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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: NavyJeff on November 30, 2010, 01:23:39 PM

Title: Pastor compensation
Post by: NavyJeff on November 30, 2010, 01:23:39 PM
In my local paper Sunday morning there was a letter to the editor claiming there is "no biblical proof pastors should be paid." The writer further asserts that "St. Paul was a tentmaker and therefore all pastors should be." He then challenges readers to point out more than one biblical passage to justify paying pastors. I would link to the letter, but by the time the moderators approved me, it was taken down. In our new norm of austerity will we see more and more of this? In our "post Christendom" society are pastors and by extension the churches they serve future targets of austerity measures? No more tax exemptions? Should we start ensuring our candidates for ordained ministry have a second vocation?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on November 30, 2010, 01:24:17 PM
No Biblical proof, except those passages Paul cites to say that the ministers of the Church should be paid.


 :D
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 30, 2010, 01:27:55 PM
In my local paper Sunday morning there was a letter to the editor claiming there is "no biblical proof pastors should be paid." The writer further asserts that "St. Paul was a tentmaker and therefore all pastors should be." He then challenges readers to point out more than one biblical passage to justify paying pastors. I would link to the letter, but by the time the moderators approved me, it was taken down. In our new norm of austerity will we see more and more of this? In our "post Christendom" society are pastors and by extension the churches they serve future targets of austerity measures? No more tax exemptions? Should we start ensuring our candidates for ordained ministry have a second vocation?

1. I would challenge Mr. or Ms. Smartypants Letterwriter to present the "biblical proof" that "because St. Paul was a tentmaker therefore all pastors should be."

2. Separately, I'm reading more and more about financially challenged local congregations that make it appear that the next 50 or 100 years might see more tentmaker pastors than did the previous 50 or 100 years.  Unless of course we can figure out how to re-teach tithing.   ::)

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 02:15:20 PM
4. Perceptions that to investigate and enact alternative routes to certification, call, and ordination other than a four-year commitment to one of two brick-and-mortar Midwest seminaries dilutes education and the quality of pastors.

Michael! (my mom voice)  I almost always agree with you except on this point!  :-\  There is a reason for this, and believe me, even four years at an institution can NEVER prepare one enough for what is to come when accepting God's call!  Some lessons just cannot be learned in the classroom (or through cyberspace).

I submit this link (http://www.doxology.us/downloads/21_cureofsouls.pdf) as a way to demonstrate the importance of the pastor as Seelsorge (check some of the other great works by Dr. Senkbeil at that site, too), which to me, helps explain the merits of a solid, brick and mortar education.  The argument has surely been made over and over, but a pastor is a physician of the soul.  Why would we demand any less training and preparation for him than we would a physician of the body?  Honestly, his job is much tougher and has more eternal consequences than an earthly physician of the body.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 02:54:10 PM
I brace myself for any further whacks with a wet noodle.  :)

No wet noodles today.  My time in the ER last night with my son and playing nurse at home to him today has me in a very nurturing mood.   ;)

I take all your points to heart and understand where you're coming from.  By no means does a degree from a 4-year MDiv program a good pastor make, no more than we could say the same for doctors with an MD.  Actually, come to think of it, I was telling a friend today how much more I appreciated the Physician Assistant's bedside manner in the ER last night than that of the doctor.  Oh, I hate it when I go one way with an argument and find I'm contradicting myself. :P  To bring the point home, though, the female PA stopped talking as soon as the physician entered the room . . . she deferred to him by way of his "office" in the hospital if you would.  He has the final authority because of his training, his title and the "office" within which the hospital has placed him.

I am completely in agreement with having trained laity and auxilliary offices within the church.  However, having been at the receiving end of some not-so-good pastoral care in my time and knowing there are others who have experienced this as well, the more Scripture that can be studied and the more that can be taught on properly distinguishing between Law and Gospel, well, the better.  I say nothing of the more practical things a brick and mortar institution offers . . . that of brotherly support.  Once you're out in the thick of things in the parish, boy are those relationships developed in those three years in the classroom together sorely needed (especially in times of trial).
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 03:07:17 PM
And yet I would say that a doctor or lawyer is primarily dependent upon his education and experience -- granted, also gifted by God -- while a pastor is primarily dependent upon the working of the Holy Spirit in his action as a seelsorge.

Yes, a pastor is dependent upon the Holy Spirt . . . I would never say otherwise, but he is also a man dealing with real, every day people.  Sin creeps in to his life every day as it does anyone else's.  His seminary training prepares him for the battle that is certain to come from Satan.  Even after those years at the seminary and my own deaconess training, there is just no possible way one can be prepared for how strong and often those attacks come, and for how devastating they can sometimes be.  If you don't know how to counter them with the Word--as we know Jesus did whenever Satan came a'calling--it can be disastrous.  The intensity with which one studies the Scriptures determines the intensity with which he can fight the devil, in my humble opinion, for what it's worth. 
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 30, 2010, 03:24:52 PM
Maybe I've been lucky, Deaconess Schave, but more of my ministry has been the great joy of walking with Jesus into people's lives rather than going mano a mano with el diablo. Anyway, someone said "one little word shall fell him."

You write:
The intensity with which one studies the Scriptures determines the intensity with which he can fight the devil, in my humble opinion, for what it's worth.
I muse:
Saints and angels preserve us! I hope not. Why restrict God's ability to win the victory to my small ability to study and learn?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 04:00:02 PM
Some have said that the devil doesn't need to work very hard where he doesn't stand to lose much.  Of course that might be construed as a borderline breaking of the 8th commandment by so stating.

And in order not to further break the 8th commandment, I just have to leave this statement alone despite all the comebacks that are causing my head to spin at the moment.

Why restrict God's ability to win the victory to my small ability to study and learn?

Bless you, Charles, and forgive me for the unGodly thoughts I'm thinking at this moment towards what I perceive is your style of ministry.  I know it's sinful, but I'm terrible at even trying to play a pietist.

I maintain a Theology of the Cross through which I know Christians will suffer trials and temptations at every turn.  Certainly interspersed within those trials and temptations are wonderful opportunities to experience and share the amazing grace and love that our Lord offers.  I would never deny that the peace that surpasses all understanding is certainly ours to claim in the midst of those troubling times.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 04:05:10 PM
Charles:

I just saw this as part of your new and improved title/tagline:

A charming, harmless fuzzball, despite what some here say.

I so wish you'd show us this side of you more often.  I desperately do want to believe this about you.  I know underneath your cyber-exterior there is a fuzzy little teddy bear trying to get out.  God love ya!   :)
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 04:12:33 PM
Just to get back to the thread topic, during my husband's vicarage, the pastor's conference involved a Bahamas cruise (the district we were in at the time has a church there).  A member of the congregation not only refused to believe that the church would pay my way as the PW to this conference (and for a cruise no less--though I quip that it was during the hurricane season, so the rates were cheap and even less costly than a conference being held in a hotel), but once she learned that the congregation actually paid my husband a salary, she was up in arms.  Apparently she thought all pastors took a vow of poverty.  How she thought he was taking care of a family of 6, living in a house, driving a car, etc., is beyond me.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 30, 2010, 05:13:28 PM
In my local paper Sunday morning there was a letter to the editor claiming there is "no biblical proof pastors should be paid." The writer further asserts that "St. Paul was a tentmaker and therefore all pastors should be." He then challenges readers to point out more than one biblical passage to justify paying pastors.


Interesting, since only three Sundays ago the (RCL) Epistle was 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Thessalonians%203:6-13&version=ESV) which includes:

     For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were
     not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without
     paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we
     might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we  do not
     have that right, but to give you in ourselvesan example to imitate.

Thus, the letter writer is contradicting, rather than affirming, St. Paul own words.

In our new norm of austerity will we see more and more of this? In our "post Christendom" society are pastors and by extension the churches they serve future targets of austerity measures? No more tax exemptions? Should we start ensuring our candidates for ordained ministry have a second vocation?


I was hearing this sort of sentiment decades ago, long before anyone was thinking of "austerity."  But I would say that the ways we in Lutheran churches have paid for pastors and congregations (and missions and synods) through much of the 20th century reflects a different sort of economy than we actually have nowadays.  And particularly if we perpetuate the same sort of structures (one pastor per small-to-medium-sized congregation), yes, fewer and fewer pastors will be able to to be paid at anything like a full-time wage, with health and pension.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: jeric on November 30, 2010, 05:36:45 PM

I was hearing this sort of sentiment decades ago, long before anyone was thinking of "austerity."

Pax, Steven+
[/quote]



Yes.  And I've seen congregations, unable to financially support a pastor, "call" a teen-ager, high school grad (maybe) as their pastor.  Their church soon became a rug shop.  I never heard their pastor say one word in our community clergy meetings.  He is, today, delivering newspapers.  Good people in that congregation, I'm guessing, but their model of ministry had no staying power.

Even with today's emphasis on expanded roles for the laity, social expectancies do have a role to play in how the ministry is constructed.

