the weblog of Alan Knox

Paid to Serve

Posted by on Oct 26, 2010 in blog links, elders, office, service | 7 comments

Paid to Serve

Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” has written an interesting post called “Robbed of Joy.” He is writing about paid pastoral ministry, which he has recently stepped away from.

Eric is concerned about being robbed of the joy that comes through serving. He writes:

When I serve those in the church as a salaried pastor, the deeds I do may be good ones (I certainly hope so). Despite this, I do not experience the same joy that I do when I’m not paid. I cannot explain it. It may be completely subjective on my part. Regardless, I know that service within the church – as a salaried pastor – loses joy precisely because of the salary.

So, who is robbing me of the joy of serving? Is it God? No. Is it the church? No. In fact, the church has been generous to us. So who is it? This may sound a bit self-centered, but I believe I’m robbing myself of joy by receiving a salary. By accepting payment for service, ministry then becomes a job/duty rather than a joy.

This is one of the reasons I am stepping down as a salaried pastor.

I’m tired of robbing myself of the joy that comes from serving brothers and sisters in Christ.

Now, I’ll be completely honest here. I have never been in a paid (salaried) pastoral position. I have never experienced what Eric is describing. I can give testimony about the other side of things – serving without being paid.

But, I’ve often wondered about paying people to serve. Is this really service? I don’t know.

What do you think? (I’d love to hear from those who are in paid pastoral positions as well.)


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  1. 10-26-2010

    When Jesus sent out the 12 disciples in Mt 10:5-10, He sent them out with nothing and said “for the workman is worthy of his meat”.

  2. 10-26-2010


    Thanks for the comment. Can you explain a little more?


  3. 10-26-2010

    Cannot meat be implied as wages for the workman of the Lord.

  4. 10-26-2010


    So, keeping on the topic of this post, what’s the relation between the ‘meat’ and serving?


  5. 10-26-2010

    I guess I don’t understand why a full time Pastor who has much responsibility to the flock in preparation shouldn’t be worthy of a living that will support his family.

    Forgive me for posting without understanding the topic.

  6. 10-26-2010

    I have to say that my experience of being a volunteer (by choice, not pressured) church office worker was a lot more enjoyable than another experience I had of being a paid one. (Not to mention that if I occasionally needed to take a break because the kids were sick, or Father was leading me to do something, or hubby wanted to take a holiday, or the neighbor was sick and needed some help with their kids, or whatever … I didn’t feel nearly so guilty about not being there … and somehow the office work still got done anyway, if a tad “off-schedule”). I guess as a volunteer I felt less “committed” and “obligated” and therefore generally a lot more delighted and enthusiastic.

    Don’t know if that’s the same as the “pastor” thing, but I suspect there are similarities eh!

  7. 10-27-2010


    Yes, I think the question of whether or not Scripture supports paying salaries to pastors/elders is a different question. Perhaps I’ll tackle that question again soon.


    Interesting. So you also noticed a difference between when you were paid and when you were not paid.