BIG: Would you be willing to share with us how you received this passion for teaching people about biblical principles regarding managing personal finances?
Don Christensen: Well I came here in 1990 with another man who has been a missionary here for many many years in the 50’s and 60’s, and when I first came to Romania I started meeting people. When they found out what I did they said: ‘Come teach us.’ So it was a calling like Macedonian call. So I said ‘Okay.’ I just felt that I needed to come do it. And God just provided many opportunities over the years for me to come do it all around the world now but it started in Romania.
BIG: I understand these were the beginings. How did you end up coming to this conference, together with Gary Chapman?
D.C.: Well Cristi asked me years ago when I was preaching in his church years ago if I could get Gary Chapmann because he said ‘Joe Stowell can’t get him’. I said ‘On my way back I’m going to do a conference with him in two weeks where we’ll both speaking at and I will ask him.’ He said ‘Good. When we get Gary here, I could sneak you in. Cause they won’t come for a financial but if Gary’s here they will come and hear you both.’ So that was kind of Cristi’s devious way of getting this teaching here. And so Gary agreed to come and we’ve planning it for two years.
BIG: Over the years, you gained experience, teaching these biblical principles regarding financial management in different parts of the world. What is your approach, from culture to culture? Is it something different in the way you teach in Romania, by comparing it to other places?
D.C.: I don’t know if I teach any different. I think where I live is that Romanians have to make the applications for their culture. But I teach it out of passion cause I believe is true. And it’s the only way I can deliver it and sometimes people push back on me going ‘Well, it won’t work here’ and I go ‘It’s the Bible, it works everywhere. And it was written in the poorest time of Israel! I know it works even here!’
BIG: How do you assess the response Romanians have for this teaching?
D.C.: I believe I found most have a good response and say ‘You know, this was never been taught in here so It’s hard to accept it.’ But I believe when true believers hear the truth they recognize it. They go ‘It’s true.’ Some are only looking at their situations so they’re trying to make the Bible fit into their situation. And they don’t know if their situation can change. They just need to believe the Bible.
BIG: You told us that we have to seek financial freedom, and the last session has motivated us to get involved in the Kingdom’s businesses. Our dilema comes from looking arround us and seeing so many needs. How can we decide where to get involved and what needs to meet first?
D.C.: Let me tell you a point I heard recently: ‘Your vision of the future must be greater than your memories of the past.’ That’s the first thing. Forgetting what’s behind me I’ve got to press on. I know God’s will, 80% of this in the Bible is will. The other 20% I watch by circumstances how He’s changing, how He’s gifted me. And I look at the opportunities and say ‘Okay, my gifting could do that and I have the time to do this one and not hurt this one. Or I help this ministry to get started and stabilize and go. And then I say ‘Now you’ve got that one, now I’ll go to this one.’ So it’s really getting people going and doing what they can do using their giftedness for it.
BIG: You know this event was organized by BIG Impact. Any words of wisdom for the people in BIG?
D.C.: I believe this: that the Bible calls that the mind of Christ is not divided. What happens I think is BIG Impact has taken people that sometimes are divided by their denominations or particular arguments about some minor point of theology. I appreciate that they’ve come together and unite on the big picture to help people be fruitful for the Kingdom. And I just say ‘Keep doing it. Don’t get discouraged. I know sometimes finances are hard but just keep doing what you can.