the weblog of Alan Knox

Guest Blogger: Not salary but support

Posted by on May 31, 2011 in guest blogger | 15 comments

Guest Blogger: Not salary but support

I’ve invited several people to write “guest blog posts” for this blog. There are several reasons for this: 1) To offer different perspectives. 2) To generate even more discussion and conversation between blogs. 3) To introduce other bloggers to my readers.

(If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, please contact me at aknox[at]sebts[dot]com.)

Today’s post was written by Doug from “DouglasRea.com” and “Connections.” You can also follow Doug on Twitter and Facebook.

(By the way, this guest post may read a little different than some of the other ones. This post is a series of questions by me, and answers from Doug. Doug gave me permission to post the conversation here.)

————————————-

[I asked, “How does your church (Connection) handle paying pastors?”]

You asked me about Connections and our view of “paid staff.”

Here’s our thinking in the most general of terms.

Connections did not hire me, nor do I work for them. They support me – one who was among them for a few years before there was a Connections. They do this in order that I might be free to dedicate my time to the word, prayer, and the equipping of those who call Connections their place of assembly. I am not above or below them, and they know this. The people of Connections have no by-laws in place that I am to adhere to. In agreement, they see me as one who has been sent by God to lead them from the religious institution to a place of freedom and ministry. The other elders that God has placed in this local body recognize this as well. We do not think in terms of salary but rather support. We recognize what God is doing among us and give to support it. (“It” being in this case me.) And since we find no prohibition in Scriptures, we set one person aside to lead. Alan, I am not paid to grow the church, and there are no expectations that I do so. Frankly, we don’t subscribe to that philosophy. We are more concerned with the care of one another and those outside of ourselves.

Simply put, they see the advantage of freeing me to devote myself to the work and to this vision that God has seemed to have placed within me of demonstrating to Southwest Georgia that Jesus is not what religion has made Him out to be. Further, because I am supported by the people of Connections, I am free to meet with them one-on-one and in small groups at all times of day. Receiving support affords me a greater opportunity to help them mature until they are doing the work of the ministry. I do not trade services for money and have no committee to answer too. I am but one elder in this body. I am neither the head elder nor the highest authority – I am but one gift.

I would never leave Connections – it doesn’t work that way. Connections is far removed from that type of religious mindset. I will always be connected here in some fashion but may not always receive support from Connections – or at least not to the degree I now enjoy. If that time should come, we, the elders of this body, would discern His will and make the necessary adjustments. Money would have nothing to do with our decision.

[I asked, “How do you receive this support?”]

We are a hybrid type church. We are a tax free organization and the people of Connections give to it like they are used to. We have overhead – wish we didn’t but we do. We have a CFO who collects the money by way of a weekly offering. She pays the bills, meets the needs of those within, and writes me a check.

[I asked, “What would you do if they no longer wrote you a check? What if the people decided to use that money in other ways?”]

The people of Connections trust the elders of the body. They would make the decision so to speak. To answer your question, money changes nothing. If the people thought that I should get a job… I would rejoice that they see that the clergy/laity tradition for what it is. More directly, I would still be the pastor and find other support… A job for example.

[I asked, “How do you help people understand that they are also responsible for serving others and that they can’t leave that to you?” Doug gave me the following as a short answer.]

I first started teaching Connections that they are in fact the house of God. That’s where we began. I challenged them to take that truth to it’s end. As we looked at that subject for weeks, we/they began to understand that they are the very “place of ministry” that they once assumed was found in the church building and it’s leaders.

We went from there…2 years later we are just now getting to Matthew 28:18-20. I always dared to allow the word to challenged them. I would ask question and insisted they answered.

————————————-

As with all of the other guest bloggers who have written posts for me so far, I am greatly appreciative of Doug allowing me to include his thoughts on my blog. If he is able, I’m sure that Doug would be glad to answer your questions. Feel free to leave questions in the comments.


15 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 5-31-2011

    I’m taking it that this exchange blow indicates that “the elders” of “Connections” make the decisions for the assembly including decisions regarding paying Doug a salary as oppossed to decisions being made by consensus of the entire assembly?

    [I asked, “What would you do if they no longer wrote you a check? What if the people decided to use that money in other ways?”]

    The people of Connections trust the elders of the body. They would make the decision so to speak.

