My desire is for every church member to consider this blog post concerning the pastor of your church. It is that time of year again when many churches are forming new budgets and pay packages for the coming new year. It is one of the most difficult times of the year for many pastors to go through.
• Will board members and church members fight over money, again?
• Will they give the pastor a raise to meet the needs of their family at this stage of their family’s life?
• Can they ask for a raise in salary or benefits without causing a firestorm of bickering between those who like the pastor and those who don’t?
Here is the deal, the overwhelming majority of pastors do not ask their supporters to buy them multi-million dollar jets, and housing allowances to live in east coast and west coast homes, or to be able buy the newest Rolls Royce. I personally have no real issue with men and women of God prospering, but I do believe there are major issues with churches that actually desire to keep their pastors poor and humble. There are more of these than the former.
I’ve been pastoring in the Appalachian region for 30 years now. Only once in all those years did I walk into a board meeting where they actually gave me a nice raise in salary and benefits. The other years I had to walk in and ask for raises and benefits to help with my growing family. Clothes and food never got cheaper in all those years. School expenses never lessened. And college, oh and college tuitions were never magically paid for. Should we get into health care and dental benefits? How about retirement?
God forbid something go wrong in the church after receiving one of these raises. It doesn’t take long for board members and church members to begin to whisper that we are paying him way too much. As a pastor you end up fighting painful battles just to survive or end up on the street because they can get someone cheaper. This is no more than what worldly companies do to increase profits by cutting cost.
Why do I write this? Because someone needs to speak up for faithful pastors who serve the kingdom no matter the pay or circumstances. Many pastors face spiritual bullies and tribal leaders of churches who control every aspect of the business of the church. There are also others on these boards that allow these bullies to run the show.
To these I say you need to stand up for your pastor, he or she is worth it. They deserve to have the needs of their families cared by their churches’ even if it’s in a sacrificial way. They are worth the fight you may have to put up to ensure they are blessed.
The apostle Paul said this in relationship to caring for your pastors…
1 Timothy 5:17–18 (NASB95) 17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
The Old Testament pattern is that the oxen working the field was not to be muzzled as it worked in the field. In other words, it was to be allowed to eat what it needed as it worked to keep up its strength. Paul applied this pattern to the New Testament caring for pastors.
When a pastor’s needs are not being well met, it weakens him or her. If he or she is weak and struggling the church will become weak and struggling because of the weakened state of its pastor(s).
If a man or woman is truly called of God they will sacrifice above and beyond to fulfill their ministry. Money is not the incentive to minister, but the laborer is well worth his or her wages.
Money has never been a consideration when it comes to ministry for me. We’ve had to eat government cheese in the early years. I’ve walked away from six figure pay packages to live on 1/5th of that because I would not compromise core belief’s I hold. I have never stopped ministering because of money and most likely your pastor won’t either.
…But it doesn’t change the fact the laborer is worthy of their wages. Do above and beyond for those who serve well.
May more churches be like River Church who go above and beyond to meet the needs of their pastor. God bless them!