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.
I remember talking to one pastor who was barely getting by financially. He said that he could take a salary from the church but wanted to invest the money in the ministry instead. That’s commendable but it’s hard to live like that for long. The pressure of not knowing how you’re going to make it this month is draining. One pastor said, “It’s tiring to feel, week after week, like you are one offering away from financial disaster.” I know how that feels. I’ve had to decide whether to pay the rent on our building or take money for groceries. It’s a drag to live that way. Since you don’t have any money as it is, let me offer you some free advice:
- If you’re working full time outside of the church, go part time as soon as you can.
- If you’re working part time outside of the church, go full time for the church as soon as you can.
- If you have to work outside of the church because the money just isn’t there, (and many do) have the church pay some of your benefits as soon as you can.
- If you feel uncomfortable bringing this up with your leaders then bring in someone like me to do it for you.
- Take something, anything, no matter how small. Some relief is better than no relief.
And finally, if none of this is an option, if things are so bad you find yourself paying church expenses out of your own pocket because the money isn’t there…I salute you. I really do. You are the reason why I believe that pastoring a smaller church is one of the hardest jobs there is. Each week I am humbled and privileged to speak to pastors who are making great sacrifices for the church. They pastor smaller churches, they have little recognition, they work 40 or more hours and then race home in time to make it to a bible study, they feel insignificant…but they are not. Well done thou good and faithful servant. Try as best as you can to trust Him. And when the financial situation at your church changes…don’t be afraid to take the money.
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