Five Things You Should Know about Pastors’ Salaries

UPDATE: Listen to the podcast episode about this topic

In many churches, the pastor’s salary is a quiet issue. There is a sense of discomfort from both the pastor and the members when the topic is broached. Such discomfort is unfortunate, however, because a number of churches will not seek every year to make certain the pastor is paid fairly.

A couple of prefatory comments are in order. First, we all know of the extreme examples of pastors living lavishly or mismanaging money. Those stories, though true, represent a small minority. Most pastors are not overpaid. And most pastors manage their limited finances well. Second, I am aware that many people are unemployed and that anyone who has a job should be grateful. That is still not a good reason to pay a pastor unfairly. As a final note, this brief article is relevant to all paid church staff, though my focus is here on the pastor.

In my 25 years of consulting and working with churches, I have discovered five common issues that are not always known by most church members. And lack of awareness of any one of these issues can have a detrimental impact on fair compensation for the pastor.

  1. A pay or compensation package is not the same as a salary. I cringe when I hear churches state a package to be the pay for the pastor. The package includes benefits such as health insurance and expense reimbursements such as business use of the automobile. No worker in a secular company adds their benefits and expenses and calls it their pay. Anything other than the cash payment (before taxes) the pastor receives should be reported in a totally separate category.
  1. There are many resources to find out what the fair compensation for a pastor should be. Many denominations provide their own compensation studies. But you can do an Internet search for “pastor pay” and see a plethora of resources that are available. And as a rule of thumb, you could seek to estimate what the mean income is for families in the church, and use that as a basis for compensation for the pastor. Churches that do not do their homework on pastoral compensation tend to underpay their pastors.
  1. Many pastors request no raises but would still appreciate one. Some pastors simply don’t want to deal with a critic who might question any raise given to a pastor. Others feel extremely uncomfortable talking about money in general, and use the “no raise” request to deflect further conversation. Some think it’s just the noble thing to do. But most pastors, in reality, would appreciate a fair raise to keep up with growing expenses. Don’t accept their requests as the last word.
  1. Many pastors are under extreme stress because they do not have adequate income to meet their financial obligations. Like anyone else who is under heavy financial burdens, a pastor can find his thoughts consumed with worry. Because he is so distracted, he naturally is less effective in his ministry. Both he and his family feel the pressure.
  1. Some pastors leave their churches because of pay issues. You will not likely hear a pastor announce in his resignation that he is leaving because of financial pressures. The reality is that, for a number of pastors, the issue of compensation is a major push from one church to another, or from the church to a secular vocation. It’s not that the pastor is in his job for the money; it’s that the compensation for his vocation is insufficient to meet his family’s needs.

Paul wrote these words to his young protégé, Timothy, in 1 Timothy 5:17-18: “The elders who are good leaders should be considered worthy of an ample honorarium, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain and, the worker is worthy of his wages’” (HCSB).

It is unfortunate that the few indulgent pastors who live lavish lifestyles get most of the attention. The reality is that most of the some 400,000 pastors in America are not overpaid; indeed many are underpaid. Those are the pastors who need our attention.

Posted on December 17, 2012

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • To me, the question is not whether the pastor should be willing to work for free. (Personally I think that is hogwash and I find no support for that anywhere). The real question is what SHOULD the church do? How SHOULD they treat the pastor?

    SHAME ON a church that has a penurious attitude toward those who spend their careers leading them. They don’t deserve good leaders. The Golden Rule too often seems to have no place in the church, or so it seems to me.

  • Thank yo sir for your article…well stated and well needed! Having been a bi-vocational pastor myself, I know all too well the weight that financial burdens can add to the pastor’s heart and mind as he endeavors to fulfill the call of God on his life. I’m afraid that many of the pastors who deserve the most financial help are the least likely to bring it up, because of the reasons you mentioned above. It is important for us to take care of God’s men while they are here with us, or we may find ourselves searching for a pastor one day who will care as much as the one who left, but will not be able to find one because of our unwillingness to bless the ones we’ve already been blessed by.

  • Very timely article. Thanks, Tom.

  • I did not notice any comment concerning a pastors tax situation. How he is both employed and self employed for social security. It does come with some perks but the full ss tax can be a killer. Most do not know this. Including those preparing ministers taxes.

    • We pay a part time pastor $40k, only $864 is designated to salary, to housing $32,000, pension a portion. There isn’t much to tax, he and his wife get food stamps. He opted out of social security-his choice. We hired him part time for that is all we could afford we have less than 100 members, mostly retired elderly. The thought was he would have time to work as the contractor he said he was. Well he says he can’t keep his hours to 20, he won’t delegate some of the work to us to help him, he won’t have his office at the church. He wants $1000. a month raise. Any advise

      • Pam, here’s my advice, stop paying a part time pastor $40K.
        Unless the average full time employment for someone with a masters degree is $80K in your area, you’re already being very generous with him. Also, for he and his wife to receive food stamps, I am assuming she doesn’t work, or they have a house full of kids. If he won’t delegate, that’s his problem not the church.
        I suggest reaching out to whatever next level leadership you have, whether an associational missionary, or state convention representative for help. This guy sounds like he wants full time pay for half time work….

      • Thank you for the reply Mark. He does not have kids at home, he is good at working the system. I will recommend your advise to our council. Thank You

      • Drop him. Besides, why is ONE person making all the decisions here? It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t want to delegate the work. If it needs to be delegated, the church needs to step in and do it anyway. The church was never intended for any one man to rule. Only CHRIST is the head.

      • We are servants for God it him that places and call men to Mininistry what happened to time we prayed and ask the Lord to lead an guild our thoughts. I started a church 6 months ago this Lady could not pastor any more the church needed remodeled I put 13000 dollars of my money God allowed me to make and God has blessed the church I have not takin any income we open September 13 2020 this lady give this church to me for free that’s God friends my point preachers think there all of that pride comes before a fall the bible says I know it takes money but If your in Gods will he pays for what he calls and ordains Jesus said I know when a bird falls how much more do you mean to me. Here is what I tell my church either we believe Gods word or not it don’t change the fact it settled in heaven I will be in prayer for y’all

    • The tax situation is insane. How a pastor can be considered “self-employed” is beyond me. He or she is not grabbing a portion of the plate collection; he or she is completely dependent on the church for a paycheck. This is an archaic law that I can’t believe has not been successfully challenged.

  • Dr. Rainer,
    I am curious for a little clarification on #2. When you comment about seeking the “mean income is for families in the church, and use that as a basis for compensation for the pastor” what are your thoughts about the pastor’s wife and her income situation? I ask because it has come up in our own business meetings when discussing my husband’s salary. It was asked what income I brought to the family (which at the time was none. I was staying home with 3 elementary aged sons.) I just have never truly understood the thought process behind that question, but it was definitely used as a basis for his salary.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      S –

      Shame on any church that inquires about the spouse’s income. The church should pay the pastor fairly without delving into personal matters of his family. Your income should have no bearing on his salary.

      • Thank you, Dr. Rainer, I don’t want to bring shame to them, but being our first post-Seminary position their idea almost had merit. As painful as it was, we decided the best course of action was for me to take a part time job to supplement his income. 2 of our boys are now in middle school and are responsible enough to help out around the house and with their younger brother.

        Anyway, thank you again, I just wanted to make sure that my initial reactions weren’t selfishly and arrogantly motivated. I want to respond with care and compassion always.

      • Blessed Pastor says on

        I have to remain anonymous in this post, mostly to protect the guilty.

        After my wife and I had our second child, we decided she would not go back to work. I petitioned the Church Council to find out if the church could, feasibly, pay for my wife’s insurance. They consulted with the Finance Committee, who said it was feasible. Three months later, when we accepted a call to another church, we still had no answer from the Church Council.

        Bottom line was this: I’ve never asked for a “raise” in my life, but we knew we couldn’t feed our family if those insurance premiums had to come out of our pocket.

        Here’s the really sad part: behind closed doors, it was said, “That girl didn’t have to quit working. That was their choice.” The wife’s income, or lack thereof, should have no bearing whatsoever on what a church pays a pastor. Furthermore, it’s a short step from, “She didn’t have to quit working,” to “They didn’t have to have that second child.”

        Dr. Rainer, I agree with you wholeheartedly. “Shame on any church that inquires about the spouse’s income. The church should pay the pastor fairly without delving into personal matters of his family.” Regrettably, many churches do.

      • Most pastors relate well to your situation. Unfortunately, my own experience has proven that churches get by for as little as they can. 20% of the people pay 80% of the bills…I guess if I was in that 20% I might be reluctant to commit to extra bills because in the end I will be paying the bills. This situation will never change. I urge all pastoral candidates to think this through with their spouse before committing to full time ministry. YOU, not the church, are responsible for taking care of your family. It’s that way if you work for Wal-mart or the church. Don’t make the church the scapegoat any more than you make your secular employer the scapegoat. The ultimate responsibility rests with you. PLAN AHEAD! What solutions are in your control? Remember: part-time pastoring pays better than full-time, especially if you have a decent pay package with your secular employer. The ministry may not be as good…but then again, maybe the church relies too much on you as a full-time minister. I was better able to financially protect my family as a part-time pastor than a full-time pastor. Hope this helps.

      • Blessed Pastor says on

        There was–as is always the case–much more going on than I was able to or needed to share. I was seriously considering going bi-vo, which is what I would have done if the Lord had not chosen to move us. In the end, it all worked out for the best.

        My simple point is that (a) they never should have considered my wife’s income when developing a pay package for me and that (b) the comments regarding our decision for her not to go back to work were hurtful and absolutely, positively uncalled for.

      • Dan Kitinoja says on

        Brother, I totally appreciate your situation. As a youth pastor, things worked out just fine for my wife and I before we had our first child. My wife became a stay at home mom, which is what we feel is best for our family and our goals as parents. I worked full time at the church and also worked part time. The extra work helped, but we were not able to afford medical insurance (which was very difficult since childbearing plays quite a number on a woman), and ultimately we were facing financial ruin if we stayed where we were at. I chose to find a new position because my church was either unwilling or unable (depends on which lay person you ask-but most of them have no real idea why I left) to give me the raise I requested. I have no hard feelings toward the church, I love them all dearly, but it was a painful decision to make and I totally understand the burden you felt. Ministry is not for the weak at heart.

      • David A Booth says on

        Dear Dan,

        Your comment (“but most of them have no real idea why I left”) raises a question in my mind: Would the Church be better off if we spoke more openly about pastoral compensation. Before becoming a pastor I worked in the public and private sectors for 25 years. It was not at all uncommon for people to leave positions to earn more money elsewhere. Yet, we have made this topic something pastors dare not say. So, virtually no pastors ever acknowledge that one of the reasons they are going to another church is that they pay better.

        I recognize that this is a difficult subject to deal with, but when most of the congregation has no idea why a pastor is leaving how can we expect them to make appropriate changes?

        Best wishes,


      • Dan Kitinoja says on

        Yeah, I agree, if I felt that I could have been more open about things I might have avoided having to leave. I went back to that church not too long ago for a youth conference. Some folks were glad to see me. Others are angry with me. They are angry, in part, I believe, because they have no idea what staying there would have meant to my family. They all loved my wife, my son and me, and I would like to believe that they would not have been comfortable with her enduring hardship (which she did) because we could not afford medical insurance. I also think that if they understood that we could not have any more children because we could not afford insurance that they would have understood. They would then not be angry with me, simply said that I had to leave. In that we could be unified.


      • Tom,

        Thank your the great blog post, its definitely something that people need to hear.

        But, I am struggling a little with this issue. I agree that a pastors personal finances should never be overly scrutinized or made public. But, don’t the elders need to have some picture of families overal financial situation to make sure that all of their needs are being met? An example: if the pastors wife has a good job with a great benifits package that supplies the whole family with health insurance, then should the church be giving him extra money for health insurance when it is already covered by his wife’s job?

        Or lets say the pastor has a child with medical issues that requires more than average medical costs. Doesnt the church leadership need to know about those situations, so they can make sure that the family’s needs are met?

        Also, I know a pastor who is in the following situation: Him and his wife will be inheriting a lot of money from her parents. So, he has insisted that they not put money into a retirement account for him like they do the rest of the pastors, since their retirement will be more than covered by her inheritance. The church has graciously complied. Is that not biblical?

      • David A Booth says on

        Dear BJC,

        Great questions! May I offer a few suggestions?

        1. How much money a pastor’s wife makes should be irrelevant to the how much the church is paying its pastor. It would actually be illegal for a private employer to take a spouse’s income into account in determining the compensation it provides to an employee and I can hardly see how this is a good thing for a church to do. If the pastor and his wife want to donate much of his compensation back to the church that is the pastor’s decision and not one that the church should make on his behalf. If for some reason a pastor and church decide to lower his compensation because of his wife’s salary they should be prepared to immediately raise his salary and pay his health benefits if the pastor’s wife leaves her job for any reason. The extra cost of doing this should be included in the budget.

        2. It is great when a pastor who is either already well off financially, or sure that he will be, chooses to take less money from the congregation (i.e. not receiving money for retirement). Yet, I still think that this is decision that a pastor should make and not one the church should impose on the pastor and his family. When I have counseled pastors in this situation I have encouraged them to take their salary and to just give it back to the church or to other ministries. The downside to the pastor taking less than a full salary is that it sets a false benchmark for pastoral compensation. You don’t want people grumbling over the next pastor because he is making thirty thousand dollars per year more than the previous pastor.

        3. If a pastor has unusual financial needs, I would suggest that this should be handled by the Deacons like they would handle any other family in the congregation. This presupposes that the congregation is already compensating the pastor at the same level as people with similar education and work experience in the congregation are making. It is right that pastors face the same financial struggles (and the same support from the body of Christ) as anyone else in the church. On the other hand, if the pastor cannot pay for basic dental care for his son or daughter it would be a good opportunity to evaluate whether or not the pastor is being paid the same as other members of the congregation who have similar levels of education and work experience.

        I hope that is helpful.

