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Unpaid pastors?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Ben W, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Bro. James Reed

    Bro. James Reed New Member

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    I am an officer in my church. I am the church clerk/secretary.

    I make no money whatsoever for my time and money spent at, on, and for the church dealing with my office and those duties, nor would I expect it.

    We each sacrifice something for our church. That is my sacrifice at this time. My Pastor sacrifices time to study and preach the gospel for us. Our Treasurer sacrifices her time to keep all of our books balanced and the bills paid. Our Deacons sacrifice their time and money to tend to the church throughout the week, to make sure things are in order for Sunday services.

    We all sacrifice and none of us make a salary at those jobs. The Pastor is the only one we pay anything, and that is only because his job carries the most weight in the church.

    He has told us he would not accept a salary if we offered it to him. He does not believe a Pastor should be tied to his church financially like that because he then becomes an employee of the church.

    It's kind of funny to me that many people now believe that the Pastor ought to be fully supported by the church with no outside income. Such was not the case with the preachers of the first 1800 or so years of the church. And, even then, most pastors were farmers even if they did get paid by their church.

    It is modern thinking that Pastors must forsake any outside employment in order to fulfil their obligation to the Lord and His church.
     
  2. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    I am not one to criticize a church or pastor if the chruch cannot afford to pay a pastor. What I am criticizing is the pastor who will work for free and the church who does not pay the pastor if they can afford to.
     
  3. Thankful

    Thankful <img src=/BettyE.gif>

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    I am glad that our church pays our pastor a full time salary because he certainly does a full time job. The man works more than 40 hours per week. He is on call 24 hours per day. He never hesitates to go to the hospital at any hour if someone needs him.

    Our church has eight staff members who are paid. Three are full time positions.
     
  4. rsr

    rsr <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
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    This was originally posted on another thread by bapmom and has been moved here:

    They should be paid to do their entire ministry. Because the church has "hired" them to be their pastor, the church has an obligation to care for him and his family while he commits himself to the various duties that he must perform in order to be the best minister he possibly can be.

    I would never ever argue with a preacher who feels it best that he work a secular job while also being a full-time pastor. But I also believe that he should be given the option of becoming a paid pastor as soon as his church is capable of paying him.

    The Bible specifically teaches on this issue, so I really don't see why there is always such a debate over it.

    1Co 9:1
    ¶ Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
    1. MHCC
    1Co 9:2
    If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
    1Co 9:3
    ¶ Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,
    1Co 9:4
    Have we not power to eat and to drink?
    1Co 9:5
    Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
    1Co 9:6
    Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
    1Co 9:7
    Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
    1Co 9:8
    Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
    1Co 9:9
    For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
    1Co 9:10
    Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
    1Co 9:11
    If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
    1Co 9:12
    If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
    1Co 9:13
    Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
    1Co 9:14
    Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
     
  5. bapmom

    bapmom New Member

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    Im sorry, rsr.

    I thought the other thread was the one where this discussion was being carried on.

    THank you!
     
  6. rsr

    rsr <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
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    This post by Cindy was originally in another forum and has been transferred here:

    IMHO, pastors that refuse to take a salary from their church are not doing justice to that church OR the church's next pastor.


    Cindy
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    This interesting thread includes discussion of experiences, opinions and practicalities relating to paid and unpaid pastors, but very little discussion of the scriptures. If not mistaken, only two posts reference scripture, though perhaps not all that unusual since this thread started as an historical rather than theological thread.

    I'd like to briefly set forth a few of my thoughts on the matter (though not too briefly ;) ).

    My beliefs on the subject are formed and fitted within a "system" that sees apostolic, or New Testament, practice as normative. Those who reject this view may have a hard time identifying with my conclusions.

    In the New Testament, apostles, and evidently evangelists, were in the main traveling ministers who had "no certain dwellingplace". Elders or bishops (which were plural in number) were localized teachers identified with a certain congregation. This would account for a need of support on the part of these sent ones that would not be necessary for settled ones. An apostle might be in a place as much as three years or as little as three weeks (at least in Paul's case). One would not be able to put down roots, find a steady job, buy a place, build a home and "set up shop". All these would be a definite possibility for a settled teacher.

