Episode 18: Paying the pastor

OK, so today I am going to address something I am totally unqualified to talk about, but it won’t be the first time. Today’s topic; paying the pastor.

I personally volunteer my time to the church I pastor, but I think that a church that pays its pastor is blessed for it. The Bible speaks of the workman being worthy of his hire and we are also told not to muzzle the ox that treads the corn. Pastoring is a lot of work, and a bi-vocational pastor carries a double burden.

I am a firm believer in a church showing their appreciation to their pastor. A healthy church will be glad to reward the efforts of their pastor. However, I think the pastor should be careful not to look for monetary gain as a reward. A pastor should be a pastor because of the calling of God and love for the people.

It’s like a marriage; both parties should be willing to give more than they receive.

I have considered the possibility of being paid to pastor in the past. I’m sure there are a multitude of pay models for pastors, but as I see it there are four that really stand out. Below I’ll look into the four models that I have considered.

Some models to pay by

  1. Just because he’s worth it:

This may be the most popular model, and I think that is because it is the easiest. Honestly, I will never accept this model for myself. I know I should never say never, but this just feels so corporate. What happens if I as a pastor gets a better opportunity with more pay and better benefits. Or what if the church finds a pastor that is just as good but willing to take a lower wage. I don’t want to pastor a business; I want to pastor a church that God has called me to. That being said, I suppose there is place for this model, But I don’t personally like it.

  1. Living expenses + small income

This is a cool model. I know of a church that pays all of the living expenses for the pastor. Everything from his housing to his utilities, to his vehicle and insurance is paid for, and then he gets a small weekly amount as his own to spend as he sees fit. This is an ok model and works well for that church, but it seems like there is too much grey area.

  1. Tithe

How about the concept that because the Levitical priests were given the tithe and the offering was to take care of the temple and work of the Lord that the pastors should get the tithe? That may work in a small church, but if a church had 200 tithe paying households that pastor would be making an insane salary.

  1. An average of the churches income

I like this one the best. I find that there is some jealousy over a pastor living high on the hog. I also hear people say that they don’t want their pastor to live in poverty; of course he doesn’t want that either. However if he were to take a salary of the average working households in the church then he would be able to relate to the church and they would see that he isn’t in it for the money, but for them. Of course if the church as a whole was affluent then so would the pastor be. I think this is an incredible model.

Like I said, I am not paid and so it is easy for me to have opinions, but I have been thinking about this topic for a while now and I think this is a common sense approach.

Listen to the podcast for a deeper dive into this issue. Feel free to comment if you have another model that you know of or any advice. Subscribe on iTunes and reach out to us at smallchurchmentor@gmail.com .

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