        Best wishes,



      • How many ‘jobs’ do you know that rely on the labor of SEVERAL individuals to function yet only pays a FEW a salary, because they have a title. EXACTLY. Church is not a ‘job’. It’s a gathering for Christians to fellowship and edify and minister to each other, but here in America, people treat it like a way to make money. Considering the fact that church is a NON PROFIT that relies on donations AND volunteering from many of its members, if it is possible for a pastor not to burden other hard working members with a salary demand the church wants to make sure they have to pay as little out to individual members as possible and that includes taking the pastor’s spouses job into consideration if it is already sufficient enough to take care of the Pastor’s BASIC needs. THAT IS FAIR. I don’t want 90% of the church’s offering going towards a pastor’s rent while important ministries are being neglected. That’s NOT why I’m donating to the church. If you want to make more money, get ANOTHER job. Please

      • Thank you for that. How many other jobs can a person have where they want to know what the spouse makes? For that matter, how many other jobs are there where the spouse in interviewed right along with the prospective employee? And if I decided not to attend my husband’s church, can you imagine the tongue-wagging that would ensue?

    • Adam Reynolds says on

      that’s a question with impure motive and evil at its nature.

  • It should be noted that while Paul told Timothy that Elders deserved compensation, Paul himself was bi-vocational. There is little reason that Pastors cannot share enough of their responsibility with other Elders in order to work. Indeed in this way Pastors would be even more able to relate to their congregation. As it is, we have made the Pastor the CEO of a body of believers.

    • John Kreiner says on

      I Cor. 9:13-14 says “Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?” In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.”Were the people in the temple service bi-vocational? I think this indicates that bi-vocationality is not to be a default expectation of pastors. And of course, Paul apparently was also single during his ministry outlined in Acts and the Epistles. If a pastor is married with children, the pastor is already the equivalent of being bi-vocational, at least.

      • It is possible that those verses are taken out of context. What is the main thrust of Paul’s argument here? Is it about compensation? Listen to the following verses,

        “Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. 16 Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News! 17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. 18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.”

        I think more is going on than a simple argument for pastors making their income through the church. I believe that Scripture’s truths should be applied universally, that is, they are true all the time, if they are in fact true. With this in mind, we are speaking about Pastor’s compensation within the context of Western America. Can these verses be reasonably applied to most other culture’s that are different from the American church model?

        I don’t think there is a “default” form of income for people in ministry. The examples in the New Testament are way to diverse to pin it down to that.

      • Jarron C Oneal says on

        Author, while much of what your saying is true we cannot deny the kingdom principles that are being used as illustration by paul in this text. No one tend a flock and not during the milk, no one goes to war on his own dime, and who plants a vineyard and doesn’t eat the grapes are biblical principles from old to new testament and are try regardkles f whether Paul was full time , part time or Itinerate. He had every right to part take of the proceeds of the gospel. Paul’s particular assignment in this case he for went his right so that the gospel would not be hindered do to his audience being former pagan worshipers and the rogue visitors who came to question and attack his integrity which is why this letter is written in reponse to accusations . However you and I dont have the same assignment as Paul so those rights we do not have to give up. Jesus was taken care of by those he ministerd to Luke 8:1-3 , 1 tim 5:17 say pay the teachers double honor which 2 times the highest prevailing wage. Jesus told his disciples not take their wallets because their needs should be met by those they ministered too. I know I have ministered and refused payment because the holy spirit prompted me not to take it. Other times where I gladly received. And sometimes where I was flat out robbed. Paul called what he was doing for the church at Corinth robbery. Let not get Pauls speceific assignment confused with Kingdom principles. He gave up a lot of rights including the one to have a believing wife I don’t know about you but I’m not giving that one up either. Lol

      • Jarron C Oneal says on

        Sorry bout typos..cell phone

  • Dr. Rainer, thank you for this timely article. I am a staff member at a church that called two new full-time staff members two weeks apart, increasing the total number of FT staff members from 1 to 3 (including the senior pastor). The church knew that this would require a significant increase in giving. Eighteen months later, the giving has increased slightly, but not nearly enough to meet the needs of the additional salary and pay packages, without signficantly reducing the budgets of most of our ministries, including CP giving. The stewardship committee is willing to cut whatever it takes in order to avoid reducing our salaries, but I am struggling with the fact that most of the ministries will lose signficant funds just to pay my salary. I am praying about what I should do about this situation, and your article was personally very helpful to me. Thank you for your ministry!

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Thanks Jason. My prayers for you and the church.

    • Pastors generally have no problem at all paying staff at less than standard rates. I have seen secretaries, christian school teachers, custodians, given verbal praise from the pulpit, but know that the pastor never advocated a pay increase when he met with the board.
      The worst I ever encountered was a pastor that had a part time secretary. The church could know longer afford to pay her so he convinced her to “volunteer” her time. She did so until….until the pastor called an impromptu business meeting to see if the church should contribute money to an outside request. It was advised by the pastor to turn down the request because the church could not afford it. One of the men asked how we were going to afford to pay the “evangelist” (the pastor’s college friend) that was coming the next month. The pastor replied oh, that was budgeted in at the beginning of the year. I’ll never forget the look on the face of the husband of the woman who was now volunteering her time as church secretary because there was no money to pay her. Does it surprise anyone that the family left the church within a year of that time. Pastors are there worst enemies. There are valid reasons that congregations have trust issues with pastors and it isn’t always selfishness. By the way “double honor” is for those that “rule well” there is a qualification.

      • I am sorry for this church’s secretary. My husband has seen first hand what a wonderful secretary can do for a church and how a poor secretary can kill a church. He never misses and opportunity to praise his secretary both privately and publicly, including advocating for her salary. A good church secretary is worth his/her weight in gold, and we are thankful every day that we have one of these now.

    • So Jason, you’re telling me that you would rather cut back on ministries than give up the two staff members you’re trying to provide salaries and pay packages for? Isn’t the purpose of a church gathering to fellowship, edify, and minister to each other? You may need to re adjust your priorities.

  • Dr. Rainer, A powerful blog statement. Thank you for all you do. After 30 years of serving in the pastorate I understand only too well all you are stating. Again, thank you.

  • Rebecca McBrayer says on

    Dr. Rainer, My husband is blessed to serve to serve as Associate Pastor in a church that manages its money very well. We have been here three years and each year, they have given him a raise, without us asking for one. The past two years they have also given the Senior Pastor a raise. This year at our annual business meeting, one of our church members was concerned because the pastor was not getting a raise. Discussion ensued and revealed that the pastor had requested that he not get a raise, feeling that he did not need one. I appreciate the article you have written here and I am thankful that our church already follows these guidelines. We should pray that churches will realize just how much their pastors do for them, and compensate them accordingly.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Thank you Rebecca. Blessings to you and your husband.

    • Rebecca,
      I am a “part-time pastor, which means nothing. I pastor 2 churches and my salary is less than my custodians. Vacation? I have been here 2 years and have not had one however, I do get bugged by one of the committees to take a vacation as long as it is not over a weekend. Actually the pay is not a big deal and as I have said, “I get paid for something that I would probably do for free.” But, then there are additional expenses because the church I serve are a distance from my home and they want me in the office 6 days a week. I was told by finance that they want me to account for 20 hours a week. So far the least I have recorded is 52.5 hours and this doesn’t include prep time for Sunday. The chair of the S/PPRC stopped in last week and asked me if I was happy with what they were giving me. I told them I was fine. Then they told me that they are increasing the pay package for both the custodian and secretary. I’m not sure how I should handle that. Most likely I’ll just let it pass. I know what the churches budget is and know that they are struggling at times. And as an after thought, I make less then any member of either of my congregations. (One church only gives me a small housing allowance of less than $200.) Am I happy where I am? Yes. Do I love and appreciate the congregants? Yes. Will I keep doing it? Yes, as long as I am able.

      • David A Booth says on

        Dear Ken,

        From your comments you seem unhappy with the fact that you are making less than the custodians, but you are communicating to the church that you are doing fine financially. I would encourage you to be more straightforward in communicating with whoever is responsible for the budget of your church.

        If things are fine, then there is no reason to complain on a blog. If things aren’t fine, then you ought to speak up.

        Best wishes,


  • Dennis Waldrop says on

    Unfortunately, that’s why I am not actively pursuing a pastoral position right now. I am made to feel guilty for expecting a certain salary…I am told I need to exercise faith. Yet no other profession is told that. It is sad really.

    • Eric Luedtke says on

      Dennis, that argument can blow both ways … ask the congregation why they aren’t exercising faith that they can compensate a pastor fairly.

    • Matt Svoboda says on


      No other profession is paid by a church either.

      My point is churches SHOULD approach salaries different than business. Pastors should approach salaries different than CEOs as well.

      If a pastor would not be willing to serve as pastor for free they should not be pastors, assuming their families were taken care of some other way. Our desire, like Pauls, should be to be able to work for free, despite having the right to be paid. 1 Cor. 9.

      • John Kreiner says on

        In I Corinthians 9, Paul is referring to a particular situation, though he makes universal application, though the application is not that pastors should work for free. I Cor. 9:14 makes this clear. Paul’s desire was not to be a burden to the Corinthian church for certain reasons. He did not make this request of all the churches he worked for. In fact, he did not ultimately work at the Corinthian church for free, as in II Corinthians 11:8, he said “I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.” I don’t know if Paul solicited this help or if it was offered to him, but in any case he took it. Other chuches made up for the absence of support from the Corinthians. A pastor should be willing to work for free in special situations, but if a pastor has a family, then the pastor has a Biblical responsibility to support that family too that has to be weighed. .

      • He should support his family for certain. What is far less certain is that able bodied men should depend on the local church to pay them a permanent salary and benefits. We so often hear Paul quoted in 1 Cor 9 but it is pretty obvious that his focus was on not getting paid because that was an obstacle to the Gospel. Also worth noting, Paul was not a full time clerical employee for a particular local church but a itinerant preacher/missionary. We have taken a completely different situation and applied it to professional clergy when there is little to support that claim.

      • Matt Svoboda says on


        Just to be clear. I didnt say Paul was telling us to work for free in 1 Corinthians 9. What I am arguing is that if our hearts arent even in a place that we would pastor without pay we should not be pastors.

        My point is- as all things- this is an issue of the heart.

        Im definitely not stating pastors have an obligation to reject money from the church they serve while their family suffers.

      • harrison says on

        If all believers’ paths are directing by God, if He has “called” you to be a lawyer, banker, teacher, etc; should you then be willing to work that position for free? I have been fulltime in a church for free and for compensation. My wife has never been compensated though many think she should be just as available as me. To obey is better than sacrifice, the question may be, “What has God called you to do, and what level of faith and grace has He directed you to exercise to accomplish His calling?” Many professionals take less paying jobs to “serve” the community in obedience to God or to reserve the necessary time to “ministry” God has called them to. Great conversation!

      • Every christian should be willing to do the job of pastor for free, in the capacity to which they are able. If you are called to carry this work out to a much higher capacity, adequate (in accordance to the capacity) compensation is required.

      • Then someone in that household can/should get a job!

      • How many times have u worked for free in your life? many people think that pastoring is just a TITLE and of which it is one of the most demanding and even difficult job. The Bible clearly states that a workman is worthy of his labour it is only in the Church that I see people trying to ague salaries especially pastor’s salary. I am not a pastor but this is very unfair and selfish it should not even be a discussion if pastors should not be paid then no other Job on earth is even also worthy of payment. If you don’t think pastors should be paid then try and be one yourself and taste how it feels!

      • Desi Goldsmith says on

        Dear Matt

        What is it like living in the kingdom of neverneverland with Peter Pan. The fairies, the munchkins, etc! That was a very condescending post. If you are indeed a pastor and pastor freely not knowing where your next meal will be or where you will rest, I pity you. If you have a family I pity them even more.

      • Matt Svoboda says on


        I sure think it would be fun to get to live there… even if it was just for a weekend.

        You missed my point. I am a pastor, I receive a salary. While I could understand someone feeling pity for my family, that would probably have more to do with my personality than how I deal with finances. 🙂

        My point was that this is an issue of the heart. Im not sure how people missed that when I said, “Our desire, like Pauls, should be to be able to work for free despite having the right to be paid.” People, including yourself, responded as if I said, “Pastors should never receive money from the church, even if that means their family suffers horribly and is on the brink of death!”

        I hope your family has a great Christmas.

      • Lazdinger says on

        You completely misunderstood the gentleman’s post. If you are going to disagree with a statement, atleast characterize it properly. I had to read his post carefully a couple of times before I understood what he was saying. Read with a level head and at least ask questions before you come to an oversimplified conclusion about someone’s statement. Speaking of condescending:
        “What’s it like to live in neverneverland…etc!!”?? C’mon… I think you’re better than that.

      • Theres a tremendous amount of being highly defensive . I recently left the Anglican church… as I felt that, every single penny that was being raised, ie renting out the hall, selling flowers at xmas, garage sales. all of it went to keep the church going, pastors and overall cost almost 200,000 a year,,, not in a million years can I see that as remotely, what jesus had in mind, something has gone terribly wrong , I left the church, sad really, the pastor lives in a fancy neiborhood, wears designer clothes, after a barain injury not one person called me from the church…

      • The bible made us understand that if a man can not provide for his household he is worse than an infidel. Should a pastor be considered an infidel? Men of God are men before they were men of God, they are not spirits. They need money to cater for their immediate family needs. Remember he that works on the altar also live by that same altar.

      • Paul Baker says on

        Whoa my friend, the church IS a business. Just ask the IRS. They look at churches as businesses and they look at the Pastors as the leading administrator, i.e., CEO. When interviewing for a pastoring position, the candidate has every right to insist on a livable wage to be reviewed every 90-120 days. If the pastor merits a raise, THEN GIVE IT TO HIM. How stingy we have become with God’s money in compensating God’s leaders in the local church. Shame on us!

      • As far as Pastors having the heart to be Pastors if they got paid for it or not goes for everyone who has a job/profession they feel called to do. Why to people say this about Pastors only and not other professions. I get so sick of this and how this is blown out of context and how Pastors are different than anyone else who works a job. People feel called to their jobs just like Pastors feel called to be Pastors. I’ve seen Elders not pay their pastors what the Pastor deserves because the Elders say they work hard and they don’t get paid what the Pastor would get paid. That is so selfish!! Living the life of a Pastor is VERY HARD WORK and is the 3rd most stressful position next to being a Doctor….especially with all the expectations put on them in the American Church. Church boards want their Pastors to ‘do it all’ but don’t want to pay them for all the work theyre expected to do. That is detestable!! Is it any wonder Pastors get so burned out and ‘fall’ as they do. The church leaders need to take responsibility for how they treat their Pastors – and own their part. They chew them up and spit them out …. this is the Church?? Who wants to be a part of that??

