SOMERSET, N.J. (CBS) – A New Jersey church pastor is working to end the cycle of debt he says he sees in the African American church community.

Reverend DeForest B. Soaries, Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, says he wrote Dfree: Breaking Free from Financial Slavery primarily because of his own experience.

“From the time I was 18, 19 years old until the time I was 33, I was a well-dressed, outspoken person who was broke,” said Rev. Soaries.

Rev. Soaries found many like him in his own church and churches in his community and began the Dfree movement – debt free movement – by holding financial classes and seminars all over the country. He says it all boils down to four vital steps:

Get started, get control, get ahead, and give back.

Rev. Soaries says he feels it’s the duty of all churches to look after the financial welfare of their congregants if they expect them to fill the collection plates every Sunday.

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio

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