  2. 5-31-2011

    I think that the question of what would you do if they stopped paying you was interesting. In most circumstances if a local church stopped/was unable to pay their pastor, he would leave for another church.

  3. 5-31-2011

    His website is displaying an Error 404. Did you crash his site, Alan?

  4. 5-31-2011

    Douglas,
    This sounds exactly like the type of community I am looking for. I saw at first that you were in “Albany” and got real excited, because Albany, NY is not too far from where I live. Then I saw you were in GA.

    Oh well. I would love to hear more about how the church “got started.”

  5. 5-31-2011

    Hutch,

    Hopefully, Doug will be able to answer your question.

    Arthur,

    Yes, I thought that was an interesting (and unusual) answer as well.

    Jeremy,

    I noticed that also. Doug is checking into it.

    -Alan

  6. 5-31-2011

    Alan,

    Thanks for the read. My question is already asked.

  7. 5-31-2011

    Hutch – The elders do not “rule” is that is what you are asking. They are the aged and mature among us. These would be asked to speak into financial matters and would trust their wisdom.

    Arthur – I take you would concur with my thinking on this?

    Jeremy – first the 404 error – MY BAD! I had the old credit card on file. Hopefully it will be back up soon. I will be in White Plains this week! That’s not too far from Albany NY is it? Thanks for you kindness.

    Alan – You’re the man…nuff said

    Doug Rea

  8. 5-31-2011

    Doug,

    Thanks again for allowing me to publish this conversation, and thanks for answering the questions.

    -Alan

  9. 6-1-2011

    A pleasure Alan. I sent a link to this post to the Connections email list. One person wrote back and stated: “You HAVE been without pay (having to get a job)…the time to devote to the people was greatly shortened”

    I had forgotten that things were not always as they are now. I was in management with Starbucks or a long time before we sought The Lord about increasing my support to a place were I could be involved with people on a full time basis. Just last summer I took a job with a well known grocery store chain – in their deli department.

    Support form the people of Connections is a blessing but it is not a prerequisite of my involvement in that community of believers.

  10. 6-1-2011

    Thanks Doug.

    My wife says that I’m slow but trainable, so I didn’t quite catch the answer to my question. The good news is that I’m trainable. :) I understand the different teachings about elder rule/elder led and more importantly elders who simply sacrificially serve by example. So I get it from your response that the elders at Connections do not “rule”. So again, does this mean that the entire assembly makes decisions by consensus about your pay as a whole group of which the “elders” are a part of, or do the elders who do not rule, make that decision for the assembly? Since the post is about how the “church” can choose to support you or not, I think it’s important to understand how this works. Does the church make the decison or does a small group within the church make that decision?

    Thank you again for your time.

  11. 6-1-2011

    Doug

    “Arthur – I take you would concur with my thinking on this?”

    You are correct. If you are committed to love and minister to and among a group of people, whether they can support you financially or not shouldn’t be a factor.

  12. 6-1-2011

    I appreciate the questions and answers. This has been a helpful discussion for me.

    -Alan

  13. 6-2-2011

    Hutch
    Our wives should swap ideas for keeping us on track. And I think I better have your question. All records are opened and discussed on a regular basis with the entire church. We do not have voting as it were but a general consensus. However, the gathering as a whole leave the decision making concerning the overall well being of Connections to the elders. Message me on FB and I will share more about the elder/congregation relationship. I have much to add on that topic. For here let me say the the congregation as a whole trust the elders, and the elders trust the treasurer. If salary became an issue in some way the elders would be consulted first to see if resolution can be made. They would then decide if this is a matter for the congregation to hear and to respond too.

    I’m riding down the road on my way to the airport so my answer may not be as organized and as polished as I would like. Here’s hoping I answered your question

    Doug

    Douglasrea.com is back online

  14. 6-2-2011

    Thanks Doug. That does answer my question. In the past I served as an elder in a church structured like you have described.

  15. 6-16-2011

    I think all minsters should be led of Christ no. 1 if that is a problem i’m sorry. Everybody needs money thats a fact. I would like to see any body live with out it. I do agree that the lord should set the amount by all means. Prayer and reading of the Word should give you that. Most minsters are in it for the money every once in a while do you find a good one. If you do pay him what you are told to because it will be well worth it. This is just my ramblings sorry to ruffle feathers thank you so much.