      • Darren says on

        I believe that the majority of pastors in the US live on modest salaries when you count the associate and youth pastors. Senior pastors, In every church I’ve ever been part of, tend to make pretty good bank. Our SBC church of appoximately 450 just sent out a proposed budjet for the year. The associate pastor, youth pastor and music ministers’ salaries were in the the neighborhood of 45 K plus 7 K more of benefits. The senior pastor is getting 55 K with 30 K in housing allotment (which goes to his private home loan) and an additional 30 K in a category called benefits. The senior pastor’s salary alone is 18 % of the total money that will be collected. The average household (with two wage earners) in our area is 45 – 60 K. The associate pastor has 5 kids too while the senior pastor has 2 kids. (note: the salaries and benefits of church staff is 60% of 770,000 total in giving. An additional 30 k is allotted to pastor travel expenses in a separate category)

        I have a difficult time when I think that a pastor is near the top of the wage earners of his entire congregation when he lives off of the tithes and offerings of the people. It is this sort of greed that is going to be the downfall of the church and it reminds me of Eli’s sons who abused the people’s offerings by taking the choicest cuts for themselves.

        In my opinion, a pastor should not make head and shoulders above the people that are sacrificially giving to the church. Also, the church should look at need. If a pastor has no children, then maybe they get less; if many children, then more. I hate it that many churches are run like a senior pastor’s family business.

      • David A Booth says on

        Dear Darren,

        As a pastor I fully agree with you that a pastor should not make “head and shoulders above the people who are sacrificially giving to the church.” From my experience, your church is actually an anomaly. Normally a pastor is paid meaningfully less than what other men of his age, education, and experience are making in the church where he serves. Of the churches that I know well, I cannot think of a single instance where the pastor has a higher salary than that of the Elders or Deacons in his church. This may be different in very large churches as I am mostly familiar with churches with less than 200 members.

        I suspect you live in a relatively poor part of the country, because in many parts of the country $85k per year is a comfortable, but not a particularly lavish, salary. Where I live, Assistant Principles make $10k+ per year more than that and they have a lot more time off per year than a typical pastor does.

        Often the issue of pastoral salaries is simply ignored in a local church. I would encourage you to talk with the Elders or Deacons in your congregation and ask them (with humility) to explain how they developed the budget and whether they have any benchmarks for how they are determining pastor’s salaries in light of community living standards.

        Let me add that trying to pay pastors based on need is a hopelessly tricky issue (unless your pastor tells you that he doesn’t need so much money). Financial need goes way beyond counting up the number of children a man has. If the church is able to do so, it is wiser to set pastoral compensation according to community standards.

        In Christ,


      • David,

        Thanks for your response. I have a couple observations that I would like to try to get feedback on: 1. Since becoming a Christian, I have been part of the PCA and SBC communities. The PCA in St. Louis area where we live is pretty much located in the more affluent areas and draws a lot of wealthy christians into their churches. The pastors that are part of the St. Louis area PCA are very well paid, but they are not making excessively more than their flock. Their flock is made up of CEOs, doctors, lawyers – basically white collar types. The PCA church where I attended in the early 2000s had their share of millionaires and even one couple who are on the Forbes 500 list. The senior pastor made around 150 K per year. The youth, associate and evagelism pastors made 50 K / year plus the church basically bought their houses for them. Plus they got some sweet benefits like having the church paying for their children’s tuition to private christian school K-12 and also pick up a big portion of their childrens’ college tuition at the denomination’s college – covenant college. (Many of these school benefits have since been cut).

        2. When we moved South of St. Louis to a poorer area, we began going to an SBC church. The staff is definitely not paid as well. Like I said in previous post, the senior pastor makes a pretty decent living while the other pastors either struggle or their wives are forced to help with income. The senior pastor, in my opinion, makes too much because the average household that is supporting him makes significantly less than he does.

        It seems that churches are in competition with each other to attract ‘talent.’ The most talented preachers are drawn to the most affluent areas. The PCA pastors were definitely several calibers better communicators and likely more advanced in their theological understanding than the pastors in the less affluent area.

        In my opinion, this is how capitalism has effected the church. Churches are in direct competition with each other to land the best senior pastor. And to land the talent, a church has to pay. In the case of the SBC church I mentioned, they pay the senior pastor more than double the other pastors. And they even had to agree to pay him to the point that he is likely in the top 1% of wage earners in his congregation. Probably if they didn’t pay him this amount, the pastor would likely feel the Lord’s calling elsewhere. And I suppose that the SBC church then hopes that their talent will influence church growth.

        I think that capitalism (and I believe in capitalism as a economic driving force) drives our churches much more than we want to admit. I would guess that salary and benefits are a big factor in a pastor’s ‘calling.’

      • David A Booth says on


        You are undoubtedly correct that there is a type of capitalism at work in terms of affluent churches calling pastors from smaller or poorer congregations. As one of my professors used to say: “I’ve noticed that when the LORD ‘leads” a pastor to move to another church it is usually to a church that pays better.” It is hard to see how this model fits with God’s word.

        One idea that I have run by Elders and Pastors is that we should establish a flat salary for all pastors in our denomination and make adjustments only for housing allowances. If the purpose of pastoral compensation is to relieve the ministry “from all worldly cares” then this amount doesn’t change based upon whether he is serving a small or a large congregation or whether he is the youth or senior pastor. Affluent churches would therefore need to subsidize the compensation pastors are receiving at poorer or smaller congregations. I confess that this may not be a very good idea because literally nobody has ever agreed with my suggestion. On the other hand, I mostly hear people complaining about the current situation without offering any alternatives.

        Let me add one point in defense of pastors: When a young man comes out of seminary seeking a call he is routinely confronted by churches who are looking for “someone with an M.Div and 5 years experience.” When such a man goes to a small church that can’t afford to pay him a livable wage and then moves on to a better paying call five years later we should remember that this young man didn’t create the system – we did (by “we” I mean middle age Christians like myself).

        If we are not willing to change the current system we shouldn’t expect different results.

        In Christ,


      • Darren says on


        I like your idea. A seminary friend of mine who felt called to be a pastor in a small town actually shared that idea with me several years ago too. He actually got a call from a church in a town with a population of about 2000 people shortly after he graduated. I lost track of him for awhile and then found out through the internet that he was no longer serving in the church in the town. He had moved to a pastorate in a much larger city. I figure he started a family and couldn’t provide for their needs in the smaller church.

        What a wonderful thing that the church could do in fulfilling the great commission and reaching rural people if the church body subsidized pastors in areas that can not support their pastor.

        It is hard to judge a pastor for taking a more lucrative position though. Most lay christians make job choices largely based on compensation. It just sort of feels wrong when we see our spiritual leaders doing that too. Also, I think I heard that John Piper, Baptist pastor in Minnesota, does not take a salary from his church’s sacrificial giving. I think that he makes money on sale of books and speaking engagements – not that every pastor has that luxury, but it does say something for a man that does not take every dollar that they can.

      • well,in the old days I believe,those who were pastors..had a different view on being Christ’s representative….they actually were serving the Lord first ,over their own desires/comforts..I grew up in a country type SBC and I know salary was never the main issue for my pastors back them..and these men worked harder and under more terrible hardship than pastors today..I believe, ,a pastor should be paid for his dedicated, unselfish work in God’s service and to the church members and community where he ministers on a day to day basis.. and is following the example of Paul and the early apostles / disciples..doing the Lord’s work , having faith in Him to provide… this kind of faith always works for everyone !.No one should get paid just for holding a religious title! ..But,I know some pastors today that will bleed a small poor church dry and never do anything but visit the sick and maybe help out in a program they believe will bring them a pat on the back from big-hearted 76 years old and being a church worker for 40 years ,I learned just because a man(or women)goes by the title of minister does not mean they all have the “church groups” best interest at heart and sometimes their over- all behavior reveals they are not born again believers !!!I know one “preacher”that is just buying time until he can retire and is being paid over half of what this little church takes in, mostly from retirees in Fl…I know God would never approve of this kind of greed and will never bless the mess..sadly today,it is plain to see,many churches are working more under the “world’s” view than under the leadership of the Holy Spirit : (

      • Jeff Woods says on

        Ok…The Bible says that the pastor is to be counted worthy of Double Honor but since you so strongly disagree and think a pastor should only make what the congregation is making then lets make that fair and apply scripture concerning the early Church, In the early church EVERY MEMBER sold every thing that they had and redistributed everything among them selves…Do you own a car? Do you own a house? Have you sold all that you own so that everyone in the church is treated fair and equal? Do you require that a doctor who has sacrificed years of his life to go to school and treat peoples physical needs be required, in your church, to give up a substantial part of his pay check so that you can feel like everything is fair in the church? Our Churches are dying today because people will not allow the pastor to be taken care of and because people tell the widow of Zeraphath to not give to the man of God and therefor she is not being blessed, Show me the scriptures that say that you should limit the man of God and cut his salary down? Where?

      • Darren, Julie, and others

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Most churches don’t know what their staff makes. Seems we are following the American business model, instead of imitating Jesus as he led his disciples. I have seen a senior pastor request raises to the point the church could not afford a youth pastor, and eventually membership started shrinking. I have also seen strong deacon or elder boards drive pastors to exhaustion. And one created a church split by telling the sr pastor he had to allow a board member’s wife to be on staff. Another pastor I know agreed to a salary, then wrote checks to pay for his mortgage and car payments…which was never reviewed by the board or finance committee. So I believe in meeting the needs of those who are chosen to do full-time ministerial work, but with accountability. Too often no one wants to bother with simple checks and balances.

      • David A Booth says on

        Dear AskBob,

        One of the amazing things about this article has been the variety of shocking practices it speaks to. I am a pastor of a local church and here are a few suggestions that every church should follow:

        1. The pastor’s entire compensation package should be transparently communicated to the congregation.
        2. The pastor should not be on the compensation committee of the church.
        3. The pastor should not be the Treasurer nor should anyone related to the pastor be able to write checks. This isn’t because pastors aren’t trustworthy but has to do with the appearance of impropriety.

        One suggestion that nobody seems to want to follow would be to index the pastor’s salary to a publicly available compensation package. So instead of saying: “We pay our pastor X amount of money” the church could say: “We pay our pastor like an Assistant Principle of our local High School.

        I can’t imagine a (good reason) why any church would refuse to do these three things.

        Best wishes,


      • No one said we need more children. Therefore, you do not deserve more money because you didn’t pull out. We don’t need your genes. To assume having more offspring entitles you to more money is wrong. The rest of us are not responsible for your decision to have kids and to suck up more resources and diminish the quality of life for everyone else on the planet.

      • I agree that a pastor should never be in the job for the money, but I disagree that it is just not reasonable to expect them to live for free. This is not the era in which they can be self-sufficient farmers or something like in Biblical times. I do not think I would want to see a pastor working a 9 to 5 job 40 hours a week and then trying to maintain the church, as well. That would be unfair to ask of them. People need them at times like at the bedside while a loved one is passing away. How can they give their congregation their all if they are expected to do both. It is only right that they are supported by the congregation so that they can in return be the support the congregation expects of them. Please google Maslow’s heirarchy of needs to understand exactly why it is that we need to have pastors supported. The pyramid shows the order in which needs have to be met to reach the next level up.You will see, at the very bottom is the requirement to be able to do this, and basic physiological needs must be met first, like shelter, safety, food, water, before a person can even consider emotional needs and then having a purpose in life and giving back to others. At the very top is the “self-actualization” category, which means having reached the point in life where one feels like they are completing the duties in life they are meant to acheive, and have given back to society in a way they had anticipated to do so, ect. The person has to have all the layers to be able to reach a level to which they can be there for others. Hence, all these levels must be supported in order for a pastor to fufill the duties of a pastor. This is why we need to support our pastors financially, to allow for their physiological needs to be met so that they can accomplish fufilling our needs.

      • Adam Reynolds says on

        Interesting example you use of Paul since Paul was neither a pastor nor did he have a family to support. if a person thinks that a pastor/CEO comparison is not accurate, try it. no CEO is expected to be there in the middle of the night at a moment’s notice for his employees. no CEO has preached over a 6 month old’s funeral, no CEO carries the burden for their congregation that a pastor does. I’m a bi-vocational pastor that has a 50+ hr per week job on top of my pastoral duties. i have more than 2 full-time jobs, and for any person to think all a pastor does is prepare a sermon every Sunday, walk a mile in their shoes for a month. you might have a bit more ‘grace’ful perspective. while a CEO has responsibility over a businesses financial well-being, the pastor has to manage a staff, manage volunteers, nurture the spiritual well-being of his family, his staff, and his congregation (in that order) while balancing the books, keeping up PR, etc… If you need biblical example, Jesus Himself had a treasurer, and His ministry was doing well enough financially to require a treasurer and support a staff of 12 while the treasurer was skimming off the top (Judas).
        Here’s a solution, don’t pay them for being the pastor, but quit expecting duties out of them that go beyond pastoral duty. Or pay them well to be your one-stop CEO, HR manager, financial advisor, janitor, bookkeeper, subcontractor, handyman, plumber, electrician, etc…

      • Wow! As a former truck driver that was away from home over 70 hours a week I still am shocked at the mindset of American ministers. I am always stunned at the business model approach to ministry. Fascinating that the bible likens the church to a body and not a business (incidentally they had businesses back then – but it doesn’t fit what the church is). By the way, I do believe the disciples casting their nets into the sea once to catch fish (probably sport fishing – yeah. And you wonder why hard working men and women feel taken advantage of when they are asked to give up their vacation time to help out at the church while the pastor makes sure his family always has 2-3 weeks of vacation at his convenience. Pastors that fill each others pulpit or do “evangelism” at their buddy’s churches get some golf time and a moonlighting paycheck. Isn’t it incredible that most pastors always liken themselves to business managers or CEO’s but never a blue collar job. They know better. Some of the most physically lazy and non-endearing men I have ever met are pastors. To be fair some of the most hardworking pastors that I have ever met are pastors – clarification – they held another job as well as pastored hmm maybe that was key to the love the people had for them. I have firsthand knowledge of a man in the ministry for over 25 years, quit because he couldn’t handle the “pressure” had to take blue collar job and could only handle it one year and “hurt” himself . Then he, I will say it, “weasled” his way into a desk job at the same company. He was a friend of mine until he started telling me how he treated the “underlings” of which he was one before he got the desk job. Arrogant and bitter. Very sad. Over 10 years later nothing has changed.