    Further I would contend that the modern view of the Baptist pastor who not only preaches but also handles everything from visitation to weddings, funerals, church administration - even to the church cleaning and mowing - is not based on the New Testament model. The entire congregation is a body with differing gifts (cf. I Cor. 12, Rom. 12:6-8; I Pet. 4:10,11, et al.); it seems that the one job that bishops/pastors have that is specific to the office is teaching the entire congregation. Everybody else also ought to be engaged in the visiting of the sick, etc., etc. If a church cannot be happy unless only the pastors are doing those jobs, they lack at least that much understanding the role of ministry and the idea of the church as a functioning body.

    This New Testament foundation helps me make sense of Paul's actions and instructions. Therefore Paul might defend the right of an apostle to be supported (and even take his wife with him, which would require her support), and yet turn around and tell elders that he has made his own way without charge in order to set an example for them to labor (cf. I Cor. 9:1-14; Acts 20:33-35; II Thess 3:8,9).
     
  8. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I Cor. 9 is an important passage that establishes the apostolic right of support. Paul gives a clear argumentation based on several different principles. What also must be clear is that an apostle was not required to enforce that right on the churches.

    I Cor 9:1-18 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

    It is well also to understand this passage in context (esp. chapters 8-10) of Paul's argument of placing one's rights below or in subordination to the furtherance of the gospel. As Paul instructs the Corinthians to do so, he gives a specific example showing that he is not asking them to do something he has not done or is unwilling to do; something they very well knew he had done - serve them without charge. He clearly formulates his "right" in order to show that he had not insisted on it.

    Also worthy of note is that Paul was not the only one for whom this was the common practice. He cites Barnabas* in verse six. In I Corinthians 12, he indicates that Titus also followed him in this.

    II Cor. 12:13-18 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong. Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?

    And though in I Cor. 9 Paul indicates that Peter and others did accept their maintenance (and even their wives, 9:5), it does not follow that they always did so. I Cor. 4 indicates that other apostles at one time or another labored with their hands. Note that "we" is the subject of the sentence in verse 12, and "apostles" is the antecedent of "we".

    I Cor 4:9-12 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

    * Side note - to me it appears this reference to Barnabas even after he and Paul had separated (cf. Acts 15:36-41 & 18:1-17)
     
  9. Ashleigh

    Ashleigh New Member

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    Paul also at times supported himself when the church would have been to overburdened to support him.

    If a man is expected to be self-supporting them the congregation needs to realize he can only serve them when he is not serving his secular employer

    I am Bi-vocational and am thankful to God that He allows me to serve Him at all, but when this church can support me fully i plan to be entirely at the service of this congregtion. until then I am happy to be bi-vocational.

    Sorry did not realize my daughter was logged in. This is j_barner2000
     
  10. bapmom

    bapmom New Member

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    rlvaughn,

    absolutely I agree, Paul is making his case on what he COULD expect from them but is NOT taking advantage of. This is why I could not ever even question a man, of his own free will, choosing to be a pastor who also holds down a secular job. I would not question his ability to do either job well.

    But while doing this, I believe Paul also established the fact that he COULD have been supported by the churches. From what I can see, 1 Cor 9:14, the last verse I quoted, puts a different spin on what you were saying about this only referring to the travelling apostles and evangelists. This last verse says that "those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel" in direct reference to whether or not they had the right to be paid. "Those who preach" would include the preachers who lived right there in the city and were responsible for the local church body.

    Also, I do not believe that just because something is not spelled out specifically that that rules it out as a legitimate practice for today. Especially if it is not prohibited in the Bible, I see no problem with it. Paying your pastor does not violate any Scripture that I can find, either in specific word or in principle. This would be the same as using microphones, having large auditoriums rather than meeting in personal homes, having a nursery for littler ones, having a choir, having a pianist, having a church secretary, the church running a school for their kids, etc,.....and on and on.....none of these things are mentioned as being a part of the New Testament time church....yet I really can see no problem with any of them being a part of our churches today.
     
