Programmed for Poverty

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Dr. Bob, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Trained to live on a shoestring in college and seminary, how many of us veteran pastors are programmed to just accept what God (meaning the deacons) gives us.

    I've been there. 40 of 50 families made more than the pastor BUT I got the "privilege" of living in a parsonage rent/utility free. Of course, the church got the equity and when I left, I had squat. And the other 40 families all had 8 more years of paying off the mortgage and owned a home.

    Wonder if a pastor is looked upon as "mercenary" if $$$ is brought into the equation when candidating AND each year when evaluating budget.

    Or is passive (and possible butt of abuse) better?
     
  2. Major B

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    Bob,

    But the other Dr. (Mrs. Bob) is a physician, right?

    The SBC has helped by publishing and pushing compensation guidelines.

    Pastors should not accept a full time church if the compensation is not adequate, and congregations need to be made aware up front that "bi-vocational" means that the pastor may not be able to preach that funeral at 11AM, and that he can't come out at 3 AM to talk to your drunken son, if the pastor has a bevy of 7th and 8th graders to teach beginning at 0800 in the AM, or if the pastor just got off a 12-hour shift at the plant, and has to return in another 12 hours.

    I read somewhere that the reason that it took 10 male heads of household to form a synagogue is that if there were ten families, each tithing, they would have enough to support a rabbi at the average economic level of the congregation.

    Of course, my advice to ALL young pastors is to get dual qualified. Along with their theological education, they need to have a craft, a trade, or a profession. Be it Certified Millwright, Licensed Electrician, Certified Teacher, CPA, RN, Radiological Tech, etc., I advise them to get something. Having that certification opens up great potential for flexible ministry, and insures that families will not suffer if the father is suddenly thrown out of work.

    Also, more and more churches (at least in this area) are selling their parsonages. The pastors then buy their own house to build and preserve equity.

    Having a career wife is also a trend among pastors, and I think that is OK, unless the woman is working to support her husband's ministry habit.

    Paul made tents. I teach history and math. The overwhelming majority of the 47 Southern Baptist pulpits in our county are bi-vocational, and I think that perhaps the majority of congregations in the SBC are bi-vo.
     
  3. Hope of Glory

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    I have learned that being bivocational doesn't mean the ministry is part time. Our church would technically qualify as a mission church, except no one wanted another missionary to come in and preach salvation to the saved.

    I was disabled for a year and a half, and my wife supported our family, and my "ministry habit". She did so joyfully, knowing that she was not only providing for her family, but serving God.

    Now, I am finally able to return to the workforce. Do I mind working 50+ hours per week in addition to everything else I'm expected to do? No. God has provided me with endurance and physical needs throughout everything.

    Now, if the congregation was simply being cheap, I might have a different attitude. I don't know.
     
  4. bapmom

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    The mortgage issue was interesting.......I knew of one church that included equity from the parsonage in the pastor's benefits. I can't remember how it actually worked, but it wound up a good thing for the pastor, especially if he stayed a long time.
     
  5. mountainrun

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    [
    I'm not sure where you would have read that, Major, but I can assure you it was not in the Bible. The tithe was to support the priests who served in the temple.

    I'm not sure the early synogogues were run by paid rabbis. I believe the men of the community ran them with one of them being the chief ruler.
    See Mark 5:22.

    I support your notion that pastors might want to have a trade or two under their belt if they wish to serve the Lord because they will probably have to start out bivocational because most churches are not well off.
    And there are those who are are well off and stingy.

    MR
     
  6. Major B

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    I'm not sure where you would have read that, Major, but I can assure you it was not in the Bible. The tithe was to support the priests who served in the temple.

    I'm not sure the early synogogues were run by paid rabbis. I believe the men of the community ran them with one of them being the chief ruler.
    See Mark 5:22.

    I support your notion that pastors might want to have a trade or two under their belt if they wish to serve the Lord because they will probably have to start out bivocational because most churches are not well off.
    And there are those who are are well off and stingy.

    MR [/QB]</font>[/QUOTE]Of course, I understand the rules for the biblical congregations. I should have made it plain that I was addressing Jewish rules from the Diaspora, post 100 AD. I was pointing it out as an example.
     
  7. Major B

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    I believe the "deacon's prayer" is, "Lord, you keep him humble, and we'll keep him poor."
     
  8. exscentric

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    Stories of a tentmaker. We are in the ministry to minister and have never asked for anything from the small churches where we ministered.

    Four quick examples - you draw the conclusions - not sure I have yet.

    Church one: Gave us a small housing allowance, respected us highly, missed us when we left.

    Church two: Shared with us awhile till roof needed replaced - told them to hold off with my check till the roof was paid - roof was paid - no more checks - little respect, and didn't miss us when we left.

    Church three: Shared with us awhile but that dropped off quickly. No respect, again, did not miss us when we left.

    Church four: Shared with us more than they should have, great respect, greatly missed us when we moved on.

    It would seem people value that which costs them something, but wouldn't want to generalize too much. [​IMG]
     
  9. Pastor_Bob

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    I came to this church knowing full well that I would have to supplement my income. The pastor that preceded me was older, it was just he and his wife, he owned his farm, raised cattle, and sold natural gas from his own gas wells. As a result, the church did not have to give him a great salary. They still took very good care of him though.

    When I came, nearly six years ago, I had a wife and four children still at home. I am buying my home, and I have all of the usual financial obligations of any other husband and father.

    Because of this, the pulpit committee was concerned that they would not be able to take proper care of me. They were upfront about finances the entire time.

    After praying about God's will in the matter, we (my wife and I) decided that God was leading us to this church. I told the men that if the church so voted, I would come as pastor. They asked me what I would need weekly to make ends meet. I gave them a figure and then told them that I believed God was calling us to the church and that I would accept whatever salary the church could afford at this time and I would gladly supplement the rest. As a result, I began officiating high school basketball and football. I also worked part-time building storage sheds for a local lumber yard.

    Today, I get a full-time salary, mileage, health insurance, Christmas, birthday, anniversary bonuses, and unexpected gifts throughout the year. We always get at least a half of beef and more venison than we can eat. In the summer, we get all the tomatoes, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, and zucchini that we want.

    Our church takes great care of us. And we are a small country church. We only average 90-95 on Sunday mornings.

    Today, I still officiate because I really enjoy it and it is good exercise. I also help one of my men who has a fencing business. A few days a week I will help him build barbed-wire fence.

    I can't begin to tell you the positive results of my people seeing my willingness to get out and work. In this area, a good work ethic is very important to the people.
     
  10. Major B

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    From Dr. Lee Belford on the development of the synagogue:

    "Synagogues developed when families were in a strange land and the household heads needed to get together to discuss community problems. The Rabbis state that when there are ten men in a community, a synagogue must be organized. What gave meaning to the community was its loyalty to God; therefore a part of every assembly was the reading and study of God’s revelation and prayer. Unless the community was represented by a quorum, or minyan of ten men, no synagogue business, worship, or other activities could be considered valid. The first assemblies met in private homes. Later, public halls were used, and only when there was some permanence were buildings constructed for the purpose. Now that the Temple has been destroyed, synagogues have absorbed some of the characteristics of the Temple, but these appurtenances are not essential."
     

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