      • I grew up in a blue collar family and have held blue collar jobs. I have known of blue collar people who actually took joy in giving the pastor a hard time because they viewed him as management. They actually kept a scorecard. The blue collar people 2, the pastor 0. Their two victories were tallied based off of two pastors dying of a heart attack while serving in office. I do not write this to say that blue collar people are bad. My father is one. My point is that we can both play this game of pointing to horrible examples of the other side in order to make our point. That being said, I do think a good portion of pastors would do themselves and their people a great service if they spent some time in the non Church work force for an extended period of time. Sometimes pastors do think like CEO’s or management. In some ways we must do that in order to efficiently run the church, but I do not EVER want to get to the place where I am so calculating that I am willing to ask someone to work day in and day out for free while paying for an evangelist.
        By the way, I know of pastors and blue collar folks who went to the office for 70 ours a week and only actually worked about 25 hours per week, and I suspect that it wouldn’t take you very long to think of some examples like that as well.

      • But that’s the problem Dan, A pastor is not supposed to RUN the church. WE are the church, and we come together in a church service to worship God and edify EACH OTHER. Pastors need to stay in their lane and stop trying to ‘rule’ everything which the Bible clearly teaches church leaders NOT to do.

      • Another totally disconnected from reality person…i’ve seen what CEO’s have to do to run a Corporation. You’re so off the mark it’s not even funny….pastors should work a secular job, even for no other reason, to get out of their bubble and see what real life is like. I’ve never heard so many people that their primary duty is to love the brethren and shepherd the flock have so much disdain and animosity towards their congregants. And a gross misunderstanding of the daily life of their congregants. Who wants to pay for that?

      • Great point!

      • lawanda brown says on

        I hope you pastor for free!

    • That’s a good poste! People tell Pastors to trust and have faith and to believe for a salary without having a steady one but the same people wouldn’t like the same amount of faith to be asked of them, how come??

      • Nice post! I often wonder why this should even be a subject of discussion and same people will never ever even imagine their lives as a pastor or even working for free. Where in the world do people work for free? That’s how some churches stress their pastors in ministry with this mentality of working for free and expect God to be happy with them and they forget that you can not buy anything in the market for free. How do you expect a pastor to concentrate and be in full time ministry if his financial needs are not meant? A pastor who spends his whole day at work comes back tired and hardly able to have time to study the word of God what would you expect from him and some wonder why they are seeing less manifestations in the Church like they should.

      • Please explain. What does ‘full time’ ministry mean? The last time I checked ALL Christians are required to be on ‘full time’ ministry whether they’re on the job or at the church. In fact, ministry occurs most often OUTSIDE the church walls. You can minister to people anywhere you go. Besides, I’m pretty sure the praise and worship leader, Elders, and prayer team get tired when they come home from work and someone is calling them in for requests. You’re not the only one working in the church you know.

    • I don’t believe that pastors should have to live in extreme poverty, but I do feel that some pastors, particularly in some of the mega churches are getting lavish salaries (more than I will ever see). I myself know what it is like to have to struggle, and I thank God that I am now back on my feet, If pastors should get a salary, it shouldn’t be much above I guess what they call poverty line income where you are earning above that. I realize that a lot of pastors have families, but they should be able and willing to make some sacrifices like making their children understand that they need to share certain things, and that some things will be handed down when the older child outgrows it. In the end the question that ought to be asked is “If a pastor should not be expected to live in poverty, then why should any of the members of the church be expected to if they are expected to pay a tithe every week?” I doubt that in any church that members of a congregation know what the other members go through in their everyday life, or what they have to do without. I imagine that some might know, but it at times comes from prodding and poking “your” nose in other people’s business. Don’t assume that every member in a church is financially secure or can afford to make constant sacrifices.

  • Pastor Etta christon says on

    God say he will supply your every need according to his riches in Glory, he also say in the word that he never seen the righteous forsaken nor his SEED begging bread.

    • Steve Pyfrom says on


      This is entirely true, as you mention Phil. 4:19 and Psalm 37:25-26, that God does provide for the needs of his people, and that in all of David’s years as King of Israel, he never saw anyone in need of begging. However, this doesn’t negate the responsibility for God’s people to give faithfully, so that others (including pastoral staff) can receive a fair wage. Most pastors don’t get paid enough, and especially for being on-call 24-7. My feeling is that we can’t just keep quoting verses about God providing and forgetting that we are the body of Christ, through which Christ does his work.

      • Right, Steve. We (congregants) are to be the means by which God provides for our pastors. We should see it as our privilege to do so.

      • Jarron C Oneal says on

        In addition we need to us All Scripture for our doctrine on paying the Pastor. This subject is clearly discussed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:7-14 and Galatians 6:6

      • Who Do You Serve? says on

        What did Jesus say? (Matthew 10:7-8)
        Do you believe Jesus, or do you believe Paul?

        What did Jesus say? (Matthew 10:8)
        Do you believe Jesus, or do you believe Paul?

      • Micah Burke says on

        Jesus and Paul preached the same Gospel

      • Was Jesus giving instructions specifically about teaching elders, or was Paul? Jesus and the disciples were a one-time deal. Paul was giving specific instructions about under-shepherds.

    • Etta, Can you then explain for me the countless Christians who live in poverty. Are they not righteous, are only the wealthy righteous, and if so why did Jesus come as an impoverished peasant instead of a wealthy land owner?

      • The Messiah did not come as an impoverished peasant!!! Mary’s father was a priest and she was dedicated to temple service as the first born. When the visiting Kings gave gifts to the Infant there was enough gold to sustain them even after Joseph’s death.

      • And he didn’t get a wadge either!!!! Maybe the pastors now days should fall on being humble just like Jesus and request $$$.

      • and NOT request $$$$

      • I agree. The pastors in my area all live lavishly. More lavishly than the people I know working 60 hours a week. I personally know some of them and it is not a 24/7 job.

      • Richard sands says on

        I feel like I’m coming in the middle of a conversation.. 🙂 We have a change of Pastors..The new pastor has stated his salary will by $$$. Since that (sermon) that is all that is talked about at Sunday service.. Unfortunately, at this time he is not the caliber of our last pastor. Her salary (well earned) could be seen in her work ethnic. Visiting the sick, taking care of the poor, mission work in Mexico and extremely busy with church programs…most of which were targeted at raising money. I believe the new pastor see the old programs and feels that “the work has been done” when in reality the work has just began. Our church is dying!

  • Lonnie W. Brooks says on

    Dr. Rainer, that is a timely blog, I fit right where you are taking about…… We struggle each month.

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Thank you Lonnie. You are in my prayers.

      • B.Kathak, Pastor says on

        i am part time pastor in small village church, my church believers are unable to paid salary but they are willingly paying me through collection of every month of 2nd sunday offering.

      • This is exactly the sort of biblical “love offering” model demonstrated by the early Christians. It promotes trust and allows the body to look for opportunities to come to the aid of those in need as needs arise. Consider yourself blessed to be in that situation!
        Compensation packages for Elders who preach regularly (or as the modern church has unbiblically named them “pastors” )
        has become a worldly model replete with bonuses and unbiblical temptations woven in with the removal of simple love offerings based in need.

      • Jay Cooper says on

        Dr. Rainier, what is your thoughts on whether a pastor should tithe or give generously ongoing from the salary, and perhaps, housing allowance portion of his pay? Thanks for your thoughts!

      • Thom Rainer says on

        I am personally convicted to give at least a tithe of the salary and the housing allowance.

      • Tithe the tithe really? The tithe was never meant for pastors or elders. The tithe is for the needy. The pastors and elders made there own way in bible times and they should now I believe.

      • Your misquoting scripture! These verses do not in any way refer to payment or salaries in the least! Read the original kjv or Hebrew.

    • Dr. RAnier,
      I have a question. Is it proper for mileage reimbursement to be lumped together with basic compensation in one check or should a separate check detailing miles being reimbursed be written.

      • Thom Rainer says on

        Robbin –

        Auto expenses are a direct expense reimbursement and should never be confused with basic compensation. I would advise against including the amounts in the same check.

      • In the churches I’ve attended, they seem to squeeze members, for every cent of their finances while the pastors live better than majority of the congregation, including taking nice vactions, while some have never in 20 plus years as an adult been able to take even one vacation. They seem to have no regard for church family members in need. (maybe I am wrong, & their is something I am not seeing, but it far from the sharing of resources & mutual care & concern of all members as seen in the new testament church recorded in the Bible

      • Ward Kelly says on

        I agree Yve….as of 2014 the average American household income was $73,000. Here in Georgia it is around $50,000, and I routinely see pastors making two, three times that amount. Did these men enter their vocation to serve others as Christ? Or was their choice a business decision? When many families across this country are suffering financially they learn to live without, or get another job. Are these folks any less under stress than a Pastor? I question the entire structure of American church payment and the reasoning behind entering the ministry. IMO a Pastor should receive a salary and benefits package comparable to the community he serves.

      • With all do respect, there is really only a handful of Pastors who teach the word with divine authority and simplicity. But when Pastors are counseling people, and picking up phones and getting paid above 40.000 dollars a year and don’t have a job on the side, let’s not make it sound like they are out there braking backs while others are, just to make ends meet. What I see a lot is Pastors who are very comfortable in what they do and definitely enjoy they’re salary, but when we say hard work, I think we need to re examine the Apostle Paul when we say hard work. Nevertheless still pray for your Pastor.

      • Urania Whitaker says on

        yes. I just left a church like that, In fact was put on front street in front of the whole church by the pastor that there was first fruits that he was not getting from me from raises he assumed I received. I been giving tithes, offering, special offering, salary, anniversary, birthday and vacation money and could not afford it. In fact my house was in neglect. So when he did that I left and haven’t joined a church since. I visit but will not join.

      • michael lusk says on

        Its bad when the church doesn’t have the members to pay the pastor or even keep the lights, water and heat on

      • Mark A Jones says on

        Michael, that’s where my church is. We are in oil country and the ‘boom’ comes and leaves leaving unemployed families. I have not had a salary in about 9 months.
        Now taking on a business for income.

      • That is true. Does anyone consider the educational requirements and costs to obtain ordination credentials? Whereas a secular education BA is around 120-30 credit hours, an MA requires 36, and the Phd goes up from there, ministry requires the BA, the MDiv is 70+ before starting a Min Doc.

        For 25 years I have pastored in rural areas. My wife is a teacher, I was in construction, until a health issue forced me to seek another occupation for support. I chose teaching. This required another BA with majors in preferred teaching content areas. Only 5 years out of my 30 years of ministry did I pastor a church capable of offering me a salary, and then the “money holders” allotted a far lower salary than my experience and education called for. Some even believe I should be on call 24/7/365 and thought my services should be free. I have spent the majority of my ministry paying the churches to keep the lights on and fund their “missions” endeavors because of a “calling.”

      • Drew Martin says on

        With all due respect to George. As a pastor, I worked in textiles for years, had a landscaping job, doing 90% of the heavy lifting in the South, where temperatures soared, and have now been a pastor for 7 years. I make 50% of what I used to make. The unending burden placing, broken homes, child molestation cases, substance abuse, and the spirit of “Jezebel” that comes with the job makes my job “heavy lifting.” You have no ideas about the sleepless nights, self-doubt, and putting up with wicked women and men who know more than anyone in leadership. Of course there is the bright side. I am a believer, and I owe my life to Christ, and am thankful to be working for HIM. BUT don’t ever assume you know anything about being a pastor until you are one for a few years. In Christ alone!

      • Who pays for pastors automobile repairs?

      • Steve Pryor says on

        Absolutely, mileage should be a seperate check. Please, tell me it is handled as a reimbursement (no taxes paid), not an addition to base pay.

    • Get a secular job as well. Matt 10:8 You should be teaching the people for FREE. Mic 3:11

      • Are you kidding me? Have you ever pastored a church? I guarantee you have not, and have absolutely no clue of the expectations and demands on a pastors time. It is incredible to me the things that church-goers expect from one man. It’s no different than running a small business. Give me a break and get a reality check. And, by the way, I’m not a pastor nor am I related to one. I’ve worked in both the secular and ministry fields. Nobody begrudges the salary of a CEO of a small business, but throw an offering envelope and a few Bible verses into the mix, and suddenly everybody has something to say about it, and it rarely errs on the side of generosity. 1 Cor 9:4-14, 1 Tim 5:17-18, Gal 6:6, 2 Cor 9:13

      • The problem is that the church is not run by one individual. The church is actually the body of Christ and we all are members who are supposed to play a part in it. A lot of times, pastors take on more responsibility than their job entails and do not delegate to other members. The early churches were not ran by one person but elders and ministers working together as one unit. Perhaps pastors should put their foot down and inform member’s of their actual responsibilities and tell them to pick up the slack in the rest. That way no one will be complaining that they are being overpaid.

      • I don’t get paid for using my spiritual gifts, nor should anyone. We are all to contribute so that no one is overworked. A “love gift” for going above and beyond is in order, but the modern day, paid pastor is unbiblical!

      • Sandy the Bible says that people who labor in preaching and teaching should be worthy of double-honor (double compensation) and in the same context it says the laborer is worthy of his wages, and also “you shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain”. (one who works for something should be able to benefit from it). It is true that Paul says in 1 Corinthians he presents the Gospel free of charge, but in the same passage he also says that what he is doing is revoking His right of the gospel. We can see based on these evidences that he is speaking a descriptive truth rather than a prescriptive truth, and that it is the full right of the pastor, biblically speaking, to get compensated well for what he is doing. Pastors work nonstop, taking phone calls all day, preaching, giving advice, and so many other things that the congregation doesn’t see. If he did not get paid for doing it then he would not be able to focus all his attention to the mission of the church, hence “muzzling an ox when it treads out the grain”.

