So the other day, I was listening to a sermon and misread the upcoming bible verse my pastor was going to be talking about. I turned my Bible to the verse I thought it was and came across this…
1 Timothy 5:17-18
Church leaders who do their job well deserve to be paid twice as much, especially if they work hard at preaching and teaching. It is just as the Scriptures say, “Don’t muzzle an ox when you are using it to grind grain.” You also know the saying, “Workers are worth their pay.” (CEV)
In other versions “paid” also says honored, respect…etc. I find it quite interesting that the CEV says paid because don’t we normally see our value in a “job” by what we are paid. Don’t we feel honored when we are paid for a job well done? This brought a couple things to my attention.
The Church has been notorious for going on the attack when we see a pastor making the “big bucks.” We immediately look for what they could be doing wrong or that their motivation is. I totally include myself in this. I have been quick to judge when a certain pastor was all over the place. He had a best selling book with all kinds of products surrounding said book…our culture was gravitating toward the message and had made every kind of product you could think of reflecting sayings from this book. It wasn’t until years later, when I took the time to actually listen to this person’s sermons, blogs, tweets, etc., that I saw the ministry and life change happening around him. I was wrong to judge.
I realized that maybe; just maybe, God was providing a platform and success for this person because he was doing God’s work, spreading the message of Jesus.
I don’t subscribe to the “prosperity gospel.” (According to American culture, my life pretty much reflects the opposite of prosperity.) I don’t believe that my or anyone else’s “lack of” is tied to an amount of God’s love or blessings. Most of my life, I was one of those people that thought being in ministry was all about sacrifice, not having “nice” things, yet the more I dig into God’s word I see that is not always the case.
Our church budgets should prioritize preaching and teaching: 1 Timothy tells me that our pastors, evangelists, missionaries should be well cared for as they are preaching and teaching. As lay workers, we should want to honor these people that are reaching others on a larger scale that we can.
In my time as a booking agent, the one phrase that I have heard from youth pastors more than any other (and the one that grates on my nerves) is, “So how little can we pay so and so to do my event?” I get we all have these icky things called budgets that we have to operate under and youth ministry budgets are normally among the lowest in the church. I just find it sad that instead of seeking how we can most honor someone, we want to go for the deal. We expect sacrifice, but do we realize that ministers have families to feed and bills to pay just like anyone else. If a priority of your church is outreach, then your budget should reflect that whether in doing special events or finding out of the box ways to love on your community. Also, by making sure that our preachers are making as much as we can afford allows your pastors to focus on the task of preaching and teaching.
The Church needs to do a better job of celebrating each other and caring for each other so no one is in need. Yes, there are some bad apples in the bunch, but let’s not allow that to make us suspicious of everyone in ministry that has that big house or nice car. At the same time, let’s make sure our ministers are all able to have their needs met and are able to provide financially for their families.