  11. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Here I'm posting a few other verses that relate to the subject, plus a comment on elders:

    Acts 20:33-35 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

    II Cor. 11:9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

    I Thess. 2:6-9 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

    II Thess. 3:7-9 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

    Several verses indicate that plurality of elders was the norm in the New Testament churches (e.g. Acts 11:30; 13:1; 14:23; 15:2ff; 20:17; Philipp. 1:1; I Thess. 5:12; Titus 1:5; James 5:14). These thoughts of mine do not hinge on the fact that there must be a plurality of elders. But if one sees that such as plurality was the norm in the churches in New Testament times, it should at least call for a re-thinking of whether these churches would have supported all these men as full time paid pastors according to the modern concept of such. Also the holding of all things common, as practiced in the Jerusalem church, should at least give pause. Though this was evidently only practiced in that one church (and therefore not normative), the fact that during this time all were supported equally (apostles, elders, members) should make us wonder whether the early church had any concept of holding anyone up for special support above all others based simply on office and not need.

    Just some of my thoughts, perhaps providing food for thought.
     
  12. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    What will you do to change the way things are done in your church? The vast majority of American and in many other counties churches are patterned after a style of church used after the fourth century and especially in the the 1500's. It is not done at all like it was done in scripture.
     
  13. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Hi bapmom. I'll give below just a few clarifications of my thoughts, plus a few comments on yours.

    Of course, I agree with you about not questioning a bi-vocational pastor's ability to do either job well. And though I believe that the unpaid pastor is the New Testament ideal, I am not on a campaign against pastors who receive a stipulated salary. Among my friends are some good godly pastors whose churches set aside a certain amount for them each week (or month) - some who are bi-vocational and some who are not.

    As stated, I also believe that Paul established the fact that he COULD have been supported by the churches. Where we would differ is on the import of the I Corinthians 9 passage - I applying it to apostles and evangelists while you apply it more broadly. And, IMO, there is room that differ here, and because of that I do not seek to criticize those who are receiving a salary. But what I see in I Cor. 9:14 - "those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel" - is that this is specific to their task of travelling with a definite purpose of spreading the good news of the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ to unbelievers (as opposed to the duty of teaching and maturing of believers given to local pastors).

    As I said in my first post, I believe that apostolic practice is normative. Therefore, I find myself approaching much of church practice from a different perspective than most folks on the Baptist Board. While you believe that if something is not prohibited in the Bible it is not ruled out as a legitimate practice for today, I generally take the approach that if there is no New Testament command or example, it is best to leave it alone. I understand this in the area of New Testament church practice (which includes preaching, giving, worship, singing, ordinances, etc.), but not concerning peripherals such as using songbooks and microphones.
     
  14. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    I suppose what I have always done - teach, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine - and not worry whether every thing is not done the way I think it should be. But though the vast majority of churches may not be patterned after the New Testament, nor even want to be, there are some that do try to do so, however short their attempts may fall.
    I agree that your observation is correct, while not agreeing that is the way it should be. I guess my question would be, why would we accept a fourth century church model or a 16th century model over the model patterned for us by the apostles and prophets?
     
  15. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    Does your church have a place where I can tie up my horse?

    It ought to be funny to you then that most people drive a car to church rather than ride a horse or walk and are not within walking distance like they once were.

    It ought to be funny that most do not wash clothes by hand.

    It ought to be funny that most don't get up when the sun comes up to milk several cows by hand.

    It ought to be funny that most churches today do not only take one offering a year.

    It ought to be funny that we don't live in a sod house.

    It ought to be funny that we have church buildings, cars and homes with air conditioning.

    One thing has never changed though. People still want to keep all they can and give what is left over to others.
     
  16. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    What we do was largely modelled by the RCC. The protestants came out of the RCC and the west is laregley influenced by the RCC.

    If persecution came along the big crowds would quicly disappear and the church would go underground and meet in homes.
     
  17. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    If such persecution came along, the full-time salaried pastor (as we know it) would probably also quickly disappear.

    As far as RCC, I don't have much experience - have attended two funerals, a wedding, and one "regular" service. What the regular service would have in common with ours is singing and a sermon, and in that order.

    Seeking to follow New Testament faith and practice as normative has nothing to do with whether we drive to meeting in a car or have electricity in our homes. I think the teachings and religious examples of the apostles deserve more respect than thinking them so devoid of thought and conviction that they merely aped the religious practices of the day - even if one doesn't believe some of these things should be followed as examples for today.
     
  18. Maverick

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    I wouldn't say any make a point of it but most of my ministry over the years as been unpaid or as some might say underpaid. The Lord has always provided for me by job or miracle so a church check, would have been nice, but wasn't needed.
     
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