John Ericksen

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on November 30, 2010, 05:48:24 PM
I'm speaking of Lutherans, John, and Lutherans in significant denominations -- LCA and ALC -- where they couldn't imagine calling as pastor someone who hadn't graduated from a Lutheran Seminary and had the recommendation of the Synod/District President.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Revbert on November 30, 2010, 08:30:25 PM
Just to get back to the thread topic, during my husband's vicarage, the pastor's conference involved a Bahamas cruise (the district we were in at the time has a church there).  A member of the congregation not only refused to believe that the church would pay my way as the PW to this conference (and for a cruise no less--though I quip that it was during the hurricane season, so the rates were cheap and even less costly than a conference being held in a hotel), but once she learned that the congregation actually paid my husband a salary, she was up in arms.  Apparently she thought all pastors took a vow of poverty.  How she thought he was taking care of a family of 6, living in a house, driving a car, etc., is beyond me.

Dcs. Kim.

My dear sister, you obviously missed something critical in your theological education.

Lutheran layfolk made an agreement with the Good Lord centuries ago regarding the Lutheran clergy in parishes:

"Lord, you keep him humble; we'll keep him poor."
 ;D


Now, I think a part of the problem is that "back in the day," the cattlemen kept the parson's freezer full of beef, the chicken farmer saw he had plenty of chickens and eggs, the veggie farmers made sure there were veggies, a car dealer saw he got a great deal on a car every few years, etc. When these things stopped happening, the salary wasn't increased to replace the value of the gifts-in-kind. Saw this happen as a kid in central Indiana.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 08:46:03 PM
Just to get back to the thread topic, during my husband's vicarage, the pastor's conference involved a Bahamas cruise (the district we were in at the time has a church there).  A member of the congregation not only refused to believe that the church would pay my way as the PW to this conference (and for a cruise no less--though I quip that it was during the hurricane season, so the rates were cheap and even less costly than a conference being held in a hotel), but once she learned that the congregation actually paid my husband a salary, she was up in arms.  Apparently she thought all pastors took a vow of poverty.  How she thought he was taking care of a family of 6, living in a house, driving a car, etc., is beyond me.

Dcs. Kim.

My dear sister, you obviously missed something critical in your theological education.

Lutheran layfolk made an agreement with the Good Lord centuries ago regarding the Lutheran clergy in parishes:

"Lord, you keep him humble; we'll keep him poor."
 ;D


Now, I think a part of the problem is that "back in the day," the cattlemen kept the parson's freezer full of beef, the chicken farmer saw he had plenty of chickens and eggs, the veggie farmers made sure there were veggies, a car dealer saw he got a great deal on a car every few years, etc. When these things stopped happening, the salary wasn't increased to replace the value of the gifts-in-kind. Saw this happen as a kid in central Indiana.

I know those sad stories are out there, and my heart breaks for those brothers and sisters in Christ whose churches for whatever reason couldn't or didn't take care of them.  My family has been blessed with very supportive and generous churches that have provided for our every need (and then some).  I fear it will sound boastful, but my church is actually desperately trying to find good use for a rather large sum of money from its projected year-end budget surplus.  I give all credit to God and the amazing pastor at my church who still in over four years in the ministry (he's a second-career guy . . . formerly in business) has yet to preach a stewardship sermon or have a stewardship campaign.  The topic is addressed, of course, when it comes up in the texts, and that has been sufficient.  He received the same theological education as me (well, his involved more coursework as well as classes in homiletics), so I guess they taught us both something critical afterall.  ;D  I do appreciate the levity of your comments mind you . . . it wasn't missed.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Keith Falk on November 30, 2010, 09:05:30 PM
Just to get back to the thread topic, during my husband's vicarage, the pastor's conference involved a Bahamas cruise (the district we were in at the time has a church there).  A member of the congregation not only refused to believe that the church would pay my way as the PW to this conference (and for a cruise no less--though I quip that it was during the hurricane season, so the rates were cheap and even less costly than a conference being held in a hotel), but once she learned that the congregation actually paid my husband a salary, she was up in arms.  Apparently she thought all pastors took a vow of poverty.  How she thought he was taking care of a family of 6, living in a house, driving a car, etc., is beyond me.

Dcs. Kim.

My dear sister, you obviously missed something critical in your theological education.

Lutheran layfolk made an agreement with the Good Lord centuries ago regarding the Lutheran clergy in parishes:

"Lord, you keep him humble; we'll keep him poor."
 ;D


Now, I think a part of the problem is that "back in the day," the cattlemen kept the parson's freezer full of beef, the chicken farmer saw he had plenty of chickens and eggs, the veggie farmers made sure there were veggies, a car dealer saw he got a great deal on a car every few years, etc. When these things stopped happening, the salary wasn't increased to replace the value of the gifts-in-kind. Saw this happen as a kid in central Indiana.

I know those sad stories are out there, and my heart breaks for those brothers and sisters in Christ whose churches for whatever reason couldn't or didn't take care of them.  My family has been blessed with very supportive and generous churches that have provided for our every need (and then some).  I fear it will sound boastful, but my church is actually desperately trying to find good use for a rather large sum of money from its projected year-end budget surplus.  I give all credit to God and the amazing pastor at my church who still in over four years in the ministry (he's a second-career guy . . . formerly in business) has yet to preach a stewardship sermon or have a stewardship campaign.  The topic is addressed, of course, when it comes up in the texts, and that has been sufficient.  He received the same theological education as me (well, his involved more coursework as well as classes in homiletics), so I guess they taught us both something critical afterall.  ;D  I do appreciate the levity of your comments mind you . . . it wasn't missed.

If they want to help a Lutheran congregation in Darke County (north of Dayton), we could use some help to meet our year end deficit   ;D
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 30, 2010, 09:06:40 PM
.
... My family has been blessed with very supportive and generous churches that have provided for our every need (and then some).  I fear it will sound boastful, but my church is actually desperately trying to find good use for a rather large sum of money from its projected year-end budget surplus.  I give all credit to God and the amazing pastor at my church who still in over four years in the ministry (he's a second-career guy . . . formerly in business) has yet to preach a stewardship sermon or have a stewardship campaign. The topic is addressed, of course, when it comes up in the texts, and that has been sufficient.  ...

This is a hard one, the "boasting thing," much like when a pastor teaches the Office. But in humility we must proclaim the things that God does and says, so I'm going to fully support what you have done. Part of my interim was the reality of financial distress, that needed to be righted. ... My thought was if God wanted to handle the finances He would. Our call was to something else. For the second interim in a row, I never do stewardship sermons, programs campaigns etc., and once again God is righting the ship, with extra cash in the bank at year end. They have a little ways to go before they can truly support financially a full time call, but in just a few months it is clear God has that in mind, and not a single stewardship sermon etc. Just people walking in the door, visitors coming to hear, and then becoming members going to tell.

As an aside, as an at-large-missionary, I have more places to use "year end budget surpluses," than the money that falls from the sky can rain, ... so ... in case you can't find a place  ;D ...

Start a Synod wide prison ministry, or I have a place for an inner city mission start in Denver, and one in Colorado Springs, and a Hispanic ministry that another congregation could use help with, and ... well .. Just in case you can't find a place for the money ..... you can message me ... you don't have more than God can use right now shovel ready :)

I would also add that I am becoming more and more convinced God loves and blesses Pastor/Deaconess ministry teams. It is all too obvious as I just sit back and watch Him do what He wills.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 09:07:53 PM
If they want to help a Lutheran congregation in Darke County (north of Dayton), we could use some help to meet our year end deficit   ;D

Hee hee.  I think they're looking more at helping overseas missions where the need is extremely great.  Would it suffice that I commit to praying for your congregation?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: pr dtp on November 30, 2010, 09:27:19 PM
If they want to help a Lutheran congregation in Darke County (north of Dayton), we could use some help to meet our year end deficit   ;D

Hee hee.  I think they're looking more at helping overseas missions where the need is extremely great.  Would it suffice that I commit to praying for your congregation?

TV beat me to it!

How about 5 inner city ministries (4 churches and one school)  in a place with 240 languages, 140 different cultures and 3 million people in a 10 miles radius?  Presently served by one vicar, two deacons, a new sem grad, and a pastor who wanted to retire 3 years ago.  The school's teachers make 20-35 grand a year, in a community where a 2 bedroom apartment rents for 1700 a month.  107 students in the school, many on "scholarships"?

I know it may not be as romantic as overseas... but hey - you could send a few teams to help with VBS....as well.   ;D ;D ;D ;D  That'll give you time to learn Spanish, Portugeese, Russian, Korean, Tagalog and a Ethiopian dialect or two?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 30, 2010, 09:38:54 PM
.....

The distinction between a pastor who has had the OHM conferred upon him by the call of a congregation and a layman who has not despite his level of education seems one of night and day to me.

 -- while a pastor is primarily dependent upon the working of the Holy Spirit in his action as a seelsorge.

I will never never denigrate the sacrifice men make in a four-year brick-and-mortar commitment to seminary and vicarage.  I extol it; it is the ideal to which we should strive, and it should be supplemented by regular continuing education once placed in the Office.

But I would much rather have a good man certified, called, and ordained to the Office even if he had to take an alternate route than let parishes go wanting for pastors to feed them and possibly lose respect for the OHM and ordination ...