      • Early American settlers were mostly poor yeoman farmers and so were the preachers. These men of God did have regular jobs but also felt called to lead the local congregation. Generally, the pastors were paid very little to nothing in most towns. The people of the community did give them respect and often invited them over for dinner and other festive activities. This seems very inadequate in our current society but has a simplistic and biblical sense to it. The church (the body of believers) were more involved and responsible for the health and well-being of the church. The church survived and flourished because most members pitched in to help keep the church/community strong.

        Church members need to volunteer themselves more to the point that paid employees are simply not needed. We have so many paid church employees because somewhere along the way we decided to give money instead of time to the church. This is the true problem. Not church salaries but the laziness of church members.

        The church is not a social club designed to make us feel better. We need to be willing to roll up our sleeves and get to work for our churches and communities.

      • Hello Kevin,

        Being worthy of double-honor is NOT double compensation. The Greek word for honor here is “time” and should be interpreted high esteem, respect or honor. Similarly, it should be interpreted as high esteem in 1 Timothy 6:1, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all HONOR, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” The greek word that seems to fit the interpretation “compensation” is “timao”, which is used in 1 Timothy 5:3, “HONOR widows that are widows indeed.

        1 Timothy 5:17-18 says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. For the scripture says, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.” Therefore the interpretation in context appears to be that as the ox deserves not to be muzzled & the laborer deserves wages, so then an elder that rules well deserves double esteem.

        If a pastor feels his compensation through the offering of the saints is inadequate he should find another means of compensation that will not cause believers or non believers to stumble. For whoever stumbles one of Christ’s, it would be better if a mill stone were hung around his neck and he be cast into the sea. Our vocation as Christians should be to present the gospel without hypocrisy & burden on others. The moment that anyone questions your motives suggesting things like “money”, the gospel of Christ will be dishonored.

      • Briley Penner says on

        There is a principle today that is called the 20-80 Principle. If you take a church’s congregation, 20% of the church does 80% of the work. This is not always correct, but in most churches this is what happens. In these churches where the 20-80 Principle is correct, the pastor often finds himself doing most of the work because no one else is willing.

      • A church is not a business. Its a group of believers who fellowship together and serve one another. The pastor is not the only one pouring in hours, time, gas and money into the functioning of a church and back in Paul’s day they did not have the overhead of church buildings, light, electricity, sound equipment, water, etc. Sucking up offerings. Also, paul and other leaders did not own homes, cars, etc that they expected the church to pay for. A business like Walmart is FOR PROFIT business that is taxed but by the government and known to the public as a place of commerce. They sale products and services for a fee and the consumer is well aware of that when purchasing from them. They are not giving donations folks. They are spending a pre agreed upon dollar amount in EXCHANGE for an item or service they wish or need to by. When a person is giving a donation to the church they are doing so under the pre tense that most of the money will go towards doing the work of the Lord which includes feeding the homeless, helping those in real need, etc. Since a donation is given to help a CAUSE and is usually given with nothing expected back in return Pastors are in no place to demand more out of its members especially when the WORD instructs us to give according to OUR hearts not out of obligation. Many people perform very important functions in the church without asking for a dime. They have a 9 to 5 to handle their daily financial needs. A pastor needs to be thankful for the generous donations he/she receives and get a job to supplement day to day expenses. Remember the church is the BODY of Christ. We all serve a function in the body and one monkey don’t run the show. Double honor for leaders mean getting more respect first off. Whatever monetary provisions they get should be in proportion to their actual work not their title. Last time I checked my Pastor doesn’t call my house every week offering me counseling sections or producing any day to day service for me to justify paying him a tenth of my income. Besides CHRISTIANS were never commanded to give a tithe anyway. Other members of the church have helped me when the pastor is clearly unavailable as it should be because one person cannot effectively run an entire church gathering.

      • Wow Destiny, this is perhaps one of the most short sighted things I have read in a while. I do not say that to be mean, but wow. I know that pastors can seem like they are well compensated because of the scandals and TV programs out there, but the reality is, and you can research this if you want, Pastors are consistently the least paid position for the amount of education they desire. For example, I have 11 years of school, and have never had a dime of help from the church to pay for it, though they benefit from it regularly. Also, when I applied for benefits, I found out that I am in the 212% of poverty for my town. And I live in a pretty blue collar town- and I am making more than I have ever made in ministry. We have a part time staff that is raising a family of 6 for 36K per year. I guarantee that is far beyond your lifestyle. So, no, we are not entitled. But most of us are educated to the degree that we could make way more in any other field. Not to mention all of the areas of compensation we are not given. I do not have a retirement fund, life insurance, and have the cheapest health insurance possible. I have driven cars that break down my whole life, and have a growing family. I am the lowest paid family my size in my congregation by at least 30K per year, yet have the second most time spent in education, and have 13 years experience in my job. Is that fair?

      • Pastor dan says on

        Destiny with all due respect your logic and exegesis is quite flawed.

        I am a pastor. I went to school for 8 years to learn and become qualified for this office. I will be paying for that education for the rest of my life.

        I make far far less than the average pastor or person with my same qualifications. I have a master’s degree.

        My churches cannot afford to pay me what our denomination urges they pay.

        At the same time I am unable to take on additional work due to the time I spend doing pastoral care, planning and adminstation, area meetings and visits, hospital visits, classes, teaching, etc. No one would hire me since I could probably work 1 day a week.

        My churches aren’t in a position to pay anyone else to do some of the stuff I do, and the members, who also work and have families, cannot devote the time to volunteering regularly at the church. I can get a little out of them but it’s limited.

        Your view that pastors shouldn’t ask for the financial support they need but instead take on a part time job…what you’re really doing is turning a very difficult and costly vocation into a guilt trip against pastors who honestly try to do the right thing for their churches and their families.

        Show some compassion and understanding. The real issue here isn’t pastors and their greed or whatever but it’s churches that hire pastors without the financial stability to support them. How does one deal with this reality without putting undue stress on the pastor or family and without causing grief in the congregation?

        Figure that out and you can write a book

      • Destiny,
        It is truly a shame that you posted such an uneducated reply. I am a Pastor’s WIFE. I know the first hand untold hours (and money) he has spent on his education, his call, his people, his sermons, his visits, the funerals, the weddings, the marraige counselling, the training of others, etc. .and you have the audacity to say that he needs ANOTHER job to pay his bills and take care of his family?? I guess a pastor shouldn’t have a family to care for with your expectations…because if he has another job to support himself and has a full-time church ministry..then he has no TIME for a wife or children. People with your mentality are why pastors are leaving the ministry by the dozens every single day…they are expected to have the education of a CEO, be at everyone’s beck and call 24/7, tickle their ears on Sunday and humbly and thankfully accept being forced to live like a beggar….
        I am sick of this mentality…makes me sick..
        It blows my mind at the biblical ignorance spewing out of people’s mouth in these comments..

      • Pastor Tommy says on

        If you will read in the Book of Acts, The People sold their houses and land and “layed the money at the Apostles feet” . The Man of God should Be Ables to have and distribute funds as the Holy Spirit leads. If they can’t be trusted with the funds, then send then down the road. This was spoken like a true deacon, no offence to Deacons that serve the Pastor and congregation.

      • Destiny, are you out of your mind? How can anyone work a full time job and be expected to minister the gospel as God has directed? I work a full time 50+ hour a week job and serve in the church. How in the world do you think it is possible for anyone to work full time and give their congregation full attention.

        Here is what Paul says about paying people who preach the gospel.

        1 Corinthians 9:13-14New International Version (NIV)
        13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

        This doesn’t say, receive a thank you gift and go work 60 hours a week to have a modest home and car that won’t break down.

        Financial stress is high with ministers because most work more hours a week than anyone else without regard.

        I think that you should think twice about your opinions when it comes to paying pastors. Read the Bible. Give me a break.

      • Francis says on

        I agree. The Hebrews actually tithed 23%. We are called to give according to our hearts. The only mention of tithing in the New Testament is when Jesus mentioned the Pharisees tithing mint and other stuff while the poor were left to fend for themselves. Why should a pastor make high end wages for an area, have insurance, have their housing paid for and all mileage reimbursed? A congregation of 120 regular members paying about half of the budget to the pastor then add in all other staff?

      • Well said Destiny! I have moved around a lot for my career, and the two churches I have been a part of that were the most spirit-filled had unpaid staff. The “lead” pastors were simply the teaching pastors who excelled in instruction and had full-time jobs elsewhere. You know what , they weren’t burnt out because they did not try to do everything. You know what else, everyone else in the church body stepped up and exercised their gifts as well. Some organized, some led prayer, some led bible studies. Everyone worked for the ministry. You know what else, no resentment … no staff begging for money … all collections going to serving the needy … everyone with a job elsewhere to earn income. I’m not saying this is the only model, but it can be done and often has wonderful results. Destiny, ignore the naysayers.

      • I absolutely agree. We should all be studying the bible, visiting the sick, sharing in the cost of the building expenses, if there is a cost, & leading others to Christ. I have the bible, I know how to read, I personally do not need a pastor! Every Christian should get a job, or start a business, if you don’t want to work for others. I am personally, right now looking for a Christian group to fellowship with, where no one gets paid. We can use our finances in better ways to bring others to Christ, & help others in need. I live in Chico CA.

      • I respect your perspective in this area. I am a pastor and I have a full time job. I receive a modest salary that would not come close to paying my living expenses. The church must understand that they cant demand full time service from a man that has a full time job. Taking care of family and expenses is a priority in the pastors house as well as your house. Those hours he spends at a secular job takes away time, energy, study, prayer, counseling, sermon prep, visitation etc etc etc… If a church is able to pay a pastor enough to live comfortably then great. If he has to work to make up the difference then the demand for his time should be reduced. Truth be told some church members don’t want their needs delegated to someone else. They want their pastor.

      • Simon Patrick says on

        The Gospel Is A Free Gift Not A Paid Gift ACTS 8 – 20 .. Read JESUS Didn’t Get Paid PAUL Didn’t Get Paid The Saints And Prophets Didn’t Get Paid Gods Word { The Gospel } Is A Free Gift

      • I have to say I agree with most of Destiny’s reply. I’ve been in plenty of Churches and have seen some really bad pastors in my lifetime. Quite honestly, too many churches take care of their pastors too well for what they do. I’ve seen some churches where the pastor gets a total compensation of just under 80,000 a year and literally amounts to nothing during the week. I refuse to support a church with a pastor that has a pile of kids. My cousin is a AOG minister and quite honestly – he’s terrible. He has basically it turned it into a family business where he and his son taking on big salaries and the guy is a real jerk – even swindling a car man who was dying and the mans daughter wanted that car. I also believe churches are among incredibly mismanaged and Christians are some of the biggest judgmental jerks on the planet. That’s why so many churches are closing their doors today and why Atheism and Islam are gaining more converts that Christianity! Sorry to be such a killjoy but I’m 65 and have seen more than enough bad in churches.

      • Amen! Oh, and amen again! lol

      • Paul was asked by God to preach the gospel since God asked him he thought it would be an honor out of respect for God to preach for free since he was called my God. Paul took nothing you thought it would dishonor God if he took instead of giving.

      • If you continue to study the works and doings of Paul you will find out that he asked and received support from the churches that he established..Some were more generous than others. He praised the ones that gave and also rebuked those that was able to and did not support him.

      • Rev. Ron Richardson says on

        Please read your bible and not a fortune cookie. People traveled from other countries to give Paul money to carry out his ministry. Did not the disciples get monies to buy bread?

      • So so True.

      • The church is not a business although most try to run like one without the know how. It’s a non-profit 503C. If you want pay like a CEO…get a job. The fact this comment was even made reveals much about the bad behavior being driven by paying pastors. I agree with others that have posted on here the expectation of a salary is unbiblical. Paul and the other apostles were taken care of by offerings given voluntarily by church members from different locations because the apostles were traveling to evangelize people in other areas and strengthening churches. Myself, I do ministry work in my local community on my own time that involves teaching and taking care of the homeless. For my career, I manage a global team of 13, travel internationally, set strategy, and am held accountable for my job by multiple people. I do all of this and twice the ministry work of most churches in my area by the grace of God. Maybe more people should consider following Jesus instead of the traditions of men…you might not be so stressed out and actually be happy following the Spirit instead of some organization

      • Well said… The church today has feared the LORD, but served their gods. They have left up the high places of their fathers before them. They church has NO CLUE as to the biblical spirit of the letter of the law by which the Apostle Paul charged all the churches to learn by his example. They are literalists, letter of the law keepers when it suits the best and live life as pharisees. Christ said we would suffer Paul said to labor and as far as tribute is concerned we are held victims to our translators or those who want to interpret the scripture as it makes them comfortable. The church was never supposed to have one man doing any and all. It was the role or duties of ALL THE ELDERS in the body to do what? Ah… There you have it! We are to esteem these elders two fold that we do, those who do not teach. So if the scripture reference in 1 Timothy 5:17 is about finances then the whole church is bankrupt. But if it is about esteem or just honor, then this is an easy burden for us all to carry out. Shame on us who think it is about paying someone for a service that should be done freely as referenced in Matt. 10:8 But no one like to takes Jesus words seriously, they are most times taken as wonderful options. Father help these professing Christians!

      • Comment for Dee a Pastors wife.Your reply to Destiny was rude,there was no need to react like that you should have known better and corrected her in a fair way. Our Pastors wages come from our tithes and thats how it is. I just think there was no need for you to be so rude.

      • Carolyn S. Looney says on

        I am also a pastor’s wife. My husband has a full time secular job and is a full time pastor (not just a preacher). He usually(not always) gets Monday afternoon off. Tues-study for Wed, Wed prayer meeting/teaching, Thurs-family and marriage counseling, Fri & Sat nursing home and home bound visits, Sat night-study/sermon prep for Sun, Sun afternoon-study and sermon prep for Sun night. Also this is not to include any hosp visits, people that call (everyday) weddings, funerals and pre & post op visits, Association meetings, committee meetings, etc. We live in a nice house and drive used cars. My husband and I visit together or we would rarely see each other. We have taken 3 vacations in 22 years. We are tired, mentally, physically and every once in a while spiritually. God is good to us and we are thankful. The current society does not labor like old biblical times. I don’t know what the solution is. But for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! We keep running the race for the prize and I just ask that you pray for us to continue so.

