“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Monday, August 24, 2009


So, the next question in the list of 'Why Small Church Pastors Quit' is one that involves the root of all evil: of course, I speak about money...

Now honestly, this is not a bugaboo for me, as I am not paid by our church - I have a regular 40+ hour / week job which supports me and my family. However, I have many friends who have experienced this problem.

The opinions I am about to express are just that, opinions, however, I have seen this situation enough to feel fairly comfortable with talking about it.

First and foremost -- pastors: if you are in this for the money -- get out now and save yourself some real headaches!

So, having said that I would like to bring to fore a few points:

1. - Why is it assumed almost universally within certain traditions (whom I will refrain from mentioning here) that poverty is related to godly? Many feel that, because their pastor is squeaking by on a salary that does not adequately feed his family, he is somehow becoming transcendent through that experience!

Most pastors in this situation are simply becoming disillusioned. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that poverty is next to godly, as a matter of fact the writer of Proverbs says this -- Proverbs 30:8, 9 -- give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. C'mon church! Give your pastor a break, pay him decently -- is it unreasonable that he be paid the average of what the congregation makes?

2. - Why is it that every purchase that the pastor makes is scrutinized by his flock? As if, it is still their money and they have say over what he buys! God forbid that he buy a new ANYTHING -- used is good enough for him! Yet, the congregation is happily spending their wages any way they see fit, and are happy to provide the pastor with their discards!

Now this is (maybe) a bit hyperbolic, but not much -- I have seen this in more than one situation. Pay your pastor a decent wage, and then shut up about how he spends the money -- I am not suggesting NO oversight; (for example, a quarterly trip to the Bahamas might indicate a problem), but if he buys a new car -- why do you view it as a sin?

3. - Why is there more money spent on carpeting than on upkeep of the pastors family? Is it pride in a building? What about the man who, week in and week out, provides pastoral care to you? 1st Timothy 5:17, 18 - Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain, and, The laborer deserves his wages.

Bottom line: Pay the pastor a livable wage - I fully recognize that the other extreme is alive and well, (no man is worth 1M/year), but this post is about small-church pastors and most of them make well under the average salary in America.

And again, please heed this warning -- if you are in the business of pastoring for the cash -- get out now; I don't need your help! Heed Paul's warning: 2nd Corinthians 2:17 -- For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

All of you small-church pastors out there, I pray that you are well-loved and supported by your congregation. I have been blessed by mine!


Shawn Abigail said...

My proposal is simple. The deacons of a church (and the members in general) need to ask themselves what the average wage is in their congregation, and why they think those who minister the word are worth less.

Ray said...

That is my theory as well. And, on the flip side -- the pastor need not make 100 times what the congregation makes.