Along with other comments made on this thread, I will reiterate, that this is both and, and comments on the ??? lack of training??? by alternate route/deacon etc. are insulting to real training. There are three congregations I can point to where sem trained pastors were replaced by deacons, and the congregation grew in numbers and faith, such that they could once again support a sem trained pastor. Do not diminish the second career, alternate route training that God used to make that happen, that the sem has not a single course for, apart from ??/ a one year vicarage? It is not either or, but both and. The seminaries might want to consider providing a "how does God restart" a congregation that has slipped to the point it cannot pay the pastor. That is a course that might be worth teaching ... if any at the sem know how to do it.... I know J&S does, and a few others out there as well. Instead of moaning and groaning ""teach, train, certify, and send" That's where the training is deficient right now.

We send young grads to dying congregation Colorado, because that's the only place they can go, and what have we taught that trains them for that? The second career guys have training up their sleeves, no room on the wall for another diploma, and TRAINING in having lived through a couple congregations that had been there before... Yeah .. lack of training that's the problem all right. But it isn't always in the alternate routes. There needs to be a synergy and Both And.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 10:21:06 PM
I know it may not be as romantic as overseas...

It is definitely not about the romance of supporting overseas mission work that motivates our church.  We have traveled and seen firsthand the great need in African nations where even a $10k job per year and a $200 per month rental property would be viewed as living like a king.  We have been supportive of numerous missionaries and projects through the years and simply hope to expand on that with the additional blessings God has bestowed on the congregation this year.  A dear friend of mine (a Deaconess in Kenya) is involved with one ministry that is being considered, and another is possibly the LMI.  Our mission board is looking at many important projects that align with our commitment to serving our neighbors in need.  I'm sure some local initiatives are being considered, as well.  Of course this is above and beyond what we already do locally to serve our neighbors, as well.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ChrisG on November 30, 2010, 10:25:35 PM
If they want to help a Lutheran congregation in Darke County (north of Dayton), we could use some help to meet our year end deficit   ;D

Hee hee.  I think they're looking more at helping overseas missions where the need is extremely great.  Would it suffice that I commit to praying for your congregation?
If you have a surplus, I would submit that you should first and foremost make sure that those in need in your own congregation are cared for.  Set up a benevolence fund for people that are struggling with job loss, health issues, etc.  Set some aside for a rainy day (we had four families in our church that sustained heavy flood damage in May in the Nashville floods - we were able to help them out substantially).  Sometimes we are quick to offer meals or rides, but are reluctant to cut a check.  Secondly, I would consider supporting churches in your circuit or district that are having a hard time affording a pastor (either keeping one or calling one).  You might be doing that already, but those things can be overlooked sometimes.
Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on November 30, 2010, 10:39:39 PM
If you have a surplus, I would submit that you should first and foremost make sure that those in need in your own congregation are cared for.  Set up a benevolence fund for people that are struggling with job loss, health issues, etc.  Set some aside for a rainy day (we had four families in our church that sustained heavy flood damage in May in the Nashville floods - we were able to help them out substantially).  Sometimes we are quick to offer meals or rides, but are reluctant to cut a check.  Secondly, I would consider supporting churches in your circuit or district that are having a hard time affording a pastor (either keeping one or calling one).  You might be doing that already, but those things can be overlooked sometimes.
Just my 2 cents.

Thanks, Chris.  Already doing that as you suggested.  My husband, the pastor, is extremely committed to assisting his own flock and also filling the needs within our own community when we can do it in a way that is helpful.  We have a Federation of Lutheran churches in Cincinnati that the church supports financially which provides chaplaincy services, campus ministry as well as a Deaconess working in the very dangerous Over-the-Rhine area (I volunteer for this organization).   Some of the surplus may likely be used to support members going to Haiti next year to assist with WR/HC's Building Homes and Hope in Haiti project.  We are definitely not without options for using God's gifts wisely.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on November 30, 2010, 10:46:21 PM
If you have a surplus, I would submit that you should first and foremost make sure that those in need in your own congregation are cared for.  Set up a benevolence fund for people that are struggling with job loss, health issues, etc.  Set some aside for a rainy day (we had four families in our church that sustained heavy flood damage in May in the Nashville floods - we were able to help them out substantially).  Sometimes we are quick to offer meals or rides, but are reluctant to cut a check.  Secondly, I would consider supporting churches in your circuit or district that are having a hard time affording a pastor (either keeping one or calling one).  You might be doing that already, but those things can be overlooked sometimes.
Just my 2 cents.

Thanks, Chris.  Already doing that as you suggested.  My husband, the pastor, is extremely committed to assisting his own flock and also filling the needs within our own community when we can do it in a way that is helpful.  We have a Federation of Lutheran churches in Cincinnati that the church supports financially which provides chaplaincy services, campus ministry as well as a Deaconess working in the very dangerous Over-the-Rhine area (I volunteer for this organization).   Some of the surplus may likely be used to support members going to Haiti next year to assist with WR/HC's Building Homes and Hope in Haiti project.  We are definitely not without options for using God's gifts wisely.

Great point Chris and I totally agree. And I would say that based on what Kim notes, God knows who to give the money to. :) Ten talents or not.

Mike,

Don't go to bed sad. I know you have always supported both. My comment was only to warn against what we think is ideal. We do faithfully what we have been enabled, with the gifts God gives and He does the work. My call is  for us to be faithful in both places, and beware setting one against the other. God - self evidently - is willing to bless both.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave_Poedel on November 30, 2010, 10:55:08 PM
The discussion on this thread is so.....out there for a guy like me, who God has used to "turn around" three congregations previously served by "brick & mortar" guys, and all are now in good shape, doing the stuff congregations are supposed to do...and all but the one I currently serve now have "brick and mortar" guys....but my poor congregation is going to have to limp along with poor and inadequate pastoral care provided by this alternate route Colloquy guy.....sheesh, as Charles would say.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: LCMS87 on November 30, 2010, 11:48:36 PM
Did you miss, Padre, another thread where it was noted that some of the greatest Lutherans were baptized in Roman Catholic parishes?  Surely anything your congregation misses in your lack of brick and mortar time is made up for by the place where you were washed, don't you think?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: NavyJeff on December 01, 2010, 09:15:15 AM
What is a "brick and mortar" guy?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 01, 2010, 10:03:38 AM
Do LCMS seminarians pay a lot for their seminary education, or does seminary support come mostly from the Synod?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: John_Hannah on December 01, 2010, 10:07:54 AM
Do LCMS seminarians pay a lot for their seminary education, or does seminary support come mostly from the Synod?

Synod's support has been dramatically reduced over the past 40 years. Last I heard was about 5 years ago when I think only 4% of the Sem's (that was St. Louis) budget came from Synod. Student now incur significant debt.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 01, 2010, 10:26:07 AM
My husband and I both got through the seminary from 2002-2006 with one student loan of $6,000 (and that was because of my studies).  He also was supporting a family of six at this same time.  Tuition was covered by grant-in-aid then.  We got into trouble, by our own choice, on vicarage, because we were not willing to move twice and force our children to uproot schools twice in two years.  We took on a mortgage that year on a vicar's salary ($6.15 an hour I think at that time).  We had a little more credit card debt that year than we would have liked in order to make ends meet, but we managed to get out from under it through some personal family sacrifices (i.e. mom went to work full-time in a secular job that paid more than the church).  I'm looking forward to very soon transitioning back to part-time hours if and when my boss finally gives me the go-ahead.

My prayer is that the Synod will make it possible for other men to study without the burden of debt.  Adding another LCMS seminary in a more helpful location to further reduce the burden is something I would totally approve of if funding was available.  On-line courses are certainly an option in my mind as long as opportunities for mutual fellowship (and consolation ;D) among students and faculty were offered in 1-2 week intensives on campus.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 01, 2010, 11:25:57 AM
My husband and I both got through the seminary from 2002-2006 with one student loan of $6,000 (and that was because of my studies).  He also was supporting a family of six at this same time.  Tuition was covered by grant-in-aid then.  We got into trouble, by our own choice, on vicarage, because we were not willing to move twice and force our children to uproot schools twice in two years.  We took on a mortgage that year on a vicar's salary ($6.15 an hour I think at that time).  We had a little more credit card debt that year than we would have liked in order to make ends meet, but we managed to get out from under it through some personal family sacrifices (i.e. mom went to work full-time in a secular job that paid more than the church).  I'm looking forward to very soon transitioning back to part-time hours if and when my boss finally gives me the go-ahead.

My prayer is that the Synod will make it possible for other men to study without the burden of debt.  Adding another LCMS seminary in a more helpful location to further reduce the burden is something I would totally approve of if funding was available.  On-line courses are certainly an option in my mind as long as opportunities for mutual fellowship (and consolation ;D) among students and faculty were offered in 1-2 week intensives on campus.

A couple of notes. The second career status (ie. a home to mortgage, credit cards) and wife working should be counted as a student debt. It has the same impact. Certainly grants and support from districts and congregations play a part in LCMS, but that is often borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.  This continues to be a issue that brick and mortar must deal with. It is often subtle. If someone gives a grant of $10,000,000 or so for a new library, or other overhead costs, that reflects the question, ... might the $10M have paid ofr tution and room and board for how many students? Is the wonderful granite arch way or statue, or whatever worth that cost? In the end it is currently on the back of the student or often cash strapped small congregation's (to be served) back end, or in process expenses. Do we want a pre-screening of candidates to be, at least in part, the "bishop who can buy it?" We have a young kid in RM's program, who plans to go in residence to the Seminary. He is totally, personal or family, unable to afford it. The only reason he isn't there now is to gather support from friends and churches. I know he will make a great pastor, and am saddened he isn't in the sem now, as he works "7-11, Walmart, pizza delivery etc." to get funds.