      • 10:8 says to give freely as you have received. But read further, and Jesus tells his disciples to take no money, but instead to accept the hospitality of others. He also says that whomever works, deserves to be fed. To think ministers of the gospel are not to be taken care of, but instead are to rely on themselves for provision, is to ignore the full of scripture.

      • Wow, just reading everyone’s comments is interesting. Most of the time a pastor is not just the planter, but the administrator, secretary, counselor and the one that goes out to bring people in. The shopper, the driver, the one that makes sure everybody is comfortable when they come to church and ends up taking people home because others don’t always help. The runner that works to make things happen to build and strengthen you, etc. If one is truly called, it was never about the money from the beginning. Because so many pastors have messed up and took money from people illegally it makes all pastors look bad. There are some true honest pastors who has to deal with real problematic people. The church is made up of people who have mental illnesses and the pastor may not know it, but the reach out with all they can to help that person change and when they don’t see change they wonder what are they as a pastor is doing wrong? People with battered and abusive backgrounds, bad relationships or divorced, family members whose children are on drugs or some type of substance abuse and seek counseling from the pastor. People with misunderstandings ‘adults’ may be going through menopause, hormone imbalances, have tempers, or stubborn spirits, members who has confrontations with other members with to resolved issues and when the pastor behind closed doors counsels, the congregation blames the pastor for not resolving the matter(s). People who are manipulative, want to control the pastor, gossipers, false accusers, people who feed off of being a troublemaker, people who goes to church to purposely sexually tempt the pastor, People who go to find someone else’s spouse and you have to act as referee. People who don’t tithes where the utilities, rent or mortgage has to be paid. People who bring their friends for you to counsel. You laboring fasting and praying for the people. You know that you desire to touch their hearts as a pastor, like Jesus did. You want to see them healed, whole and set free, etc. You do all you can and you as a leader is treated like all people want is to use you, but they forget that you are a person to, you are human. I’ve seen pastors wear themselves out until they had heart attacks, or quit not because of the money, but couldn’t take the weight of the ministry, walked away when they were not guilty but was accused of something they were not guilty of, etc. There is not enough money in this world that could pay a true leader. The government looks at the church as a business, but the pastor looks at it as a ministry. But because you live in this world, you must obey the laws of the land. Everyone who you try to get to work in the church now wants to get paid, so the pastor takes the responsibility to do whatever it takes to keep the doors open for the few that want Christ, want to live right. The pastor studies, reads, pray, seek ways to feed the flock of God, but never get the credit for what they really do. This is just a tid bit. People who complains need to work in the pastors shoes but at the same time have the same compassion as the pastor has. Everybody don’t have compassion. Jesus said “all that every came before me was thieves and robbers and such were some of you.” You don’t know what it’s like to have a real pastor until the one you worried, been counseled by, you ate from the spiritual table and grew to maturity, helped you to develop your gifts and callings, etc. dies and not there for you anymore. Everybody has a different view. Some received their license off the internet and was never called. some do it for the money but don’t really care. Some do it because it looks good and they love to get praise. Some people complain because they are bitter from past experiences they’ve had with the church or pastor. The truth of the matter is it’s the work of Christ and the bible says that a laborer is worthy of his hire.

      • Zack Clark says on

        I think that teaching for free would be the goal of most pastors. But….. if pastors should have a secular job as well, where is the Biblical example for that? What was Jesus’ secular job once his ministry began? Or Peter, or Paul? They all left their professions and spent all their time ministering. And those people stayed with congregation members and were fed by them. So if a pastor is to not be paid by the church, then the pastor and their family should be housed and fed by the church.

      • I have a question or better yet a concern. I am a member of a church , a very small church at that, however the Pastor is paid very well and he has a very wel paid secular job. This job has him leaving church in a hurry because he is scheduled to go to work, and actually he miss some services. The preacher is always making comments from the pulpit condemning the members for not being a part of the Pastor’s Aide group; which raises money for him. Mind you this Pastor is only there to preach on each Sunday. Please help me understand, I don’t want to be wrong in my thinking.

      • Charlie, Good questions and concerns about your Pastor who has a second job that has him running from church to the second job. I am a Pastor and I have a few thoughts. First, your Pastors job is to lead worship and proclaim the Gospel. That is a basic expectation of every pastor. So if a second job is interfering with that then you as a congregation need to put a stop to that and communicate the expectations clearly with your Pastor. Second, you commented on the fact that your pastor is “well paid”. I would encourage you, if you already haven’t, to make sure your measuring pay based on a universal scale and not just what might “seem good” or “like a lot” to your congregation. Finally, the pulpit is a place ONLY for the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Never, ever to fulfill an agenda of any kind. Your congregation might also want to hold your pastor accountable to that standard. Hope these thoughts help.

      • Thanks!!!

      • Charles Benson says on

        You should get yourself another pastor. Better yet, pray together about members of the church entering into the offices, perhaps share the expenses for training.

      • Well Said Zack!

      • Dear Zack,
        I do agree with what you said but you stated false information, Paul didnt accept any funds except from the Philippians. He was infact a tent maker and that is how he raised his funds. He did however say it is not wrong to pay ministers. Because they have a right to be payed.

      • In the book of Acts 18:1-4 Paul was making tent at the time preaching the gospel. In 2 Cor 12:13-21 He said ‘ I do not want to be a burdensome to the church to hinders the gospel!!!!

      • destinycampbell says on

        If pastors REALLY wanted to live like Jesus, Peter, and Paul, they would give up a lot of the expenses they incur (house mortgages, cars notes, etc.) And truly live off the generosity of the people just like Jesus, the twelve disciples, and the Apostle Paul did. Were not the disciples told to only bring the clothes on their back, because, indeed, a worker is worthy of their wages? If Pastors want to live solely on the offerings of the congregation they should be content to live in the same building they preach in (which the church’s congregation is already suppossed to pay for). That way, they won’t be taking more money from church members (many of them struggling to pay their own rent) than necessary. If a Pastor desires the LUXURY of owning his own house and having a certain type of car, he should get a second job and pay for it that way. I’m tired of Pastors and other church leaders comparing themselves to Jesus and Company when they’re not even making anywhere close to the sacrafices that they made for the church. Also, a Pastor is not called to do EVERYTHING in the church. We are all ONE BODY each with vital responsibilities, if the church is structured in a Biblical manner with several elders leading and the full body of CHrist being allowed to display FREELY their giftings, there won’t be a burn out for the Pastor.

      • I am a member at a medium size church 120 people on average probably. My pastor provides free counseling, parenting support groups, is a part of food pantry, serving free meals to over 100 people (members and non-members) every Monday, helps with the community center, helps get free bread for people every day of the week, participates in school board meetings in the community, attends trainings, has a Master’s degree, goes to the hospital anytime someone is in there, etc. This makes him give approx 55 hours a week of his time and you want him to work for free? This does not include the extra time he spends at home reading the bible and having people over for dinners, etc. I want my pastor to live well. I do not want him to be a CEO and make 3 million a year in base salary and 100 million in stocks and bonds, but he should not have to worry about providing for his family. I want my pastor to be able to provide everything I stated above with good mental, physical, and spiritual health. I work 60 hours a week and I am in grad school as is my wife. We cannot meet every demand and have to pick and choose what to put the most energy into during the day. We had to sacrifice our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being for many years to accomplish what we have. I am thankful that my pastor does not have another job because when my wife and I had issues 4 years ago he came over at the moment I called him at 10pm to provide some marriage counseling and then continued to do so until my wife and I worked things out. If he was working that night or could not provide these services to us for free then we might not be together today. People need to quit thinking about “me” all the time and think about how paying your pastor a decent wage can allow him to put all of his effort into providing the best spiritual guidance possible. I could go on forever why this argument about pastor not being paid is not only selfish, but it is also unbiblical.

      • So are you saying that there wouldn’t have been ANOTHER member of the church, perhaps another Pastor who could have also talked you and your wife through your maritial struggles? Also, if the pastor had a regular 9 to 5, wouldn’t he have still been able to come over to your house at 10pm? Are you telling me that if he had not come over to your house right then and there at 10pm that night, your marriage would have ended and there would have been nothing he could do to help you at a later time if he wasn’t available at that very moment? Also, if your pastor was over a church of 1,000, even if the church was paying him a hefty salary where he didn’t have to work, do you think he would have been readily AVAILABLE to help you at that moment? What do you think people who go to churches where a pastor had several hundred members and simply CANNOT handle their issues immediately do? They go to another Christian who is well versed in the Word and experienced in martial issues. See again you’re relying on the assumption that a senior pastor is the only Christian who is able to counsel or help in your time of need.

      • Sadly, there is so much greed and corruption within the church today. Some leaders even prey on many who are barely getting by such as those on disability. Every Pastor I’ve ever met has lived in affluent neighborhoods, driving nice cars, and wearing silk suits. The plate never takes a break in many churches I’ve visited yet even Jesus’ “Lord Supper” is only observed quarterly. Why? too timely? Many of it’s Leaders, are leading in the name of profit. Many deceiving many into believing “give” and you shall be blessed, yet under the guise of pure manipulation and impure motive and selfish desires. Long story short, I had one Pastor guilt me into giving only to have my washing machine go on the fritz the very next week. He came to my house, but it wasn’t to counsel (more poor motive). He panned out the water for me bc I feared it would leak down to the apt below mine. Up three flights of stairs, during the winter, physically and emotionally challenged (undergoing chemo/abandoned by family and fiance), This Pastor did not even take time to pray with me bf leaving my apt. Made no mention of how I was to figure out during illness how I would get wet laundry up 2 flights of stairs. The Elder that accompanied Him made a comment “is there some way we can help her”?…Pastor Mark brushed off the question and out the door they went. My point is two fold…1) When I gave $100 dollars to the Church, I gave anonymously. 2) When considering how I had been treated, I didn’t regret giving but I did feel sad for yearning to belonging. I felt no real belonging, I felt used.. I realized how much of an “undesire-able” I was in their eyes…how one might be despised if they were less then successful, despite what is given as an offering. The way they saw my illness was punishment. I don’t believe that is the way Jesus see’s me. So many false teachers teaching this “prosperity message, word of faith, name it claim it”..garbage, that now we have so many desiring to live and be accommodated to such an extravagance way of life. Not Jesus and the Boys, Why you might ask? I will leave that to you to determine for yourselves.. There is much going wrong in the Church today. I strongly feel if we take away the money aspect of it, it defuses the power everyone seems to find to be so attractive. Jesus did not take payment for the gospel and no matter how many want to distort that truth through multiple interpretations, in my book, it just reinforces the fact that money is their motive…and not Love as it ought to be.

      • Destiny. If you believe that to be the responsibility, and biblical model, for “Pastors” than you must also consider the responsibility/biblical model (perhaps the one you referenced) for Christ followers/believers. What than is your responsibility and are you living up to the standard presented through the Gospels/Epistles? It’s very easy for those not in vocational ministry to have opinions regarding a Pastor’s pay and quality of life. Especially because it is humans that are the hands and feet of Christ and humans make mistakes. The irony is that for those not in vocational ministry their responsibility is also clearly presented in the scriptures, perhaps even more so than that of those in vocational ministry…and my experience screams of miss-handlings due to pride, vanity, lust, etc. A long time ago I struggled with all these questions; so much so that it affected my ability to serve and to give. I had a defining moment with the Lord in which He simply spoke to my heart, “why are you so concerned about these things, do you not think that I will address these things with those whom it is necessary to do so?” One day we will all stand before the Lord and have to give an account, and I know that He will not ask me why I didn’t do something about these things like blog, fb post/comment, leave the church, etc. I believe if anything He will ask why I allowed my opinion on these things to affect the way that I walked this thing out. Our responsibility is to give generously and sacrificially whether we believe the tithe is relevant today or not…to give, to walk, and to trust. If we don’t trust our Pastor and church leadership than perhaps we’re at the wrong church, or we may simply need a heart check as money is so closely tied to our hearts that it’s a source of all sorts of evil…and deception. Most of the people in this thread aren’t “entirely” wrong nor “entirely” right…but whatever our opinions might be God has called us to love His church. I don’t know how we do that if we don’t take care of the church and those who give most of their lives to it…not to mention I’ve never given a gift to someone/thing I love and than followed up to make sure that they utilized that gift according to my comfort level…where’s the love in such a gift. I’ve always given because I believe that to be MY RESPONSIBILITY as a follower of Christ. If my generosity/sacrifice is mishandled I trust God enough to handle it in His time.
        You’re Blessed.

      • Paul was a tent maker. He only received money once from the church in Corinth.

      • Hey Roz…and exactly who trained congregations to act this way? Seems like things are maybe coming home to roost in the American church. Pastors have invested too much in fads, avoiding scripture, feel good programs that drive consumerism and on and on. And you wonder why churches have the problems they do? Pastors can hardly complain about a problem they created themselves. Discipling the congregation from scripture will fix these things, but to the point of someone else that posted a reply regarding the original article, sooner or later the congregation would realize everyone has spiritual gifts and that an individual “requiring” a salary is not necessary.

      • I agree. In the bible they were tending to the crops and working outside of ministry. It should be a volunteer position so that there are no bad motives. However, I do not believe that one person should have to do all of the volunteering.

      • Please tell me where Jesus and the disciples tended crops and had day jobs?

      • Micah Burke says on

        2nd Opinions 18:2

      • They had jobs. How do you think they made a living. Jesus was a carpenter by trade. They fished. They were fishing when the waters became rough. Jesus helped them catch fish in one verse. some were tent makers.

        Here is my concern. We asked our pastor to write down what he did each week and he replied with a list of items. It looked like 80% of his day was taken up with things not church related. community, personal interest and so on. He said that all these items are part of Gods work in some way and so we should not question his motives. I don’t want to question him but I am responsible as a trustee to the congregation to see to it that the pastor is working for the interest of those he serves. Also spending money on working lunches without a clear explanation for need. I don’t want to cause problems but It doesn’t seem fair to these good folks that have little but give much. Do you think I am being too picky? Is it reasonable to ask for a full disclosure of his time and written explain of these lunches and dinners. Should he spend more time at the church and less time else-ware. He asked for a sabbatical this summer and was turned down by a unanimous decision. He became very upset. As a result one of our trustees resigned from her position because of guilt. This all makes me question how independent churches are run. I have often said that you can have church in the woods. with no need of fiduciary responsibility. but when the congregation takes out large loans for a building making trustees responsible, it only makes sense to be completely forthcoming in all matters of business. Don’t make people guess. Don’t make people struggle to ask for accountability. That’s what causes problems. Help me understand where I’m wrong. I really want to do the right thing.

