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It would be interesting to see where all this "salary" business started. It is quite possible that it started at the same time that the church began to incur monthly bills and budgets were needed. In order to meet the budgets, the "law of tithing" would need to be resurrected, in order to be able to calculate safely and accurately, monthly income which would be needed to pay these bills.

Bill collectors and mortgage companies (banks) don't usually live by faith.

It is also interesting what the Bible DOES NOT say.

When Paul received the Macedonian call by the Lord in a dream, he did not ask “Could you send me a breakdown of the financial support plan? What are the benefits?” I find not a single instance in scripture where someone who was called to serve then either negotiated salary or demanded pay to do what God told him to do.

I thought ministry was about obedience. Isn't it about going where God calls you to go and doing the work he has called you to do. It is not about money. Today, it is sooooo much about money. God’s job is to pay the bills. I don't believe when God called Moses, that Moses asked to see the salary package. Elijah answered God's call and went to Mt. Carmel without any guarantees of financial remuneration. Paul had no guaranteed income or retirement plan and Jesus, had no place to lay His head.

I believe Jesus said this, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Serving God is your job and providing for your needs is God's job.

Paul warned about the danger of money.

The prophets of the Old Testament delivered the message of God regardless of what people thought. The false prophets only prophesied to those who paid them. Remember Balaam? In Numbers 22-24, he took Balak’s money to curse Israel and finally showed him a way to remove God’s protection from his people. He sold out for money.

The danger in being answerable to people because they pay your salary and benefits, is that you may shrink back from preaching certain messages because of fear of being fired or some other punitive judgment such as loss of benefits. Satan can uses the topic of money to undermine your ministry in the Word of God to the people of God.

I know in House Churches that many men labor in the Word and have full-time jobs, so what Paul did (tentmaking to earn a living plus unsolicited offerings from the Church) is still done today. I know a man that pastors a church and refuses a salary. He prefers to live by faith. He doesn't demand a salary, benefits and vacation time. He raised 5 kids and his preaching is straight from the throne. Just incredible and alive and powerful. He is a man that has chosen to be completely dependent on God and it is reflected in his ministry and preaching. You can tell that he has been shut away with God and truly living by faith, completely dependent on Him.

All Pastors may not be false prophets but demanding money for ministry is consistently a sign of false prophets.

In 1 Timothy 6:5, Paul is describing the false teachers who would come into the church. He describes them as, “supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." Their service to God came with a price tag.

To Titus 1:11, Paul described another group of false prophets in this way. “Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.”

In 2 Peter 2:3, Peter adds this warning. “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

A pastor who fashions his words to protect his paycheck is treading dangerous ground.

Paul was careful to distance himself from this kind of money-based ministry. In 2 Corinthians 12:17-18, he says

"Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit?"

This builds on his defense of his ministry in 1 Corinthians 9:13-18 Paul points out that while it is his right as an apostle to draw his living from the gospel, he did not assert that right.

“What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.”

He wanted to make sure that his hearers did not think that he was in this for the money.

We must be content with what God provides.

Paul said, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” And, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

We often forget that the context of this passage is about Paul’s willingness to endure poverty as well as plenty.

Phil 4:11-13 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Paul continued to minister in contentment and joy regardless of whether he was well paid or in need. That is the attitude we should strive for.

As a minister of Jesus Christ, Would you do a better job in your church if they gave you a big raise? If you would do a better job with a raise, then you don’t deserve a penny! Is there a price tag on your ministry? Are you acting in such a way that no person you serve can say, “he's in it for the money.” Wouldn't you like people to say, "he is such an example of believing God".

Not only is God good, but God's people are good.

Maybe this goes to the heart of the matter. First of all, did you call yourself into ministry? If God called you then you know God is good, right? And do you really believe God's people are good or do you think they are stingy and selfish and therefore need to be put under a tax? My observations over many years are that God's people are treated as if they are not generous, but stingy. I have heard way too many sermons chastising the sheep when the tithe seems to have dropped.

These are some serious things to consider before you accept a call into ministry. Are you willing to be completely dependent on God? Do you think God would call you and not take care of you? Many men today, still prove that God is who He says He is.


 2011/5/16 12:25

Joined: 2007/8/22
Posts: 116


very well said anonymous. i agree completely. wish I had your ability to express it.


 2011/5/17 5:42Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: Pastors salary

I think part of the answer is here:

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of [this] power over you, [are] not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. (1 Cor. 9:11, 12)

Paul seemed to be concerned that folk would charge him as a minister in it for filthy lucre. This is always a concern. Folk have a hard time having a right perspective of money. As it was then, so it is now.

