Paid Clergy

Discussion in 'Forum for Polls' started by Salty, May 31, 2011.

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Paid Clergy

  1. The Bible is clear that we should have a paid clergy

    9 vote(s)
    39.1%
  2. The Bible is clear that we should have a bi-vocational clergy

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  3. The Bible is clear that we should not have a paid clergy

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. The Bible is silent about having a paid clergy

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  5. The Bible implies that we should have a paid clergy

    3 vote(s)
    13.0%
  6. The Bible implies that we should have a bi-vocational clergy

    3 vote(s)
    13.0%
  7. The Bible is implies that we should not have a paid clergy

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. Not sure

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Other answer

    6 vote(s)
    26.1%
  1. Salty

    Salty
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    This subject came up on another thread, so lets do a poll

    Where do you stand on paid clergy?

    Is there a difference between this modern age and that of the time of the Apostles?


    and please use supporting Bible passages if possible
     
    #1 Salty, May 31, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2011
  2. Bro. James

    Bro. James
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    "Do not muzzle the ox that treads the corn" and "A workman is worthy of his hire" would have application here. A congregation should certainly provide the needs for a pastor and his wife and children such that they do not have to work at the Wallymart part-time to make ends meet.

    The apostles had no retirement program--John was exiled to Patmos Island for preaching the Gospel. We got the Book of Revelation--the last verses of which say: "Even so, come Lord Jesus. We seem to have strayed from the imminent coming of the Lord.

    We are supposed to preach the gospel to every creature--the Lord promised to take care of our needs.

    There is no rest for God's people in this world--no dependable stipends either. The attitude of stipends, honorarium, gratuities, entitlements and retirements has ruined the churches--also our country.

    Where is our treasure?

    Peace,

    Bro. James
     
    #2 Bro. James, Jun 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2011
  3. StefanM

    StefanM
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    There really isn't an option I could choose. I believe the Bible teaches that we should have paid ministers, but that doesn't necessarily mean full-time or bivocational. I think that depends on the ability of the church, how the minister is led, etc.

    In some situations, a church that could pay a full-time pastor might be better off with a bivocational minister. In other cases, having a bivocational minister might be a matter of neglect. I think it is also a matter of how God leads the church and the minister. For instance, a church might be in a position where they could pay two or three bivocational ministers instead of one full-time pastor. Of course, the deacons and other church members would need to share responsibilities, but it could work.

    Having a full-time minister is expensive. In order to provide for the minister fully, a package including housing, insurance, and (preferably) retirement savings is needed. With a bivocational minister, insurance is often not an issue because he has coverage through work. This is very important for ministers with some health problems. Unless you get on Guidestone the second you enroll in seminary and keep the plan continuously, you will either be denied or have pre-existing conditions excluded, unless you are working at a church with enough employees (10) on a group plan.

    There is also something somewhat liberating by not depending on the church for your income. It is very tempting to try to avoid "biting the hand that feeds you," but God often calls us to proclaim truth that isn't so popular. This also can increase credibility. As Paul wrote, "If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ" (1 Cor. 9:12, NIV).

    Paul clearly makes the point that churches should be willing to support their ministers to the best of their ability, but he also makes it clear that a minister has the right to decline this support.
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    I think the scripture leaves it open for churches to do what they need to do.

    Paul certainly makes a clear case that having a paid clergy is appropriate. At the same time, he modeled bi-vocational ministry.

    As a "lay" minister in my congregation, I have great freedom in teaching and ministry simply because no one is paying me to do anything. If someone gets upset with me, they can't use a paycheck or personnel committee as a weapon (as it sometimes happens in churches I've known) but actually have to come to me to work things out. If there were to be something the church doesn't like or is incongruent with the ministry of the church, they could certainly ask me change or even not to continue my ministry in the church, and that would be okay. My livelihood is not threatened by that kind of action, so there is no need to feel intimidated, at least on my side of it. I can make my case and let the chips fall where they may.

    I've worked as a vocational minister and I'm currently working as an unpaid minister, and I prefer not getting paid. No one thinks you're there for the money. My role in the Kingdom is to support myself in "secular" employment (there is really no such thing) and serve the church where needed to support the ministries of the church.

    However, I am fully in support of our vocational church staff and wish we could pay them more to adequately compensate them for the time and energy they give our congregation.
     
  5. Melanie

    Melanie
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    Bearing in mind I am Catholic, the parish I belong to supports 6 clergy as they minister to the rest of New Zealand and a huge portion of the Pacific Ocean Nations.Therefore, they spend a great deal of time travelling far and wide. Many of the communities they visit are far poorer in worldly goods than we.

    They receive a stipend which allows them to purchase personal products etc. The congregation supports them in the Sunday offering and by personal offerings. Such as a business owner supplies them with his products gratas, I offer my services as housekeeper and other persons also offer cooked meals, fresh produce as seasonal offerings. Car maintenance is carried out etc.

    They are accomodated in a style reflective of a congregation rich in children and skills, but poor in finances.

    When larger sums of money is required the Lord provides, often in surprising ways.
     
  6. JohnDeereFan

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    Depends on the church and on the pastor and on the circumstances. If it's a burden on the church, then I would hope that the pastor would take this into account and take up a "day job" to help offset the burden on the church. It was good enough for Paul, it ought to be good enough for him.

