junior High students. What a blast!!