Obviously Paul is telling Corinth that he had a right to reap of their 'carnal things'. He goes to great lengths in this passage to demonstrate this. Here are some points:

1. Have we not power to eat and to drink?

2. or only I and Barnabas, have we not authority -- not to work? (YLT)

3. Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

4. Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?

5. For our sakes, no doubt, [this] is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

6. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, [is it] a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

7. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live [of the things] of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?

8. Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

Here Paul establishes beyond doubt God's order in making sure that those that labor in the Gospel have their needs met in the same sense that the Levites had it met that worked in the service of God. He places squarely on those that are receiving the benefits of Gospel labors the responsibility to support the laborer. However, Paul chose to lay down that right. This is key. He did it willingly. What did he say?

But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for [it were] better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. (1 Cor 9:15)

Paul was conscious of folk always wanting to accuse ministers of the word, so rather than allow the Gospel to be blamed, he laid down the right to be supported. He is not suggesting that everyone else do so or making a law to do it. God's word is already clear on the matter. The recipients of the labors of those that labor in the Gospel are obligated to support the person. If the laborer would rather work, for whatever reason, and lays down this right it is his prerogative alone. It is not to be viewed as 'super spiritual' or anything else. It is simply the choice of the laborer based upon personal reasons. For Paul it was so that his laborers would not be in vain.

Even in New Testament times there were people that taught things they ought not for filthy lucre sake. Nothing has changed. It was not a new thing in the first century either. But the precepts and principal stand. I think it is vain to seine the scriptures or biographies of sacrificial Christians looking for examples of men that laid down their right to support in order to shirk responsibility to support those that minister to us of the Lord. It is also vain to imagine that the abuses of so-called ministers (especially of the prosperity sort) justify our disobeying the clear teachings of common sense, the Law, and the New Testament. What the recipient of our money, etc. does with it is another question.

It seems to me that those that labor in the word ought to live the standard of living of those that he ministers to. I'm uncomfortable with lavish living ministers and I'm also uncomfortable with ministers that try to come off as spiritual by living like a pauper. It's fake and nonsense and don't give glory to God. He must live by faith even as those he ministers to. His dependence must be on God with a view to receiving from those he ministers to of his necessity and to work with his own hands as needed. Ministry is not a synonym for laziness. If a man does not work neither should he eat; if he work in the word and preparation for service this is labor enough. His focus much be on trusting and obeying God. This means ministering with an indifference to how the message may affect his pay.

I have known impoverished men to say they prayed everything the own 'in'. I don't view this as any more spiritual than the man who works at GM through the week and preaches on Sunday drives a car and owns a house. It is just what they are doing. I can only believe they are obeying God, just as the other man is. The one is not wrong and the other is not right in the mode he choses except that God has commanded him. He must not demand his 'right' to be supported, but must trust God to speak to the hearts of the people and follow the precepts of God's word. If they chose not to, they are to be blamed, but not by the minister. He must go on loving them and ministering to them in spite of what they do. God is his source, not them. They are the general means of support, but not always.

As for 'salaries' this is typically done to bring some level of structure to the process. A minister attends upon his business in the Lord with indifference to salary in theory, but there is also an element of provision that he needs to know about that he may know what he ought to do for the support of his family, the first line of his obligation. If a man provide not for his own he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. With this in mind he approaches ministry in trusting obedience to God.

Robert Wurtz II

 2011/5/17 9:43Profile

Joined: 2010/5/17
Posts: 1175


That was a very Scripturally balanced and good post Robert. Thanks for posting it.

 2011/5/17 9:58Profile

Joined: 2010/4/21
Posts: 227


Interesting question. Personally i think we should support the families of missionaries as there service means they are not often able to work for themselves so we should indeed share there burden. Pastors on a paid salary is a divisive issue. Paul set an example by not always being paid for his service. These days unpaid pastoral service is the exception and not the norm. I think pastors in a sense are surrogate shepherds if they are comfortable and unwilling to sacrifice for the gospel so will the sheep they feed. At this point it becomes an issue of the heart. the issue is the heart not the salary. I think we don't always support the needy as much as we should. Last a year a church i know of paid the pastor 300 times more than the missionary the church supports. I asked why.. and i was almost beheaded for my youthful exuberance. I think i will try not to generalize. Each case is unique i know a few pastors who are getting on a bit and due to health issues should actually take it a bit easy and others who are hoarding way too much wealth for themselves.

I might annoy a few people but any pastor who can afford a bentley or jet has too much and should share more of whatv they have.

 2011/5/24 12:46Profile

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