Pastor Leads Grassroots Movement to Knockout Personal Debt

Dave Ramsey isn’t the only one encouraging America to pay off debt and live debt-free. Recently, Pastor DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., the founder of dfree®, a strategy that encourages people to live within their means, without debt, deficits or delinquencies, announced the Billion Dollar Challenge, a national campaign to reduce consumer debt.

“The most important step families can take to improve their financial status is to pay off their consumer debt.  The Billion Dollar Challenge will not only challenge people to pay down their debt, but it will also use a new web-based tool where people can create a confidential, online debt profile, enter their debt amounts, set personal financial goals and track their payments,” Soaries said. “By taking part in the Billion Dollar Challenge, people become part of the national movement to reduce personal and family debt.”

The Billion Dollar Challenge is available to individuals, families and organizations nationwide and can be accessed through the dfree® website – www. The Challenge features tools and resources on how to budget, live within your means, save and invest, which are all goals of the dfree® strategy that was created in 2005.

The Billion Dollar Challenge is starting with members of the African-American community, but is open to anyone wishing to pay off debt.

“We\’re starting with the black community because that\’s where the need is the greatest and where most of the calls are coming from,” Soaries said. “But, we\’re also talking with companies and organizations that reach the general population. We\’re not ignoring anyone. America is hemoraging from consumer debt and many people are ready to stop the bleeding”

The Billion Dollar Challenge was a natural next step for the dfree® strategy, which was developed at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, where Soaries serves as senior pastor. His primary focus in creating dfree® was to eliminate family debt to create a foundation for developing family and community wealth. In the last six years, more than 600 families have taken dfree® classes and reduced their personal debt.

“We are now expanding the dfree® strategy beyond the church community and New Jersey,” he said. “Not only have I written a book describing the strategy (“dfree®: Breaking Free From Financial Slavery,” Zondervan), but I have committed the next phase of my life to this work around the globe.”

To sign up for the Billion Dollar Challenge, visit