The second thing is concerning " mutual fellowship (and consolation ;D) among students and faculty " found in alternate path remote approaches. When I was taking DELTO I/Deacon classes, with the additional post deacon classes, I had more classroom hours, (hundreds in 36-40 hour blocks) than a typical three year in residence student. That is apart from practicum, study with the professors, and out of class activities. The classes had at least 6 students on the low end (Greek) and up to 15 (for basic Doctrine/Confessions etc.) We fellowshiped (had beers) together. Three of us worshiped together each week, and we also went to other churches with classmates. As one who knows what a cloistered intensive education environment is like (overload semesters at USAF Academy) there was as much mutual consolation and growth as the sem, off campus environments would provide. DELTO II lacked much of this with the professors at the Sem, but there was still mentor, classmate interaction. ALTS classes had excellent interaction via video net conferencing, and retreats provided gatherings of students and professors.

All that is missing in the remote training is for the Sem professors to get to know the students better, but that can be done. It is by ALTS and CU Irvine teachers. (and I pray, also for SMP now?) That the profs might not get to know them is not without some responsibility on the profs part. I feel I know Bob Smith at Ft Wayne pretty good, had good conversations with Dr. MacKenzie, Others were not for the lack of the student's desire to converse and willngness to engage. The mechanisms for video chats, boards like this were there... the profs just didn't always show up. (sometimes for great reasons, as in they were in Haiti) Then Bob Smith was there. The sems did know who the students were, and their thoughts, trials, and positions.

Mutual fellowship exists in depth, in the remote methods. It is not an introvert in his basement.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 01, 2010, 12:18:38 PM
I'm throwing around a lot of personal information today, so what's a little more (especially for someone who was going to quit posting here altogether just a few short days ago--the conversations this week have been so refreshing, though)?  Here goes . . .

If I have somewhere caused offense or in some way belittled men who choose an alternate route to the ministry, please point out where I have done so and I will correct my error.  What I think you're hearing from me is the expression of gratitude and great joy, actually, for the hard lessons God sent my way during those years leading up to, during, and even after, the seminary experience.  I wouldn't trade it for the world, not even the time I had to spend dealing with some of those grouchy men coming out of Ft. Wayne.   ;)

I am a first generation college student in my family.  My decision to join the Army was made solely as a way to finance my education (and to go to the school of my choice --which, if I might digress, currently holds the #6 spot in the BCS rankings . . . Go Buckeyes!).  I was the first to actually graduate from college in my family . . . I wouldn't say education was emphasized all that much in my family.  The same value placed on education that is traditional within Lutheranism I now hold myself, but it wasn't from being raised Lutheran.  I've spent most of my career working in higher education, and I now also teach at the college level.  Certainly this experience makes me biased towards brick and mortar institutions; that I can admit.

Let me share with you my own vocational dilemma that I am currently facing.  I have come to accept that I really enjoy teaching.  My master’s is not in my field, so my opportunities are somewhat limited.  I’m faced with the same scenario that some complain of with respect to studying for the ministry . . . academia simply is not completely on board with online or distance education yet.  The private sector colleges are growing by leaps and bounds and public institutions are taking notice.  However, in speaking to various department chairs in the area that I would like to teach (Business/Accounting), they will not accept candidates without PhDs from brick and mortar institutions.  Some community colleges are beginning to hire those with doctorates from online institutions, so perhaps this trend will eventually make its way to other schools.  Given how slow higher education is to adapt to change, this is possibly a long way out yet.

I am unable to enroll in the only local PhD program at the University of Cincinnati because they only accept full-time students.  I’m not in a position to make the sacrifice that is needed to pursue this route, so I’m accepting that as God telling me “no” right now about further study.  The university I work for has only one doctoral program, it’s an EdD, and it will not allow staff tuition remission to be used for the program . . . another “no” from God.  I can accept that it is simply not my time to pursue an advanced degree right now.  My only alternative is to enroll in an online program with exorbitant costs that may not be recognized down the line as valid towards the field I would like to teach in.  These are practical decisions any person contemplating a different vocation has to make.  Studying to become a pastor is no different than any other vocation, in my opinion.  

Currently the LCMS offers the programs it does towards ordination.  Some will find them all worthy and to be of the same caliber, others won’t.  That’s how it goes in any field.  I happen to have a very high view of the pastoral office and all of the difficulties and challenges it presents, so the more training that can be offered, the better.  I’m also one who would be very happy to see continuing education requirements put in place for pastors as other secular vocations require, mine as a CPA included.

Simply put, I value education . . . the more one can get, the better.  I am content with the requirement of an MDiv for a man to hold the office of pastor.  Now in situations where deacons and lay ministers are needed because a pastor isn’t available, I’m ok with that when they are under the authority of a pastor.  I mean to cause no offense, this is simply what I believe to be appropriate.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 01, 2010, 12:30:45 PM
I continue to encourage that more funding be made available to the seminaries for reducing tuition costs and the debt they can build up for seminarians.

A seminarian might be much more comfortable in his call to a small parish if he does not have a mountain of debt to pay off while dealing with parishioners who think that a pastor fresh from seminary doesn't deserve much money.

I completely, whole-heartedly, 200% agree with this, and this is where I would like to see the focus be placed.  My family was blessed to get through sem. without the debt that others do, but quite honestly, some of the guys thought their future church would pay off their loans if they kept racking up the debt.  Churches simply aren't in a position to do that these days.  Let's put our money where our mouths are and work towards seeing this happen.  I will go so far as to say that Lutheran teachers and other church workers deserve the same.  Call the seminary or CUS school of your choice and offer to adopt a student.  What a blessing you'll be to that student (and they'll be the same to you as you correspond.)
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: racin_jason on December 01, 2010, 01:11:33 PM
Members of the Church of Latter Day Saints often express disapproval of paid clergy. I've even heard them call it "blasphemous". Have they not read the Old Testament beyond that of Eli's wicked sons?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 03, 2010, 01:55:51 AM
Somehow, whenever anyone upholds the value of a residential seminary education around here, it is interpreted as an attack on alternate-route ministers. Some of you guys are way too sensitive about this issue.

Here's my take as a layman on the call committee: we want to call a man who has been thoroughly trained as a professional theologian. A guy who has been mentored by our brightest professors. A guy who has gone to chapel day in and day out to pray and worship with his brothers. A man who has built deep relationships with other pastors who can support him, pray for him, correct him and call him to repentance when needed. A guy who believes what he teaches without reservation. A guy who has had time to read deeply in the scriptures, confessions, and church fathers and really understands what Lutherans believe, teach and confess.

We want the best guy we can get. Obviously, education isn't the only thing that makes a good pastor; attitude, a loving and compassionate demeanor and personality are huge as well. But I'm a big believer in the formation process that happens at our seminaries and I want a pastor who is a product of that whenever possible. Even when it means that we need to dig deep, as a small congregation, to pay his salary.

If you want to interpret this as a personal attack, that is up to you.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave Benke on December 03, 2010, 09:29:17 AM
I was happy with your reply #35, Kim, but less so with #38.  Mike's response is appropriate - to place an educational credential requirement for ordination into  the Office of the Holy Ministry is neither advisable nor possible.  To encourage the educational endeavor prior to and subsequent to ordination is both appropriate and necessary.  Lutheran pastors are among the finest students and Ph.D/Th.D candidates at Fordham University these days as well as other local universities in the Metroplex with advanced degrees, and as well as among our diaconate for undergraduate degree-seeking and continuing education-seeking.  Yes to education - no to an educational degree credential requirement for ordination. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: swbohler on December 03, 2010, 09:38:25 AM
Dr. Benke,

If the LCMS can throw out the Large Catechism's explanation of the 8th Commandment (now requiring face-to-face, Matthew 18 style efforts even for public sins, which the LC expressly says is NOT necessary) and bind ourselves to a more restrictive policy voluntarily (as that LCMS change has been described) than why can we not also do the same with requiring some sort of educational degree (or its equivalent)?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 09:38:46 AM
I do not want to see Augustana XIV held hostage and ignored due to a particular educational program, agenda, or institutional self-interest.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: swbohler on December 03, 2010, 09:43:33 AM
Rev. McCain,

Who does?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 09:58:32 AM
Who does?

Though they may not intend to, I have first-hand experience with seminary faculties derailing plans to correct our error re. ordination and AC XIV because the training model did not reflect their interest in keeping resident seminary education alive and flourishing, thus, they effectively scuttled resolutions to this longstanding problem for the sake of the seminary program they are heavily invested in.

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 03, 2010, 10:54:36 AM
Though they may not intend to, I have first-hand experience with seminary faculties derailing plans to correct our error re. ordination and AC XIV because the training model did not reflect their interest in keeping resident seminary education alive and flourishing, thus, they effectively scuttled resolutions to this longstanding problem for the sake of the seminary program they are heavily invested in.