      • Sometimes, I am truly amazed at the closed minds of people. Much is Said on here about delegation of work by the Pastor and being a whole church where everyone works and oh yes that thing about if you want a home get another job.
        I would challenge anyone to find a church where more than 20% of the people are willing to help or have time to help. Take some time to read a Bible and see how the Apostle Paul addresses the issue of caring for an Elder. Look beyond the human instinct to insist that someone else do all the sacrificing while you set home in your house enjoying your family and the material possessions you have been blessed with. I am a Pastor in a small church, I am in the lower 10% income level in my state. Am I complaining ? No, I am not. But it is so amazing to me that I see comments with absolutely no foundation being thrown about. Let me tell you something about the average Pastor in an average sized church. When there is no money for supplies he buys, when there is no money for a family in need he gives, when there is no money for utility bills he takes it out of his salary, when the church needs painted he does it, when the toilets are stopped up he cleans them, when he is accused of not doing enough he does more. Yep, sure sounds like a guy who needs to be criticized for trying to take care of his family. Read the Bible listen to the Holy Spirit and take care of your Pastor.

      • Exactly… Keep up the good work and ignore the idiots!

      • Brook Cherith says on

        Amen. Amen. Amen

      • I respect everyones opinion but you cant comment if your not going through the experience of working in the secular then working harder for t he kingdom and raising a family. By the way next time you visit your doctor tell him you need to be treated for free

      • Excellent point, Cesar. After all, Jesus healed for free too. He also fed people for free, so we should not pay for our food

      • destinycampbell says on

        Yes we can comment. Jesus worked a full ministry WITHOUT asking for pay. He also enlisted a group of TWELVE disciples to HELP him. The Church is not a building but the BODY OF CHRIST, meaning there OTHER believers that should be helping you and that you should be DELEGATING responsibilities too. Sometimes pastor’s get themselves in hot water, because they bite off more than they can chew and work beyond their job discription.

      • So you are saying the pastor is working too hard, that’s why he deserves less money?

      • If you’re working for the Kingdom, then you shouldn’t complain about money. If you can’t handle the workload, DELEGATE it to someone else. That is what they’re supposed to be doing anyway. Pastor’s work BEYOND their title and other people are being under utilized that is why he/she is over worked.

      • The doctor is working a SECULAR job and it is clearly understood that the job is secular. You are working for GOD when you pastor, not man. That is why you have your secular job on the side to pay for whatever mortgage/car note you want if the church offering doesn’t cover it. Please do not compare church work to secular work. The Church organization is a NON PROFIT, that is NOT TAXED by the government and claims to spend a good portion of its DONATIONS that people GENEROUSLY give it to benefit the hungry, homeless, and those in need. A FOR PROFIT, is a secular organization which is taxed and SELLS goods and services with the INTENT of profit and makes it CLEARLY known to its customers BEFOREHAND. You complain about not making money like a CEO, but you don’t mind not being taxed like one, right?

      • lawanda brown says on

        And the pastor have to pay taxes on that money the church give thank you!!

      • Todd Z says on

        You are “working” for God when you contribute to society in any positive way be it surgeon or sanitation worker. In that respect a pastor is no different than any other human being striving to use their God given gift to make a positive impact on the world in which we live. It is not what we do that determines if we are working for God it is how we do it – are we moving through our day in a way that reflects the values taught by Jesus. I am confused by those who would rather see a pastor hold a second job to provide for his financial needs than be fully focused on helping others come to a true understanding of Christ and what he lived and died for. There is no piety in poverty and a good pastor should be free from financial worry as should anyone who works hard to contribute. I guess at the end of the day I would rather see an honest pastor living in the lap of luxury than watching those that do nothing to contribute to the spiritual well being of our world do so. (maybe we would see more young people look up to their pastor rather than the poorly behaved, highly paid reality TV star of the moment)

      • Jeremy Butler says on

        It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor or any other secular job, as a believer you are still working for the Lord. I guess in that logic no Christian should ever get paid because they are working for the Lord. How would you like that? As a Christian you are working for God and not for man. So how would you like being a doctor who goes to school for several years and don’t get paid for it?

      • According to Colossians 3:23 we are all to work as if working for the Lord? Correct? There is no distinction between “secular” and “ministry” jobs. If we are followers of Christ then they are all ministry jobs…We are all working for the Lord. So by your reasoning, no Christian should expect compensation for their work. After all, they are doing it for the Lord. If it is true for pastors, it is true for everyone.

        I however am a pastor. I was once asked to come to a church and serve as pastor. It meant moving four hours away and uprooting my wife and four kids from her job and their school. We liked the church and was beginning to feel as if God was calling us there. However, one member of the search committee that found me did not wish to discuss compensation until after my wife and I quit our current positions, sold our house and moved with our kids to their town. When I asked for information on compensation, I was told by one member that if I was doing it for the Lord, I wouldn’t be concerned about it. Explain something to me. If taking care of my family and making sure I can provide for them is not part of my Christian duty, then what is exactly? I told them I would not give them an answer until I knew what they were going to offer as salary. They made an offer. I accepted first offer. Was I being wordly by expecting to know what my salary would be? Would you uproot your family and move not knowing if you were even going to be paid minimum wage? I don’t know any Christian father that would. But, I guess if my faith is strong enough, it shouldn’t matter.

        Also, I learned the hard way before this by relocating to a church on faith. Once I received my first check it was nearly $15000 a year less than I had been promised by the church. When I questioned it I was told again if I was working for the Lord it shouldn’t matter. Basically, it shouldn’t matter that I was defrauded out of $15000 a year and nearly lost my house because a church wanted to pay as least amount as possible and lied to me to get me to come. By the way, neither of these two churches would allow me to take another job to compensate. I was to be available 24/7.

        Also, I have read several posts saying we shouldn’t accept salary from church, but instead live off the generosity of it’s members. Can someone explain to me the difference. My churches have always approved the salary which they and provided it with their generous contributions. Does calling it salary make it unspiritual? I fail to see the difference.

      • The Church wants, needs a full time shepherd, He, his wife and family are required in the eyes of the people to fulfill great expectations, do you realize the stress of keeping people happy. A Pastor gives his life, he eats, breathes and has many sleepless nights. He loves God and knows he’s called by God, he may fall but he gets back up, he encourages himself most of the time for his hope is in the Lord. He rejoices in the struggles for they push him to be more Christ like, glory to glory, faith to faith. He rejoices in his trials for he sees the greater purpose, is it easy no, no cross is easy. God bless all shepherds and thank you for your faithfulness. Plant your seeds for you shall reap a harvest in due time
        put your trust in the Lord and stay there.

      • I’m curious, where does Matthew 10:8 speak of pay and compensation for Pastoring? The verse talks about healing and raising the dead and casting out demons, God speaks of nothing concerning the regular duties of Pastoring i.e. Preaching, counseling etc.

      • Good thoughts and all the pastors I know including my husband do teach for free just as a lay person does. They teach Bible study groups, Discipleship classes, etc., that they are not required by their job to teach. The pastors I know have chosen this vocation because of their passion for the Biblical message and they tend to take on more than their job requires to fulfill the mandate the sense from the God they serve. I’m thankful that the church has compensated our family for the administrative duties that are also required in a church. I work as a pastor’s wife for free for many hours each week and I love it. My children have also helped by serving for free too, helping with VBS, running errands, childcare as they got older and etc.

      • Hello Brenda,

        A distinction in the ‘church’ today that is prevalent is this idea that there is the laity and the clergy. However, this distinction appears no where in scripture or early church life and only polarizes Christians. A church would do well to have everyone understand that when they meet together in the church, it is for the edification of all by all. This will not happen when distinctions like ‘laity’ and ‘clergy’ exist.

      • Richard Bergstrom says on

        I am amazed and astounded that so many of you Christians are so misinformed and cheap and uneducated about Gods worth about tithing. You all act as if the money you earn is your money when in fact, everything that you have is from God and belongs to God. To not pay a pastor is beyond belief and complete foolishness. If any member of my church made that comment to me I would recommend that they find another church. People who expect to have the pastor work for free probably know very little about tithing and generous giving. You, when you die, hopefully have the opportunity to kneel before Jesus and then you will have to explain why you squandered and buried your 1 talent in the field. I am not a pastor. I am a self employed business man and I have also worked in the corporate world for 23 years. I am a deacon of our church and I am on the financial committee. Rick Warren, who is a pastor, tithes 90% of his income to the church? How much do you tithe? Remember, its not your money, its Gods money. I am praying that God softens those who’s hearts have been hardened about what it means to give generously.

      • Mike joost says on

        That’s bullcrap. This tithing practice was propagated after pews stopped getting rented by the rich families. Tithing was always a one time deal, promised once on whatever future providence was given by God, and calculated only on war spoils and crops. What the church is doing is trying to implement the temple tax which ended when israel became rome’s whore, the tax which Jesus rebuked, and whose purpose is now fulfilled by social security. The only uneducated fools are the god-fiends who prey on good-willed people. Anyone can speak Christianese for profit. It takes a true low-life to make a profession of it.

      • I believe you are taking these scripture verses out of context. Others have been quoted that contradict what you are saying. Many pastors DO work a secular job because they aren’t compensated enough to support their families and it only serves to take them away from their families. Show me one place in the Bible that specifically shows a priest not being compensated in some way, according to God, for the work God ordains them to do.

      • If you have ever had to preach a sermon on a Sunday morning to souls that you know are very hungry and anticipating an anointed message that will be a breath of life for them after having worked all night at a secular job, feeling entirely exhausted and unprepared, I think there would be more sensitivity to how hard it is to be a bi-vocational pastor. I have had to do that. Many times. I trust in the Holy Spirit to help me but let’s not forget that the preaching of God’s Word is serious!! Men will be judged harshly if they do not present the scriptures accurately! (Jam. 3:1). I am a church planter and I’ve been bi-vocational for twelve years now. I do it because I’m called to it and truthfully it’s what I love to do. However, the situation has not been such that I am able to give as much attention to it as I’d like because the congregation just simply can’t afford it.
        I ‘d like to share with you what my life looks like not to either boast or complain but just so that people will gain an accurate picture of what a bi-vocational pastor’s life is really like. Not only do I work shift work to provide for my wife and six children I also provide for my disabled parents. Our congregants are faithful people and always give as much as they can, even beyond what they can sometimes, but it just isn’t enough to provide for a pastor. On days that I work on day shift my alarm goes off at 3:40am I get to the church building by 4:15 and pray until 5. I leave at 5 and get to my secular job by 5:30 (because I commute). I then work a twelve hour shift and get off work at 6:00pm. I get back home by 6:30 in the evening. I haven’t seen my family all day and I am required by the Lord to minister to them (as is every husband and father). I have dinner and spend a few hours with the kids until about 8:30. Around that time we start getting ready for bed and start our family worship time around 9. We try to get the kids in bed by 9:30 but it usually is closer to ten. Once they’re in bed I can finally spend time with my wife. It’s now 10:30 or sometimes 11 before I have quiet time to really study my Bible. Sometimes I will be up until midnight studying before I go to sleep. So for this week of my month I’m only getting around 4 hours of sleep. And please realize friends, I’ve only done the basic things that every Christian is supposed to do, nothing beyond yet. I bring home $5,000 a month from my secular job I pay my mortgage which is $1700 a month, my parents mortgage which is $750 a month, and I give a minimum of $800 a month to th church (sometimes more if I can). That leaves me with $1,800 dollars left. Our food bill alone is close to $1,000 dollars not to mention gas. Again, I’m not sharing any of this to boast or complain but just so that people will truly understand what sacrifices pastors make. On my days off I tend to my small farm, I do the work of an evangelist as I am instructed in scripture, I attend association meetings, pastor’s prayer meetings, and other committee meetings, visitations, etc… My house is pretty loud with six little ones so I usually sacrifice sleep in order to study in the quiet of the night. And periodically have periods of fasting as the scripture instructs me (Acts 6:2-4). Friends, preparing a sermon is not something that can be done in a few minutes. It takes time to get into the right frame of mind, to labor in prayer that the Holy Spirit will grant understanding of the passage, to piece it together from start to finish, and then to face nervousness (because you know that every word will be heavily criticized) and effectively communicate it in a way that the people can receive. By the time I get home from church on Sunday afternoon I’m literally exhausted. And it’s terrible feeling like you’re unprepared to preach. The last thing a pastor wants to do is make a mistake! If you as a congregation can afford to relieve him from any excess, do it! When he studies and prays and hears from God, you are a benefactor!

      • 1 Corinthians 9:13-14New International Version (NIV)

        13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

      • Unfortunately there were no church pastors yet in these scriptures because the church did not yet exist. These scriptures here are taken greatly out of context.

      • My husband has been teaching the people for free for 13 years and nobody gives anything. They are all too poor and we don’t expect it. Pastor holds a secular job. However, for the last 2 or more years, they have accused us of mismanaging the little bit we get from his MOTHER, and occasionally a former member. We have been paying church bills, tracts, rent on building , newspaper ads, etc out of his secular salary, and now he asked for them to assess him and they say they don’t give because it would all be wasted on my farm. ( I bought and started my small off grid farm with my own hard earned overtime and secular work at 15. I met him and married him at 41. There is no rent or electric bill out here at least. I have been sick and not working for a few years, but am prepping to take a teacher’s test to go back to work teaching in nursing). We also have spent money from his job and yes, our offerings from his mom and former member, on church members that seem to think our job is driving them around at all hours of the day or night to and from the hospital and buying them food and feeding them a meal while we took them to shop as we are the only ones with a car. And they conveniently forget we did this for them.

      • Your hermeneutics are skewed. Did you see the moral condition of the people Micah was speaking to? Also how are you dealing with Matthew 10:10 saying “the workman is worthy of his meat”? 

