Friday, March 6, 2015

Reason #12 - Professional Pastors Suggest That Payment Should Be Given For Service

Professional Pastors by definition receive a salary. This salary comes in exchange for services rendered. The problem with this arrangement is that both the pastor and the church are strongly implying that payment should be given for any service done for anyone else.

When we look in scripture we see many exhortations to serve others. Jesus Christ himself was the ultimate server. Throughout his ministry he gave of himself constantly. Our Lord took care of need after need after need. He, of course, had supernatural abilities that the rest of us do not have. However, we are not expected to heal people's illnesses. What Jesus was doing was providing a model for us of serving free of charge. Jesus never expected any money from the folks he helped.

As we move through the rest of the New Testament we find numerous encouragements and commands to the church to serve others sacrificially. This is one of the marks of the body of Christ that makes it unique. The world offers services for payment. This is not an evil in and of itself; for example, I receive a paycheck for performing my daily duties at JCB. That said, we followers of Jesus are not expected to ever give of ourselves in the name of Christ for payment of any kind.

The problem of pastors serving in exchange for a paycheck stems back the modern church's idea that pastors are professionals. They ought not be. No where in the bible is it indicated that pastors are a set apart, special class that gets to receive money for doing for others. This is a man-made phenomenon.

If modern churches were to be consistent, they should give paychecks to anybody in the church who serves anybody else. I imagine that would increase the amount of service going on (sarcasm alert).

To sum up, the church sends a dangerous message when it gives paychecks to pastors. Pastors are irresponsible in accepting them. Their message is loud and clear: service demands payment. This should be sickening to the body of Christ.


(This is post twelve as part of 25 Reasons Professional Pastors Should Resign.)

1 comment:

Neil Braithwaite said...

In 1 Corinthians 9:15-18 Paul describes two completely different approaches to preaching the gospel and the two different "rewards" expected from each approach. The first approach describes preaching "voluntarily" (The Greek word hekṓn: willing) with Paul describing the reward for that approach as, "offering the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel." This reward seems odd, but within the context of this passage and other scripture, it implies a spiritual rather than material reward; which is most probably based on Paul's understanding and adherence to Jesus' warning about not becoming a "stumbling-block" to anyone. In this case, Paul believes being seen as preaching the gospel for monetary/material rewards could raise questions about one's motives for preaching the gospel and become a stumbling-block to both believers and the lost. The second approach describes the exact opposite of voluntary - preaching "not voluntarily" (NIV) (ákōn: unwilling), with Paul describing this approach as an "entrusted (pisteúō: believe or have faith in) stewardship (oikonomía: management or administration of another's affairs)" (NAS); which, by today's church standard, is basically placing one's faith in a "contractual agreement" to manage the affairs of a congregation in return for a predetermined monetary/material reward (Pay/salary/benefits). Obviously, Paul understood the non-voluntary stewardship relationship between a local congregation and a preacher would constitute an "employer-employee" relationship, which by nature establishes a criteria of performance to be met by the employee to "earn" the agreed upon material compensation/reward by both parties. This is the exact type of relationship vocational pastors have today with their churches. And this is the exact kind of relationship Paul wanted to avoid and also warned against because he knew it would cause a "hindrance" (Vs. 9) to the gospel and "burden" on the local Ekklesia. In fact, in verse 15 Paul said he would "rather die" than have anyone perceive that he was preaching the gospel non-voluntarily - for material compensation. By avoiding this kind of relationship as a preacher of the gospel, Paul could honestly "boast" that he was not a hindrance or stumbling-block because he preached the gospel voluntarily - "without charge." It's obvious that Paul understood and followed Jesus' teachings and example of storing up treasures in heaven rather than worldly rewards that have no eternal value.

But I have used NONE OF THESE THINGS, And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to DIE than have any man make my boast an empty one. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this VOLUNTARILY, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a STEWARDSHIP entrusted to me. WHAT THEN IS MY REWARD? That, when I preach the gospel, I may OFFER THE GOSPEL WITHOUT CHARGE, so as NOT to make full use of my RIGHT in the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:15-18

Vocational pastors should evaluate and determine what "rewards" Jesus and His Apostles were storing up for themselves during their time on this earth, and then honestly decide, as Jesus' disciples, what rewards they are choosing to store up for themselves - worldly or eternal?