About a year ago, I wrote a series on pastors and salaries. These are the posts in that series:
1. “What about work?“
2. “What about work for elders/pastors?“
3. “What about honor for elders/pastors?“
4. “What about the right of elders/pastors?“
5. “Summary – Should elders/pastors be paid a salary?“
In that series, I concluded that we cannot defend paying a pastor a salary from Scripture. I understand that some of my readers disagree with me. That’s fine. I have many friends who are paid pastors. This is not the point of this blog post.
Because of the series on pastors and salaries, I’ve received more and more “search hits” concerning this topic. I’ve also received more and more emails concerning this topic. It is a very sensitive topic both to pastors/elders and to churches.
Recently, I’ve talked with a few paid pastors who trying to decide whether or not they should stop being paid by the church. Instead, they would get a job in order to “work with their hands” to provide support for themselves and their families. (I’m assuming that those who consider paying a salary to a pastor to be scriptural, would also allow a pastor to choose not to receive a salary. But, I could be wrong.)
However, each of those pastors has been troubled by something. The biggest problem to them does not seem to be getting a job, even though several have mentioned that their only “training” is in the “pastorate”. The biggest problem does not seem to be their families, even though several of them are concerned about their financial situation given the current economic state of the nation. Their biggest hurdle does not seem to be a doctrinal issue.
No, their biggest concern is the church. Some are afraid that the church will not allow them to continue to pastor without receiving a salary. Some have been told by the church that this will not be allowed.
When I first heard this, it seemed very strange. I would think that a church would be excited to have extra money. I’m sure most churches have many projects on which they could spend this extra money.
But, as I thought about it, it makes sense that churches would want to continue to pay their pastors a salary. And, I can think some of the reasons may be good, scriptural reasons, and some of the reasons may not be good, scriptural reasons.
Can you think of some reasons that a church would not want pastors to “work with their hands” in order to support themselves and their families? Can you think of good, scriptural reasons? Can you think of reasons that may not be scriptural?