      • shandon ellis says on

        1 Corithains 9 says different from what you say.Paul said they that Preach the gospel should live from the gospel.JESUS said,The LABORER is WORTHY of his wages.If the Pastor is to work a secular job then he don’t need to do counseling,wedding,funerals,house visits,hospitals visits,jail visits,etc.Nor do he need to laborer in prayer for anyone.I have worked and Pastored and I can tell you.It takes alot out of you.Your prayer life,study and readin,fasting,counseling,funerals,weddi gs,baptizing,home,jail,hospital visits.etc.Is to much.You don’t want people calling g you saying g;Pastor I’m at the hospital can you come and you know you have to get up and go to work the next day in about 8 hours.Paul was not making tents everyday 5 days a week.Nor was JESUS nor the Apostles working a secular job.1 Corinthians 9,Paul said Peter and the rest of the Apostle did not work.But stayed focused on Ministry.Now I do think that a business is sufficient but to tell a Pastor to Pastor and the go work a secular job is foolish.If the Pastor do that then he need to cut all the way back.Just preach on Sunday and let everyone go home but no extras.Then I think it would be fair.GOD BLESS.GOD BLESS.

    • When I was a child the church I went to the pastor wasn’t paid at all. He had his every day job – just like most people. We had share a dish dinners throughout the week to seek counsel of worship and feed the congregation! The tides and offerings paid for the building/utilities and that was it! Providing doesn’t necessarily mean money tho. Can mean a lot of different things!

      • This is awesome! It is sad that most pastors now are seeking money and light work. This goes to say that it can be accomplished by volunteers.

      • shandon tyres ellis says on

        That’s because your Pastor choose to do it that way or he didn’t know what the scriptures said about the matter.It’s wicked to expect a Pastor to do baptisms,weddings,funerals, counseling,home visits,hospital visits,jail visits,sick and shut in visits and not pay him.It’s wicked for the Pastor to lay hands and pray for you,preach to you,encourage you and you don’t pay him.We don’t do no one else like that but our Pastor.And when he accept it we say,See he is a good Pastor.Foolishness!You don’t do that at the mall,store,restaurant,hair store,or anywhere else you get service.It’s only when it comes to church that people want all these services for free.They want to use the gas,lights,water and building for free.1 Corinthians 9 tells us that,they that preach the gospel should live from the gospel.JESUS said,the LABORER is WORTHY of his wages.Now,if a Pastor tell the church please don’t pay me then that’s his desicion.But all GOD ordained Pastors should be paid,unless THE LORD tell them not to take pay.GOD BLESS.

    • It’s supposed to be a struggle to share the gospel with others. You aren’t supposed to live the high life as a pastor. Read your Bible again.

      • That is truly the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a long time. Yes, it is a struggle to share the gospel with others. The Bible does not say that a person has to struggle financially to share the gospel. Please, you read your Bible. Be good to everyone, especially to those in the Household of Faith. And muzzle not the ox…….My goodness. Hey, tell me why a pastor would have to live any lower than his members. Come on now. Give that some more thought. I am not saying that a pastor has to live high on the hog; but how can a pastor tell of the goodness of the Lord and how the Lord will open up windows of blessings where we would not have room enough to receive if He can’t even take his family out to dinner or buy his family a decent car to get around in, or send his children to a movie every now and then. Give me a break. A Pastor is a human being who needs to be compensated like the rest of us and his compensation package should not be thought of as salary. I am teacher and my health and death benefits are not part of my salary. If a Pastor is getting free living ….like a parsonage that the church is paying for, then that should be considered. He/she could afford to make at least 6 to 7 thousand dollars less a year if his/her housing is FREE. That is utilities and rent free. THAT IS ALL I HAVE TO SAY.

      • Willa, this is one of The best statements in this blog. Our pastors should be compensated. I don’t want my pastor working a 9-5 all week. I want him focusing on The Word and further strengthening his annointance throughout the week to uplift the congregation and community. Personally I see nothing wrong with preachers living in much abundance and wealth if that’s what the church has allocated to them. They should except gracefully The Lord’s blessings as long as of course they’re not embezzling church money that wasn’t paid to them.

      • Most dedicated pastors work well beyond a 40 hour work week; the 9-5, M-F work schedule isn’t heard of in most pastor’s families!

      • destinycampbell says on

        You’re right. A Pastor should be able to financially support himself. That’s why he should get a day job like all the other Members of the CHURCH. The church is the BODY OF CHRIST. We ARE ALL vital to the church and ALL are called to labor for the Kingdom so why does one member think he/she is so much more entitled than all the rest. Besides, I’ve seen members put in just as much work or more than a Pastor and not get paid a dime in return. If a Pastor desires more than what the congregation gives him, get a second JOB and stop being a burden to the church. We ALL work for the same kingdom, sheesh.

      • Fine. Next time one of your family members is sick and in the hospital and you want someone to visit at the drop of a hat at any time of the day or night, you call one of those people. Or you need someone to perform a funeral. Or to counsel you through a crisis. Or to do the hundreds of tasks that require PROFESSIONAL TRAINING!!! See how that works out for you and your “volunteer pastor.” You have no idea how many hours your pastor puts in, because most of it is done quietly, confidentially, and behind the scenes.

        Another point: Are we all not called to live our lives and do our jobs for the Kingdom of God? By your logic, none of us should be paid. So enjoy life on the commune.

      • David A Booth says on

        I am simply astonished at the number of comments on this post which suggest that pastors should not be paid or that argue one way or another entirely on the basis of pragmatic arguments.

        Jesus, through the Apostle Paul, commanded that pastors be paid – in fact that they should “get their living”:

        “Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:13-14 ESV).”

        Failure to do what the LORD commands doesn’t simply reflect a different point of view – it is crass disobedience to Christ’s command. The only appropriate response for those arguing against what the LORD commands is repentance.

      • You can’t compare Jesus’ three year trek or Paul’s starting Christian churches throughout various regions of the middle east and africa to the duties of a LOCAL pastor. They HAD to give up their secular because they were traveling all over. Jesus’ mission was very unique in that he had to tell people why came to Earth before his crucifixion and Paul and the disciples had the arduous task of developing the worlds first Christian churches which involved extensive travel and sacrafice that goes far beyond what most local American pastors have to commit. The help that local pastors get today with air conditioned church buildings and staff would be considered a luxury back then. Besides a PASTOR is not the same as an APOSTLE. They have very different responsibilities. Since a pastor is sheparding a local group of Christians, there is no reason that he/she or their spouses can’t maintain a steady job, especially when they have able bodied church members who can pick up the slack and SHOULD be doing just that

      • There lies the problem. The Pastor was NEVER intended to be the only person to go visit the sick, provide counseling, teach the youth, do administrative work, etc. I don’t NEED a pastor to visit me in the hospital if I’m sick. There are PLENTY of God fearing Christians like my mother and OTHER members from my church who can and WILL come visit me without expecting a DIME in return. It’s the LOVE OF GOD that is supposed to motivate us to do these things not some pay day! If you give me some advice as a spiritual confidant then get mad if I don’t pay you a salary, then I would prefer you give me no advice at all. There is someone else who loves the Lord who can encourage me with PURE intentions. I sure don’t ask my fellow bros and sisters in Christ to pay me every time they come with a problem.
        The truth is, no one man or woman can effectively Pastor several hundred people all at once. More than likely, if I’m in a jam, one of my family members or a particular church member that I may be friends with is more than likely gonna be there faster than any pastor would. Remember a Pastor was never intended to be the head of the church. In the New Testament, the title is listed as one of MANY that operate in the church. If a pastor wants to take on more than he can chew that is on HIM. He doesn’t have to.

      • Where in scripture does it describe where the apostles, elders, etc. were professionally trained or needed to be? Seems to me the Holy Spirit bestows gifts upon people for the nourishing of the Body of Christ. Again, ALOT of comments on here reflecting what’s really in the heart…

      • Pastors should be hard workers. It is possible for them to have a job during the week to take care of their finances and still volunteer minister.

      • You try working a full-time job and then a “volunteer” job that requires 60-80 hours a week. Let us all know how that goes. And will the employer of your paid job understand when you have to leave unexpected because one of your church members has an emergency, or because you have to do a funeral? How about your co-workers? And don’t say that you can schedule things around your paid job, because a pastor’s work can’t always be scheduled. When it’s your loved one who is sick or dying or in crisis, would you accept “I’ll be there after I’m done at the job they pay me for”?

      • Micah Burke says on

        The common misconception seems to be that pastors only preach on Sunday. The fact is that pastors visit the sick, often take care of church business, actively study for preaching of the Word and teaching Bible study. Some even mow the church lawns and take care of maintenance. The more time and support the pastor has to do the work of the ministry without having to worry about their daily needs, the better.

        1 Corinthians 9:7,14
        Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
        In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

        1 Tim 5:18
        For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

      • destinycampbell says on

        Is that in the job description of a Pastor to do all that? Is there only supposed to be ONE person responsible for visiting the sick and shut in? NO! We are ALL supposed to do that! It’s what the BODY of CHRIST is supposed to do. The problem is, Pastors don’t believe in allowing EVERYONE to utilize their giftings in church and think they can do EVERYTHING. The church was never structured to have ONE leader but MULTIPLE Elders, PastorS, Teachers, etc helping. Also, many Americans CHRISTIANS work well over 40 hours a week AND are called to ALSO labor in the church AS WELL but they get paid NOTHING for that labor so what is your point. The misconception here is that Pastors are the only ones who labor in the church and are responsible for everything when they are NOT. In fact, many PAstors don’t even participate in the more labouraous tasks like cooking meals for the homeless, cleaning the church building, watching kids during church service, etc that other members READILY participate in without getting paid a DIME. You’re not the only ones laboring for Christ Pastors!

      • I do it every week and I’m happy for all of the opportunities to serve the Lord along with my secular job. And when something comes up I can’t handle, I call a trusted brother or sister that can fill in.

      • lawanda brown says on

        YOU show me in the bible were God said you should live the low life because we both reading something different. Am a pastor wife am so tired of people who love to say what a pastor family should live .The same people in the church that you can’t get to help in the church go to visit the sick just raise HELL all the time. It’s funny that anyone else can live in a nice house the member but you think the pastor should like in a box. The same people when some thing happen won’t the pastor their when some dye or a car accident. Or need the pastor to marry them. People fill the pastor family should be ok with that. GET A LIFE!!!!

      • Pastors can make as much money as they want. I won’t judge them. Just don’t ask ME to pay for the life you want. Get a job just like everyone else.

      • There’s no thumbs up here or I would give you five!

      • I agree with you completely. The pastor is not supposed to be living “the high life”. Come to think of it none of the christian church is supposed to be living the high life.

        I for one, like the idea of the church. In order to act as one body of Christ, we must also be organized. Organization of a large group requires leadership, first and foremost from Christ himself, but the bible and common knowledge teach that church leadership should have human representation. In order to make it as easy as possible to seek spiritual aide (for those inside and outside of the church) It is good to have a single primary point of contact for the public. It is best to have multiple contacts, but if there is one primary contact people will more easily contact the church.

        As this man will serve as the primary face of my organization, which is my church and the representation of Christ on Earth, I want to be sure that he is highly trustworthy and extremely knowledgeable of God’s Word and it’s application. I also want to be sure that he is available as much as possible to facilitate the needs of others. The best way I can think of to have this is to relieve him of secular work so that his full focus is on Christ and bringing help to those that need God.

        I will have to provide for this person, and to ensure that I rely on the whole body and not force all the work on a select few, there is a very easy way to provide for him called money. Much easier than food. Now the question of how much to pay him. I have already chosen this man on my faith that he is God focused, and seeking the Kingdom of God. If this is true, I know he will indeed also give as much as possible to the church and forsake lavish spending. Therefore, it is easy to err on the high side because this money is just going back to the church.

      • Yeah we’re really enjoying the high life. Our plumbing gas had broken pipes for two years, it was so cold inside our houseplants die, and our cats water freezes, we have a well pumped by solar ( paid for by our secular jobs) but it was so cold I couldn’t get water out of the gravity tank, the hose out the front was frozen. We eat our own eggs and rabbits, I do the butchering, and that is a blessing but none of that came from our members.

      • Found the village idiot.

        We should not be surprised if we struggle but we are not always condemned to struggle. Moron.

    • This has been a huge struggle for me. I have worked for a non-dom for 14 yrs after spending an equal amount or more in the secular world in a HR capacity dealing with salaries, benefits, corporate issues, etc. After hearing about “biblical world views”, the intrusiveness of the government onto the workings of the church and watching not only a body of believers but a senior pastor as well be negatively impacted by the influence of money, here are my conclusions: A pastor should never be the sole decision maker regarding finances of any kind. A compensation package includes a fair wage and a fair level of expense reimbursement. There is a huge difference between the needs and wants of an individual when talking about the tools of their profession. The primary responsibility of the church are the sheep not the shepard. When taking care of the shepard negatively impacts the ability of the church to care for the sheep something is grossly errant. Balance is vital.

    • Keep up the good fight. God bless you all for taking on the calling.

    • Mary williams says on

      I’m a copastor of a church an funds are not there to pay the Sr pastor but clerk pay musicians and security what wrong with this picture…

    • A Pastor should be able to live like anyone else. It grieves me to think of Pastor’s families who can not afford to eat out once in awhile and I know some. That is shameful ! My Pastor has a large young growing family and I am not sure if they can afford clothes and shoes when needed. Anyone who thinks a Pastor is over paid has no idea what the job is. If it were up to me a Pastor should also receive a clothing allowance. A new suit once in a while. Come on folks get real.

    • As a Christian I am very sad to hear this. I am a new member of my church and the one thing that I will be watching out for is my Pastor’s salary, compensations. In no way, in no way should a Pastor who is doing God’s work be in need to pay bills, put food on the table, buy clothes for the family and an occasional meal out on town. If a church is not taking care of the Pastor in this way then the church is sinning !! I told my Pastor that God has put him and his family on my heart to watch over them in this way and I certainly will do whatever I can to make sure that we not only meet the needs but that we will exceed the needs to some degree. I think its a shame that a Pastor has to search for ways or bend this expense or that expense so he can take his family out to dinner.

      • Brook Cherith says on

        Oooooh how I wish you were one of my congregants. I truly praise God for your spirit. The Lord will continue to bless you with seed to sow and bread to eat. Thank you.

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