The former national director for the Vineyard denomination here in America was Bert Waggoner. I once heard Bert say, “The greatest resource the Vineyard has is it’s pastors.” If that is true, and I think it is, then certainly the greatest resource a church has is it’s pastor. I believe that with all my heart. The most important person in a church, especially in a smaller church, is the pastor. No one has invested more in the church than the pastor. No one has more at stake should the church fail than the pastor. No one has sacrificed more than the pastor. People come and people go, but the pastor remains. Now I shouldn’t need to qualify this but I feel I’d better lest someone misunderstand me.
The pastor is not more loved by God than his parishioners are, he’s not more valued or favored by God. We all know that God is no respecter of persons. But, in regards to the life and direction of the local church…the pastor is the most important person in the congregation. Be it right or be it wrong, in most smaller churches if the pastor fell over dead the church would probably disband or eventually dissolve.
I’ve said all of that to say this; don’t be afraid of being compensated. You deserve a good salary and adequate benefits. You are worth paid vacations (remember vacations?) and time off to attend conferences. You should be bringing in enough money so that you don’t have to worry about paying the bills. Pastors have plenty to worry about without being under financial pressure as well.
Now I realize some of you are reading this and saying, “That’s all good and fine Dave, but my church is struggling as it is just to pay it’s operating expenses. There simply isn’t any money to pay me. I’m working full time, my wife is working. You don’t understand.”
I understand. I talk to pastors in your situation every week. You very well might be right…there might not be any money right now to pay you…but when there is…take it. If I was on your board and had to make a decision between spending money on outreach, while you were working 40 hours a week in addition to pastoring, I’d choose spending money on you instead. If I had to decide either to shell out the money for a food outreach in the community or making it possible for you and your family to have health insurance…I’d choose you. If getting our own building meant you would still have to struggle financially then I’d pick to stay where we are and use that money to take care of you.
Be on the look-out Wednesday for pt. 2
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