Kind Pastor McCain (or others), could you take this opportunity to provide a teaching moment for those of us who admit to not being so enlightened on AC XIV and the history of this article with respect to the Office of the Holy Ministry within the LCMS? 

For those who might need a refresher:

Article XIV: Of Ecclesiastical Order.
Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called.


I would like to write something more pleasing to Dr. Benke, but admit I could use a good dose of instruction before so doing.  ;D
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave Benke on December 03, 2010, 11:12:13 AM
Your comment is different, Mike, because it applies to post-ordination/placement education.  So the pastor could be dismissed from his congregation and his denominational roster for failure to participate in continuing education.  Although they're not on the same page, PLI is in the same book, because it strongly exhorts toward and provides continuing education after ordination and placement for the sake of excellence in ministry.  Your endorsement is noted, although dumping a man out of his parish would be a toughy - we DPs could then be the enforcers, demanding certification/ceu credit checks.  No problema.  We're the law anyway.  Just gimme more ammo.  Paul, my understanding is that your home and/or garage is an ammunitions depository.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 03, 2010, 11:23:54 AM
Though they may not intend to, I have first-hand experience with seminary faculties derailing plans to correct our error re. ordination and AC XIV because the training model did not reflect their interest in keeping resident seminary education alive and flourishing, thus, they effectively scuttled resolutions to this longstanding problem for the sake of the seminary program they are heavily invested in.

I would argue that all of us in the LCMS are heavily invested in our ownership of two seminaries. Personally, I think it would be wise to merge them, but such a suggestion runs into a firestorm of institutional self-interest like Pr. McCain describes. Having not attended, or even visited, either seminary, I don't feel a personal attachment to either one.

Our society insists on high educational requirements for certain professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants because these professions require a high level of skill and trust between the professional and the clients he serves. The consequences of malpractice are high. As noted above, I want a pastor who is a well-trained professional theologian, well versed in the ethics and norms of his profession. When I go to a pastor for individual confession and absolution, the stakes are high. I must be confident that he will treat my confession with the strictest confidence and speak words of carefully chosen gospel for my healing and comfort.

Can SMP produce this kind of professionalism? Maybe so, I'm open to the idea when appropriate, but I don't think it is appropriate for every guy who wants to use it. I really don't want a doctor, lawyer or CPA trained completely by "distance education," neither do I want such a pastor.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: swbohler on December 03, 2010, 11:24:54 AM
So it is wrong to require it to become a pastor, but not to stay a pastor?  Why, Dr. Benke?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 11:46:07 AM
Somehow, whenever anyone upholds the value of a residential seminary education around here, it is interpreted as an attack on alternate-route ministers. ..

I think you misread the comments. For myself I simply provide posts as correction to fact. I have faced threat of attack by guns and missiles, corporate sharks from LA to Chicago, to NY, political pawns at the Pentagon and DC. My personal goals are to retire and sip martini's on a cruise ship, without fretting about whales. If any of the posts here are attacks they are yawners. The responses are not reactions, but correction of fact.

Quote
Here's my take as a layman on the call committee: we want to call a man who has been thoroughly trained as a professional theologian. A guy who has been mentored by our brightest professors. A guy who has gone to chapel day in and day out to pray and worship with his brothers. A man who has built deep relationships with other pastors who can support him, pray for him, correct him and call him to repentance when needed. A guy who believes what he teaches without reservation. A guy who has had time to read deeply in the scriptures, confessions, and church fathers and really understands what Lutherans believe, teach and confess.

I have been on (4) call committees through several (>7) calls, counseled with committees and pastors under call (numerous), and subject to call. This has been with congregations worshipping 18 on a Sunday on the verge of closing, up to and including a congregation with 2000 members looking at an associate call. I might not know what happens, but I have seen the discussions, the tossing of SET/PIF's on the floor and on the table, the heated 50-50 split debates between factions, etc. etc. You should have the educational and ministry experience before you for discernment. I don't think blacklisting anyone, whether CRM or second career, or Seminary professor needs to be done before hand. Examine the men. It's that simple, pray and discern what God is doing.

Quote
We want the best guy we can get. Obviously, education isn't the only thing that makes a good pastor; attitude, a loving and compassionate demeanor and personality are huge as well. But I'm a big believer in the formation process that happens at our seminaries and I want a pastor who is a product of that whenever possible. Even when it means that we need to dig deep, as a small congregation, to pay his salary. ... If you want to interpret this as a personal attack, that is up to you.

And sometimes, as I saw a couple years back, when you have 7 pastors in a row decline your call, you will want someone to walk with you, that might lead you to a different result. When I was assigned to that congregation, they were ready to just close down. The retired pastors were overworked and less and less available. I made them one promise. They would not have a call declined again, and after a year or so I was able to keep that promise. Now they are a growing church that will be able to call young sem grads for the foreseeable future. I can point to 3 congregations that were raised up by deacons in a similar way.

This is not adversarial. It is a partnership of Seminaries, Professors, Sem Grad's and programs, to have those there for you when you have that 7th declination on your call committee table. It is God saying, "I have not left you, I am not gone, walk with Me a while." And the ministerium of the area in my experience will support and pray for you if you have to take that path.

The voices here are correct. AC XIV is being abused from both directions. Sometimes you have to decide if as a church in administrative process, you wish to affirm what God is doing, or if you wish to be the "bishops who will not ordain pastors for us" to quote the Confessions, or seek to be faithful as best He equips you as a church body to follow Him.

The irony is that the alternate paths both raise up in residence students, and create calls that would fade away, for them and others. It is a source of solution to the seminaries and normal call processes.

What is needful, from a rostering and administrative perspective is simply identify, train, equip, certify, and ORDAIN them as God has already done in the Divine Calls plainly before us. Walther did it, Luther did it, the church for 2,000 years has done it. Withholding ordination in circumstance for the sake of a system, does nothing to promote respect for AC XIV or ordination. It does the opposite as Pr. McCain bluntly noted.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 12:02:59 PM
Though they may not intend to, I have first-hand experience with seminary faculties derailing plans to correct our error re. ordination and AC XIV because the training model did not reflect their interest in keeping resident seminary education alive and flourishing, thus, they effectively scuttled resolutions to this longstanding problem for the sake of the seminary program they are heavily invested in.
...
Can SMP produce this kind of professionalism? Maybe so, I'm open to the idea when appropriate, but I don't think it is appropriate for every guy who wants to use it. I really don't want a doctor, lawyer or CPA trained completely by "distance education," neither do I want such a pastor.

You impute things that by and large do not exist. Are there some shakey deacons out there? There are. But then two of the congregations I mentioned above that were stabilized by deacons, were ones that had sem grad's who stumbled and were de-rostered. That too happens. Men are sinners. But the truth is that you are mischaracterizing the alternate route men.

They often have PhD's, and Masters in Theology. They have often gone to other maturing schools, as well as ministry formation education over a period of decades. They have, to use your example, "done thousands of surgeries, argued thousands of cases, done thousands of books" under the care and supervision of The Lawyer, The MD, The CPA. For those who take the normal route, they have usually only done a few surgeries, and perhaps never the one that you come to them for. You rely on the training, and not necessarily the reality that they are better equipped. Continuing experience and education does that.

You present a false dilemma. I'm not sure which I'd choose. The 29 year old MD just out of a respected med school, getting his sea legs, or the 50 year old ex-nurse that has assisted 10,000 surgeries just like mine, that went through a certifying night med school. I trust the hospital will provide assurances as needed.

And the two doctors when they are finished go together arm in arm for a few beers at the bar, when the surgery is successful, and think not at all of the things you mention.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 01:04:53 PM
No problema.  We're the law anyway.  Just gimme more ammo.  Paul, my understanding is that your home and/or garage is an ammunitions depository.

If you are buying the ammo, I'll gladly share some with you.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 03, 2010, 02:24:32 PM
If you are buying the ammo, I'll gladly share some with you.

Will you hand it to him or deliver it at near-muzzle velocity?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 03, 2010, 02:24:50 PM
Deaconess,

This might suffice:

http://bookofconcord.blogspot.com/search?q=XIV&updated-max=2007-05-03T08%3A18%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=20

these ruminations as well, perhaps:

http://weedon.blogspot.com/2006/04/ac-xiv-thoughts.html
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 03, 2010, 02:38:07 PM
They often have PhD's, and Masters in Theology. They have often gone to other maturing schools, as well as ministry formation education over a period of decades. They have, to use your example, "done thousands of surgeries, argued thousands of cases, done thousands of books" under the care and supervision of The Lawyer, The MD, The CPA. For those who take the normal route, they have usually only done a few surgeries, and perhaps never the one that you come to them for. You rely on the training, and not necessarily the reality that they are better equipped. Continuing experience and education does that.

We've been a few rounds on this topic on another thread, Pr. Awtrey, and you and I are just going to have to disagree, big time. I think you wildly overstate the value of experience in the pastoral ministry, and in doing so, denigrate younger men with better training. Your position is remarkably self-serving. I think that laymen who preach and administer the sacraments do so in clear violation of the Lutheran Confessions, regardless of whatever licenses or acronyms or training they claim, regardless of whether their church body condones this unconfessional practice, regardless of the fact that they have asked to be ordained.

