Think about this for a second - do we truly need someone with the job title of "Pastor"? Think about it - if we as Christians were actually doing our job as Christians, the answer might be "Probably Not". Are we too lazy to do it ourselves, preferring to pay one guy to handle it all for us? Or do we all just want someone that we can look up to? Toby's not completely sure either, but you can be sure he's going to make you think about it with today's post.
I wanted to write this post without discussing it with Joey. He is a full-time pastor. He works his ass off and loves the congregation and community, but…He’s got a salary, medical insurance, 401k and job security. The question I’d like to discuss is this: if he or other pastors were volunteers in the church, rather than paid staff, would that be better? Would it align more with what the Bible says? And, lastly, would he still be able to pastor and shepherd people?
What does the Bible say?
In Matthew 10: 8-9, Jesus says to give without pay. 2 Corinthians 2: 17 says that we are not peddlers selling God’s word like others. 1 Timothy 5: 17-19 says that elders who lead well deserve double “honor”, and the worker deserves his wage. In John 10: 12-14, the hired hand is different than the shepherd.
JESUS DIDN’T GET PAID, right? Or did he? When Jesus started full-time ministry in his 30′s, how did he make a living? He wasn’t a carpenter anymore because he was traveling nonstop and getting death threats. So how’d he eat?
He lived through the giving of others. Christians supported him with shelter, food, maybe even entertainment. They gave. He was in fact a laborer worthy of more than this, but people did give. You can call this giving tithes and offerings.
Did Jesus do it for the perks? No, since his ministry led to death, a death he knew would happen.
So how do we get from Jesus to pastors that have nice cars, jets, jewelry, houses, and pay for things with, as Randy Moss would say, “straight cash homey”?
We don’t. That’s not even in the same universe as Jesus. If you are a pastor who’s wealthier than most people in your city, shame on you. That’s not what the Bible means by “supporting an Elder.” That’s more like “supporting a habit.” A really bad one. But that’s not most pastors.
Most pastors who receive money from a church don’t actually make that much. In fact, pastors like Joey have other jobs to supplement their income. Also, if you consider the hourly breakdown of being a pastor, it often comes to less than minimum wage. But they only work on Sundays, right? I’ve heard that from my dad about a billion times. Come on dad. Go here to see some uncomfortable stats. One that stands out to me is that 90% of pastors work in excess of 60 hours. I have worked at a church, and you could work every hour and never come close to doing enough. And that burns you out. Ask them, they’ll tell you about the work probably as they are dozing off.
Also, imagine public speaking every week, often several times a week. That’s intense. How about preparation and study? Also, there’s always someone ready to critique the way you roll. I won’t even go into counseling, leadership meetings, discipleship, administration, other studying, praying for wisdom and the church body, and all day Sunday people unloading really heavy stuff believing you know how to fix it. But, it’s the job.
Pastors are called. The Holy Spirit moves them to do this intense job, no doubt. But it could be different. We don’t want to volunteer or tithe; we love our time. If everyone in the church volunteered and tithed, some of the most amazing things ever done on Earth would be accomplished. The local church body system would annihilate poverty and homelessness, adopt all the orphans, and care for all the elderly, just to name a few. Unfortunately, this isn’t what we want or it would have happened.
We would rather pay a good talker to tell us what to do, lead everything, and do it again tomorrow as we say, “good job” and “keep it up.” Come on, man. Seriously. Pastors get paid only because you and I aren’t doing our jobs as Christians. If we really opened our lives to everyone and spoke out the gospel, lived out the gospel, and led new and fresh ways to share the gospel, I wouldn’t even be talking about pastors pay. It wouldn’t matter. We might not even need them in this capacity. There would be a lot of workers and plenty of work to get done. The job of leading ministry and pastoring might require a salary, but if we all did our jobs, it might not. Jesus would let us know. Oh well…I can dream.
They better have good coffee this Sunday.