In my previous posts (“When elders/pastors don’t have to act like employees“), I listed an advantage to churches and elders when the churches do not employ anyone. Whether we want to face the facts or not, employment and money always changes a relationship, especially when the employment and money are required.
Often, people point to passages like 1 Timothy 5:17-18 in order to justify pastoral employment and salaries. But, this passage has nothing to do with the modern day conception of salaries at all. Notice that in 1 Timothy 5:17-18, the “double honor” (even if it does include some type of financial support) is given in response to an elder’s service of leading and teaching.
Let me say that in a different way. In 1 Timothy 5:17-18, the “double honor” is NOT given so that someone will become or remain an elder/pastor and lead or teach. It is given to someone who has already demonstrated an ability to lead (through serving, I would say) and teach and is given in response to their leading and teaching.
This is not what happens today. In fact, usually, churches know very little about a person before they start paying him or her. This is not what 1 Timothy 5:17-18 is talking about.