I don't know your situation with precision so I won't make any accusations. But anyone who breaks the clear rule of the Augsburg Confession is not a confessional Lutheran, by definition. If the shoe fits, wear it. If not, I'll happily apologize for making the implication.

In my experience, the worst pastors I've seen have been the ones who have had a few decades out in the "real world" after seminary to develop some bad habits and questionable teachings. The recent seminary grads that I have know have been, for the most part, wonderfully formed confessional Lutherans. I haven't personally known an SMP grad so I'll reserve judgment. Your mileage may vary.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 02:41:57 PM
If you are buying the ammo, I'll gladly share some with you.

Will you hand it to him or deliver it at near-muzzle velocity?

Not funny, Matt. Not. At. All.



Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 03, 2010, 02:53:33 PM
Not funny, Matt. Not. At. All.

If I put one of these  ;) after it, does it make it funny?

In all seriousness, I do not condone the pointing of a firearm at any bishop, pastor, layperson or animal which is out of season.

My list of sins to confess this week just keeps getting longer and longer.  :'(
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 03, 2010, 02:56:42 PM
Mr. Jamison writes:
In all seriousness, I do not condone the pointing of a firearm at any bishop, pastor, layperson or animal which is out of season.

I ask:
Good grief! Is there a season for bishops and pastors and laypersons? I know most of the animals have their season, but churchfolk?

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 03, 2010, 02:57:14 PM
Since that wily Rev. McCain hasn't answered my question upthread yet, I'm going to quote from one of his responses at Pr. Weedon's link above (to whom I owe a thank you for so doing!).  I'm confused and am also teachable, so help me out if you would.

"Some human analogies come to mind as well.

We do not turn everyone loose on the streets to be our policemen or firemen. We do not hand the keys of a car to just anyone to drive the car, etc."


I respect the Call (Believe me! . . . you just can't explain it in a way that actually justifies the experience!), and I respect Ordination!  Forgive me for being cynical, but I was a part of a church plant (as a Deaconess) in the Bible belt "competing" with and subsequently picking up the pieces from "pastors" who might have had a "calling" after going to Bible college and decided to start a church, serve a church, etc.  One in particular was in a church which touted themselves on being non-Creedal, but asked my church planter husband for a copy of Luther's Small Catechism because his church demanded he teach a new member class, but had nothing on which to form his class around.

Should there be any qualifications put in place before or after a man is ordained?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 03, 2010, 03:00:10 PM
Good grief! Is there a season for bishops and pastors and laypersons?

Not yet, but I'm hopeful that the Koinonia Project will take up this important topic.  ;D

I should go back and place a semicolon after layperson, but this is funnier.

. . . and the list gets longer.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 03:00:25 PM
I'm talking about situations where a man is performing the functions of the ministry. Rather than move as quickly and immediately as possible to ordain them to that office, or remove them from office, the seminary faculties protested the solution because it did not require a resident seminary education, and as a result, ended up perpetuating the very error they claim to be concerned about: violations of AC XIV.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on December 03, 2010, 03:04:59 PM
Good grief! Is there a season for bishops and pastors and laypersons?

Not yet, but I'm hopeful that the Koinonia Project will take up this important topic.  ;D

I should go back and place a semicolon after layperson, but this is funnier.

. . . and the list gets longer.

However, you might want to check out this thread: "ALPB Forum Shooting Sports Fans"   :o
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 03:06:24 PM
I can assure all that no animals of any kind, not even church bureaucrats, were harmed in the making of the video.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 03, 2010, 03:14:46 PM
Heh heh heh.

! Timothy 3:1-7.  Titus 1:6-9.  ;)

Well, duh, wise guy!  ;)  But what of this part of the Titus verse?

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Who is to teach him the trustworthy message?  How did he learn it?  How does he know sound doctrine and have the ability to refute it if he isn't taught how?  Sure, most certainly the Holy Spirit works, but as Dr. Benke has said before, he works through means.  Being a pastor is more than being a nice people sort of guy.  You'd better know your stuff when you're asked the tough questions or have to admonish someone for their sin!  Check out this What About article on Pastors (http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/LCMS/wa_pastors.pdf).  I simply have yet to see a job description that compares to that of a pastor, ever!  I can't get past my belief that a man needs a great deal of training before entering the ministry until you guys help me out some more.  I NEVER had a pastor teach me about Lutheran practices (it was simply assumed that if you were in the Lutheran church, you knew why things were done the way they were) . . . I learned it at the seminary.  What can be done to prevent that in the future for other Lutheran laity?  Again, help me out.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 03, 2010, 03:20:19 PM
I'm talking about situations where a man is performing the functions of the ministry. Rather than move as quickly and immediately as possible to ordain them to that office, or remove them from office, the seminary faculties protested the solution because it did not require a resident seminary education, and as a result, ended up perpetuating the very error they claim to be concerned about: violations of AC XIV.

Perhaps an analogy from military culture might be appropriate. A Battlefield Commission can be awarded to an exceptional NCO when his leadership is needed on the field of battle, bypassing the usual educational requirements for a commission. The commission is based on need, not merit. By design, battlefield commissions are rare. They were used very sparingly in Vietnam and never since then.

The U.S. Military (like many other countries) maintains a few elite universities for the sole purpose of training men and women to be commissioned officers at taxpayer expense. There are alternate routes to commissioning such as ROTC and OCS, and the services now have more officers from these sources then from the service academies.

But regardless of how an officer is commissioned, he or she is fully an officer, entitled to all the courtesies and privileges of his or her rank and command.

There you have it: The seminaries are wonderful, alternate routes are fine, and battlefield ordinations to be used sparingly when necessary. The focus is on the ordination, and all ordained pastors should consider one another brothers and peers.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 03, 2010, 03:24:17 PM
I'm talking about situations where a man is performing the functions of the ministry. Rather than move as quickly and immediately as possible to ordain them to that office, or remove them from office, the seminary faculties protested the solution because it did not require a resident seminary education, and as a result, ended up perpetuating the very error they claim to be concerned about: violations of AC XIV.

Perhaps an analogy from military culture might be appropriate. A Battlefield Commission can be awarded to an exceptional NCO when his leadership is needed on the field of battle, bypassing the usual educational requirements for a commission. The commission is based on need, not merit. By design, battlefield commissions are rare. They were used very sparingly in Vietnam and never since then.

The U.S. Military (like many other countries) maintains a few elite universities for the sole purpose of training men to be commissioned officers at taxpayer expense. There are alternate routes to commissioning such as ROTC and OCS, and the services now have more officers from these sources then from the service academies.

But regardless of how an officer is commissioned, he or she is fully an officer, entitled to all the courtesies and privileges of his or her rank and command.

There you have it: The seminaries are wonderful, alternate routes are fine, and battlefield ordinations to be used sparingly when necessary. The focus is on the ordination, and all ordained pastors should consider one another brothers and peers.

Now that is an analogy I can understand and relate to.  I have to read Pr. Weedon's other link now, too.   I'm trying to find some good sources for the history of seminaries and the MDiv degree, but Wikipedia is about the only thing coming up.   :(
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 03:43:26 PM
That's a pretty darn good analogy, I'd say.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 03:46:51 PM
..... I think you wildly overstate the value of experience in the pastoral ministry, and in doing so, denigrate younger men with better training. Your position is remarkably self-serving. ... I don't know your situation with precision ...  The recent seminary grads that I have know have been, for the most part, wonderfully formed confessional Lutherans. I haven't personally known an SMP grad so I'll reserve judgment. Your mileage may vary.

It's not about me, Mr. Jamison.  Especially since, I am no longer in that discussion in the LCMS. This is however an issue that LCMS is wrestling with. It is about my witness, as best I can provide it, in as much as I walked for over ten years directly with those in the LCMS asking the questions. I speak for them not for myself. It's not my problem any more. I respond for your info, and not other purposes. Take it for what it's worth.

I do not "denigrate younger men " nor the seminary and its service, at all. But support it in real and tangible ways, of encouraging them and others there to effect. Your military analogy is spot on, and sometimes more officers are ROTC reserve commissions, instead of Academy Grad regular commissions, in addition to OTS. My caution is not in order to, by some back handed manner "in doing so," inference, but to have you listen to the direct statements you make to those LCMS now has in the SMP path. You directly denigrate, not some mystical "in doing so" logic.  I speak for those men you so directly denigrate, since from their delicate situation they will likely remain silent, focused on the simple sheep that called them.

In a nut shell, your argument is the one that seeks to set one against the other, and is thus defensively reactive. I do not set them against each other, but see them walking together to common purpose.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave_Poedel on December 03, 2010, 04:02:01 PM
I'm gonna jump in quietly and quickly in complete support of Pr Autrey, whose path to the laying on of hands is as circuitous as mine.  I don't have a MDiv, but I do have a DMin, and a whole ton of study, reading, mentoring, and experience in the pastoral ministry (as well as medicine, education and the military, where I got a direct commission after having been enlisted for 8 years!).  The one thing missing from these discussions is the amorphous thing called "gifting" by the Holy Spirit.  You can call it pastoral competence if you like; I like the grace of ordination concept without the indelible character.

