Should A Pastor. Pastor A Church for Free?
I very recently posted a reply to a question asked on a forum. The question was asked by another Pastor but it was a great question to be asked to Pastors and Churches alike. The question was "Should a pastor, pastor a church for free?" Below is the bulk of my reply with a little extra added for this feature article.
Your questions are good ones. "Would you pastor for free?" is a question that calls for all of us in ministry to examine the motives of our hearts. I hope when the dusk settles and the sun sets we would all answer "YES!" The only way we can keep from becoming "hirelings" is by keeping our heart motives pure.
I remember a relative who was at a funeral. She had just buried her husband. Before the grieving widow ever stood to her feet from the chair where she sat by the side of husband’s grave, the preacher walked over to her to inform her that he usually got $100 for preaching a funeral service. As shocking as it sounds, it does happen.
I will never forget 26 years ago as I met with the leaders of a church as they questioned me. I was a 25 year old very "green behind the ears preacher" being interviewed for his first opportunity to pastor. The group of leaders seem somewhat embarrassed as they told me, "We want you to be our Pastor but we can only pay you $100 a week." I quickly responded, "Don’t worry about that, I’ll pay you $100 week to let me preach." That’s the way I felt back then. I had been doing most of my preaching to the squirrels and trees in the woods behind my house where I went to pray. I was amped up about the opportunity to preach to real people. Your question has caused me to revisit those days and ask myself, "Do I still feel that way?" A good question for us all.
There are times when a Pastor may need to talk honestly with the leaders of the church if they seem unconcerned about providing for him. This is always a touchy area, but I encourage pastors to be humble and honest about it with their leaders.
To sum it up. The congregation is responsible to do all they can do to provide for their pastor. They will be blessed for doing it and things cannot really move forward the way they could until they are doing what they can do. But the servant of the Lord has to ultimately live by Matthew 6:33 realizing as he seeks first God’s kingdom and righteousness all his needs will be met.
When the dust settles, it is a heart issue. We can have a spirit of Balaam that prophesys for pay when we already have plenty of money in the bank. It is not about how much money you may or may not have, it is about how much of our heart the Lord has…..Thanks for reminding me about this important issue of our hearts.
Addendum for Sermon Seedbed readers: I know many of the visitors to this site are involved in full-time ministry and struggle financially due to being overlooked or unproperly cared for. The life of faith is filled with the challenge of depending on God in every circumstance to give us what we need, to do what we have been called to do. I think the overwhelming voice of God’s servants through the centuries to how they have survived financially as well as every other way is this, "Faithful is He Who has called you, Who also will do it!"
We need to be like Paul and learn to be content in whatever state we are in.
We need to be like Jesus who only did what he saw the Father doing.
We need to be like Abraham who called those things that be not as though they were.
We need to be like Peter who got funding from a fishes mouth.
We want to be like the Apostles who had money brought and laid at their feet.
We don’t want to be like Judas who for money betrayed Christ and then hung himself!
Have a Great Week!
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