The title of this post borders on redundancy. That was purposeful on my part.
Professional pastors by definition are professionals. They do certain things and receive payment for doing them. Very few of these men would continue to do those same things if they weren't paid (they might want to do them, but they wouldn't have time since they'd be working a regular job).
When a pastor begins his time at a church he signs some sort of contract. The church agrees to provide him with a certain package (salary, insurance, retirement, etc.) while he agrees to preach, baptize, marry, bury, visit, etc. The pastor supplies the services while the church supplies the money. It is a clear agreement between two parties.
What I've described above is the definition of a professional.
It ought not be this way. Scripture shows us churches free of this sort of professionalism. Elders (as opposed to modern-style pastors) were men who were simply part of the body. They were recognized for what they already were: godly individuals who were growing to be more Christlike while helping others do the same. These men may have received some financial gifts from time to time, but nothing in the bible suggests that they ever received salaries for their actions.
Well-known author John Piper has written a book entitled Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. The book is directed to pastors. I enjoyed reading it; it's well-written and thought out. However, and this is a big however, Piper is wrong in the very title of the book. The fact is that professional pastors are, in fact, professionals.
Today is a great day for all professional pastors to resign. The church will benefit greatly from turning to a biblical model of elders and away from salaried experts.
(This is part twenty-three of my blog series 25 Reasons Professional Pastors Should Resign.)