I've been described by others as a very competent, compassionate and caring Pastor....I'm not blowing my own horn, just read the evaluations by my supervisors over the years.  I do believe there is a charism for being a Pastor.  My ordaining Bishop pressed his hands firmly on my head when he said "David, I ordain you to the Office of the Holy Ministry of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in the Name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen"  That is my "satis est" for all time forward, but I assure you I have not stopped studying, learning, researching, listening and applying what I learn.  It is an unfortunate truth that a large number of ordained pastors do not open a book to continue their studies.  I have spoken to many pastors who are too busy to study.  Maybe I work 10x harder because I came up through an alternate route, but I believe it is because I love what God has called me to do more than anything in this world.  I want to be the best Pastor I can be, and I know now more than ever that the Holy Spirit gives me more words than my brain has studied....that's the grace of Ordination thing I was talking about.

That's it for me on this subject.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 03, 2010, 04:04:15 PM
Still confused here.  Even ROTC students (I was one for a time) receive academic degrees before they are commissioned.  The job of a pastor is still more challenging than that of even a seasoned officer on the battlefied . . . we're talking eternal consequences here.  People die every day in this world, and it's either heaven or hell.  With the exception of our military chaplains (God bless them!), battlefield commanders are tasked with an earthly form of preservation, not an eternal form.

http://goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/become-an-officer/army-rotc.html
"After completing degree requirements and Army ROTC requirements, Cadets are commissioned and receive the gold bars of a Second Lieutenant."

http://goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/become-an-officer/officer-candidate-school.html
"Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, GA provides a path to become an Army Commissioned Officer for those who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree."

http://goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/become-an-officer/direct-commission.html
"The professional branches of the Army (the Army Medical Department, the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and the Army Chaplain Corps) provide civilian degreed leaders a means to receive a Direct Commission in their career field."
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 03, 2010, 04:09:40 PM
I'm gonna jump in quietly and quickly in complete support of Pr Autrey, whose path to the laying on of hands is as circuitous as mine.  I don't have a MDiv, but I do have a DMin, and a whole ton of study, reading, mentoring, and experience in the pastoral ministry (as well as medicine, education and the military, where I got a direct commission after having been enlisted for 8 years!).  The one thing missing from these discussions is the amorphous thing called "gifting" by the Holy Spirit.  You can call it pastoral competence if you like; I like the grace of ordination concept without the indelible character.

I've been described by others as a very competent, compassionate and caring Pastor....I'm not blowing my own horn, just read the evaluations by my supervisors over the years.  I do believe there is a charism for being a Pastor.  My ordaining Bishop pressed his hands firmly on my head when he said "David, I ordain you to the Office of the Holy Ministry of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in the Name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen"  That is my "satis est" for all time forward, but I assure you I have not stopped studying, learning, researching, listening and applying what I learn.  It is an unfortunate truth that a large number of ordained pastors do not open a book to continue their studies.  I have spoken to many pastors who are too busy to study.  Maybe I work 10x harder because I came up through an alternate route, but I believe it is because I love what God has called me to do more than anything in this world.  I want to be the best Pastor I can be, and I know now more than ever that the Holy Spirit gives me more words than my brain has studied....that's the grace of Ordination thing I was talking about.

That's it for me on this subject.

THANK YOU!  I appreciate hearing your perspective.  I would salute you, and I would salute any person designated with the title of Pastor in the LCMS just the same as I would a brick-and-mortar trained MDiv guy.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 04:20:51 PM
That's a pretty darn good analogy, I'd say.

It's better than a great analogy, it is a proven response with over 5,000 years of evidence. I'm an Academy grad and take some pride in my regular active duty permanent commission. But in the conflicts of the world I do not denigrate the service of the reserve officer who set aside his job, at sacrifice to family, to fight beside me, and especially not those "90 day wonders" who aquitted themselves very well.

The church is the church militant. we are at war. As church bodies we seek to equip her with those things needful. It is a serious matter and deserves our best discernment and practice.

I'm sure Mr Gelh. Pr W, and others will witness that my statements have not wavered in ten plus years. The system is broken. But that hasn't deterred God. It has pressures from the anti-clericals who would set themselves up from an "inner feeling." It has near-sacerdotalists that would seek to create a human canonical ordination above the Call. As Pr. Cwirla, as always eloquently notes, it is both call and confirmation, and they need to be together. For Mr. Jamison, several here know that I am the reluctant servant. They can witness to that if they like. I preferred to stay "working at the hardware store," ... I still do. But God through his church called me and still does. He said "we're going this way to Nineveh." And his church grabbed my hand and dragged me into walking that way. I still drag my heals like a fussy child, but I go where called, because I know walking with Him in struggle, is far preferable than running away. That is the spirit of many "reservists," serving "in the battlefields of Afghanistan."  If you looking for an image, imagine if you will the 40 year old firefighter reservist Lt. serving his fourth tour in Iraq, ... He goes, because he's called up and West Point did not provide an officer, because the normal system doesn't do that, and probably shouldn't.

I think we would be far less likely to criticize [edit-this is a satirical hyperbole] -"the slightly over weight reservist, or the young lean academy grad," if we saw things in those terms. But the military does pin bars on that 90 day wonder, and no one criticizes him, nor the ring knocker. They fight shoulder to shoulder.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave Benke on December 03, 2010, 04:21:54 PM
Matt Jamison, right on the money, and in line with the Church through the ages including in our confession ACXIV. Thanks,

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 03, 2010, 04:30:22 PM
Coming out of lurk mode…………….

I have read through this thread and would offer a few thoughts. First, I disagree with the assertion of Pr. McCain, “Though they may not intend to, I have first-hand experience with seminary faculties derailing plans to correct our error re. ordination and AC XIV because the training model did not reflect their interest in keeping resident seminary education alive and flourishing, thus, they effectively scuttled resolutions.” Neither faculty supported the Wichita Amendment to the Augsburg Confession. Nor do I recall any Seminary professor who has supported the notion of “licensing” laymen. These practices arose from the decision of others.

The notion that the seminaries are so interested in is preserving residential seminary education that they derail plans to correct errors regarding AC XIV is….well, both uninformed and simply strange. I am sorry, Paul, but here you have misrepresented (unintentionally I am sure) the seminaries. It is not about territory. It is not about  institutional preservation. It is about the Church and preserving her theology among us.

We live in the age of trendy Lutheranism. Whatever is new and “progressive” is valued above that which is historic and proven. If someone dares to speak against the latest and greatest idea that has the movers and shakers excited, that dissenter will be silenced. That may come through official channels or it may came simply by being shouted down with charges of being an obstructionist or anti-“missional”.

So I will be a good company man. Paul, whatever you and your friends think is always right.

…………….returning to lurk mode.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 04:33:16 PM
There you have it: The seminaries are wonderful, alternate routes are fine, and battlefield ordinations to be used sparingly when necessary. The focus is on the ordination, and all ordained pastors should consider one another brothers and peers.

And

Matt Jamison, right on the money, and in line with the Church through the ages including in our confession ACXIV. Thanks,

Dave Benke

Amen.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 03, 2010, 04:40:53 PM
As I reflect over my years at Bronxville and then at St. Louis, I do see much that was of benefit, much that prepared me for the ministry; but I also see lots that wasn't helpful.  And I reflect that historically a seminary is not the only way to raise a pastor.  I'm glad of the changes I've heard about at the Fort that sought to break out of the four walls of Systems, Historical, Practical, Exegetical.  But what I really wonder is whether we've accommodated our seminaries too much to a university model and not enough to a monastery model, if you will.  I know you'll think me a foul enthusiast, but my biggest complaint - and I voiced it to the Dean of Students before I graduated - was that I was leaving seminary and I really didn't know how to pray.  I was told:  "Don't worry.  You'll learn in the parish."  Well, he was right, I did though I still am very much a learner at the art, but the place of prayer, of contemplation, of learning and living with the Church's prayers and hymns and liturgy, they were sorely lacking in my experience at seminary and consider myself the poorer for it.  My concern is that you can educate a devil, and you end up with a smart devil.  I think that was me upon graduation.  What had not really been educated was, well, my soul, my heart. Rambling, but I do wonder if we really ought not rethink from the ground up how we go about forming men for the pastoral office.  I say that in no way to be an apologia for the various approaches among us.  I still am quite skeptical of their lasting value to the Church.  But they arose because something was broken, and here TV and I are in complete agreement.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 03, 2010, 04:55:59 PM
Wow.

Again, I agree so heartily with Pr. Weedon that it frightens me.

It has occurred to me that the opportunity to pray with one's brothers, friends and teachers in daily chapel is one of the most important parts of pastoral formation, and this is something that has no parallel in the university or military. Both of our seminary chapels are beautiful facilities. I listen frequently to my Kantorei CDs and think about how thrilling it would be to hear such well-trained voices in worship. If it were me, I would see the daily prayer offices in chapel as one of the best parts of the sem experience, a way of retaining the best part of monasticism without the abuses for a few years before coming down the mountain and heading off into the world.