    If a church can afford to pay a pastor, then the fair wage is whatever they decide he's worth.

    In my case, I didn't receive a dime for the first three years, which was fine, since our church was very small and so my responsibilities were relatively light, plus the fact that money wasn't really a need, since I already had a very good source of income outside the church.

    I get a small check now from the church, as well as a book allowance (in all fairness, most of the books go right back into the church's library). The way I look at it, I pastor for free, but I get paid for running our Bible school.
     
  7. FriendofSpurgeon

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    I'm sorry. Unless it is a very small church, I don't quite understand the concept of a bi-vocational pastor.

    Let's see, we expect our pastor to work a regular work week (which for most of us is not 40 hours but 50-60 hours) and then study for sermons for Sunday am and pm and on Wednesdays? And visit the sick? And visit the newcomers to church? And do counseling, etc. etc.?
     
  8. StefanM

    StefanM
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    This is where having multiple pastors would help.

    You could have, for instance, 3 bivocational ministers instead of one. They could rotate preaching responsibilities, or divide them (one do Sundays, another Wednesdays). Visitation would need to be spread out among the ministers and deacons. Counseling could also be divided up.

    It is definitely not a requirement, but it could work in some situations, as God calls.
     
  9. Baptist Believer

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    That's understandable. It only works when we move away from the commonly accepted way most churches operate.

    Yep, that describes my life.

    Not every church has a Sunday evening preaching service (we have discipleship training, etc.) or Wednesday preaching (we actually fellowship and pray at "Prayer Meeting"). I teach an Adult Sunday School class (involving quite a bit of time for preparation and development of materials), I teach a midweek youth Bible study (also challenging and time-consuming), am working on a discipleship curriculum to teach for six weeks this summer, and I also help out with specific ministry projects for the homeless and people in crisis.

    I still have time for my wife and nephews, but not that much time to lay on the sofa in front of the TV or surf the Internet (probably good things).

    why are these activities the domain of the pastor? I certainly think the pastor needs to do this as he has opportunity, but this is the ministry of the local church body and the deacons. One of the problems that drifts in with a paid clergy is the concept that the pastor is there to do the work of ministry for the congregation instead of the pastor being an organizer/trainer/shepherd for those who do ministry.

    In a healthy congregation of people actively involved in ministry, much of the counseling/mentoring is done between church members as they live and serve together. Certainly the pastoral staff, bivocational or not, needs to be actively involved in this ministry, but it is not the exclusive domain of the pastor.
     
  10. webdog

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    I voted other. As Stefan so accurately stated many factors play into it.

    This is something I've struggled with. We pay a full time pastor a nice salary and are in the process of hiring an associate pastor as we are growing. We also have 2 other elders and 3 deacons who are not paid. I struggle with 2 of the 3 elders receiving no compensation for the work the do in the church. True they do not prepare a sermon and put in as many hours as a full time elder, but shouldnt they be compensated something? What about deacons? Ministry leaders who buy supplies for their ministries above and beyond the budget and after their tithes and offering?
     
  11. FriendofSpurgeon

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  12. FriendofSpurgeon

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    Personally, I agree with the deacons visiting the sick. However, from personal experience, there is usually "heck" to pay if a member (especially a senior member) is in the hospital and the pastor does not come by and visit. Do that too often, and the pastor is soon looking a job.

    Also regarding counseling, while I understand your comments about congregants living/serving together, most (if not all) are not trained to be counselors regarding serious situations. And there are plenty of serious sitautions out there.
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    The essence of it is that the church would have to be a congregation-empowered ministry instead of a pastor-empowered ministry. The pastor would exercise leadership/guidance/training, but the congregation would take responsibility for ministry and not expect the pastor to do it just because he is pastor.

    The pastor would be there to help keep things running smoothly, provide guidance, training, education and encouragement, but not expected to make every visit, lead every meeting, moderate all disputes, provide all counseling, or even be there EVERY Sunday. The membership of the church and the other leadership would be empowered and confident to conduct ministry without the explicit approval and supervision of the pastor.

    The requires that the pastor lose his ego and realize that the Spirit will use, guide and empower the congregation to do the work of ministry, and the congregation must assume responsibility for doing the work. The members of the congregation must also lose their egos and decide that, for instance, visits from other members of the congregation when they are in the hospital are acceptable and they dont have to have the pastor make an appearance to feel validated.
     
  14. Baptist Believer

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    Yes, the congregation has to get over their own self-importance and realize that the pastor is not the only minister in the congregation.

    Yes, there definitely are. But, to be blunt, many pastors are not adequately trained to handle serious counseling situations (mental illness, suicidal thoughts, sexual abuse, etc.) and do a terrible job of it. Congregants need to know when things need to be referred to a pastor, mental health professional, or the police. I'm convinced that the reason there is so much sexual abuse in churches is that pastors don't know how to deal with it and assume that it was a momentary indiscretion or that it will go away.

    Pastoral counseling is one of the few areas that a pastor cannot easily release to the congregation. However, if the congregation has an open and honest fellowship, much of the counseling (specifically, encouragement and letting people bare their souls to one another) will take care of itself within the fellowship.
     

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