So when I hear about seminarians who skip chapel out of laziness, I am angry. I do not want such a man as my pastor. And when I hear about chapel services cancelled in favor of small-group exercises with a decidedly non-Lutheran provenance, I am also angry (but happy that the people behind this are willing to talk it out with their critics.)

Fr. Weedon, in addition to being a student of prayer, you are quite a teacher. Your writings have had a great influence on my personal piety. For a few months now I have been using the sequence he suggested on his blog for using the Treasury of Daily Prayer. Of course, my thanks are due as well to Pr. McCain and his colleagues who produced the TDP and brought it to my attention. No one is an island and the things that you do and don't do, seminarians and pastors, affect the whole church, for worse and for better.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 03, 2010, 04:59:43 PM
I think we would be far less likely to criticize the slightly over weight reservist, or the young lean academy grad, if we saw things in those terms. But the military does pin bars on that 90 day wonder, and no one criticizes him, nor the ring knocker. They fight shoulder to shoulder.

That 90-day wonder as you point out has an academic degree, no?  And you'd better believe they are criticized when called to active duty by the regulars.  I realize I'm belaboring the point, but as Dr. Gard pointed out, if we are to preserve our theology, academic rigor is required.  Learning the Biblical languages is a must in order not to fall prey to false interpretations of the Word.  And as Pr. Weedon just pointed out, practical ministry skills need to be taught as well.  This was done through multiple means at the institution I attended, not the least of which was done through daily Chapel offerings.  I wasn't privy to the classes specific to pastors, so it occurred at a greater frequency than I was exposed to as a Deaconess student.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 03, 2010, 05:06:28 PM
I have read through this thread and would offer a few thoughts. First, I disagree with the assertion of Pr. McCain, “Though they may not intend to, I have first-hand experience with seminary faculties derailing plans to correct our error re. ordination and AC XIV because the training model did not reflect their interest in keeping resident seminary education alive and flourishing, thus, they effectively scuttled resolutions.” Neither faculty supported the Wichita Amendment to the Augsburg Confession. Nor do I recall any Seminary professor who has supported the notion of “licensing” laymen. These practices arose from the decision of others.

I'm referring to the proposals brought to the 2001 convention that would have resulted in men functioning as pastors, becoming pastors via regular call and ordination, nearly immediately, with all required education built into the process, and if they had refused, they would have been out. This was agreed to by both seminary presidents but when it was taken back to the seminaries the plan was scuttled, and we are still right in the same boat to this day, though it is getting a bit better with the SMP proposals. All lay ministry situation would have been ended, conclusively, once and for all: no ifs, ands, or buts. Even Gerald Kieschnick on the same Task Force as I was on, agreed and everyone was was on board. Major disappointment when the sem presidents signed off, but then back out of it, particularly in Fort Wayne. The seminaries, particularly Fort Wayne, were unwilling to compromise, and in my view, put institutional self-interests, no matter how well intended, over the necessity to conform to AC XIV. An ironic, and sad, situation, to be sure.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 03, 2010, 05:10:17 PM
Mr. Jamison,

Thanks for the kind words.  One of the greatest joys of ministry in the LCMS through these days has been to see how fully and completely the devotional life is being attended now.  Not only with Treasury, but now also the supplemental volumes (A Year in the New Testament, for instance,  of which I was privileged to a co-author).  And there is Starck's, the devotional works assembled from Giertz, Walther, Luther's meditation on the Psalms.  It just gets going on.  
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 03, 2010, 05:23:31 PM
Thanks for all the complements on the analogy. More of us than I thought have first-hand knowledge with with both the military and the church. Too few Americans have any contact with either institution, but that is a topic for another thread.

Despite some bruised ribs, I think we all agree on the principles at stake here. Dcs. Schave's point about ROTC is well-taken: the educational requirements are scarcely lighter than they are for the academies. Likewise, the requirements for SMP are and should remain demanding.

Another point is that the workers are due their wages, and a worker with more education rightfully earns more than one with less. Seeking out the best pastor we can find requires that we are consistent and generous in our giving. I am chief of the sinners who need to keep this in mind.

The guy who gets the battlefield ordination must know that it is no free ticket. He is honor-bound to seek out as much pastoral education as it is possible for him to get. While he may not have the opportunity to attend a seminary, an intelligent and motivated man can teach himself Greek and Hebrew and become a student of many good books.

Finally, the officers of the service academies have had an experience that the alternate-route officers have not. Given the choice, given the opportunity, a candidate should seek out the most excellent and demanding education available.

Easy for me to say, I don't have to do your job!  :D

Peace, out. Have a great weekend, ladies and gentlemen.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Michael Slusser on December 03, 2010, 05:35:32 PM

Another point is that the workers are due their wages, and a worker with more education rightfully earns more than one with less.


In my RC archdiocese, for forty plus years now, we have held to a uniform salary scale for all priests, with only a small longevity raise each year. Yet we do differ in amount of education, magnitude of responsibilities, socioeconomic status of parish. It's countercultural, but it has its own consistency with our conviction about the radical equality of our call and ordination.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 05:43:41 PM
I think we would be far less likely to criticize the slightly over weight reservist, or the young lean academy grad, if we saw things in those terms. But the military does pin bars on that 90 day wonder, and no one criticizes him, nor the ring knocker. They fight shoulder to shoulder.

That 90-day wonder as you point out has an academic degree, no?  And you'd better believe they are criticized when called to active duty by the regulars.  I realize I'm belaboring the point, but as Dr. Gard pointed out, if we are to preserve our theology, academic rigor is required.  Learning the Biblical languages is a must in order not to fall prey to false interpretations of the Word.  And as Pr. Weedon just pointed out, practical ministry skills need to be taught as well.  This was done through multiple means at the institution I attended, not the least of which was done through daily Chapel offerings.  I wasn't privy to the classes specific to pastors, so it occurred at a greater frequency than I was exposed to as a Deaconess student.

I can't speak well to Iraq et al ... well I can speak for my brother, ... but O6's don't count :) In Vietnam "the troops" were far more likely to celebrate getting an OTS (6 year enlisted two tour experience) Lt., than a, just left the Hudson West Pointer. Now perhaps the "regular" officers had reservations but the troops were the ones who got shot at.  ;D Those OTS guys hadn't all completed there degrees yet, but were "in process." My opinion of the military education the ROTC guys got in their social justice degree at "Party University," probably isn't that great either. But their service was true, and they learned fast. I have no problem with the need for languages, but that can be done in ways apart from a "weed them out Summer Greek" approach.

I learned to pray, sitting on the kitchen floor with a suicide widow long before I started this path, and in truth I learned it days earlier, on the street outside, with the flashing blue lights of police and ambulance vehicles, before I had to admit that I was actually going to have to open the door of the car and get out. I wasn't all that good at it at age 26 either, but God showed up years later, as we sat on the kitchen floor. Maybe that should be the "weed them out Summer course?" Or at least as noted the gifts of the Treasury and Pastoral Care companions need to continue to flow.

My wife, a Stephen Minister at the time,and Prison missionary, took a Pastoral Care class for Deaconess with 6 other men. When they did their "practicum counseling" exercises, the guys hated getting her as the "counsel'ee," The theory of dealing with a pregnant teen, and counselling her very "real world responses" had them scared them to death. They got A's on their papers, but they left the practicum in cold sweats, ... catatonic, feeling unworthy and failures. I always thought she did them a wonderful favor. In less than 30 seconds they forgot that it wasn't real ... and I think maybe they learned a great deal there. Do they offer that trial at the sem? That's the type of "pre-qual" the alt routes tend to have. The Greek you get a little later. Apples and Oranges, and all part of the same fruit salad.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 06:14:28 PM
....
The guy who gets the battlefield ordination must know that it is no free ticket. He is honor-bound to seek out as much pastoral education as it is possible for him to get. While he may not have the opportunity to attend a seminary, an intelligent and motivated man can teach himself Greek and Hebrew and become a student of many good books.
...
Peace, out. Have a great weekend, ladies and gentlemen.

That guy is shaking in his boots, keenly aware of his short comings and begging for help, calling for education in a place and through a means that he can drink of it while in the crucible. He likely didn't want to be where he finds himself, but calls out to the church, "Help Me!" You can assume he is an intelligent and motivated man. He gives up many evenings, and Saturdays over time, spends his treasury on books he never thought he'd need, calling his mentor in the middle of the night. RM's program sometimes struggles to get teachers, not for lack of ability or desire, but actual timidity at teaching a class where everyone thirsts for the knowledge, and thinks not at all about "filling a square," but need the knowledge as urgently as next Sunday. The students are intimidating for the palpability of their thirst.

You have a blessed weekend also,
TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 03, 2010, 06:44:52 PM
Another point is that the workers are due their wages, and a worker with more education rightfully earns more than one with less. Seeking out the best pastor we can find requires that we are consistent and generous in our giving. I am chief of the sinners who need to keep this in mind.

A very good point that I hesitated to bring up earlier today.  A quick search of district salary scales still show many that pay an MDiv pastor more than BA/BS-trained teachers, etc.  A PhD-level pastor is higher on the pay scale, too.  I'm just saying . . . why do we show partiality to higher educational attainments there but want to overlook them at the inception of a man's training?  I would worry, too, that congregations using salary scales put out from their districts (and I sure hope they are at a mininum following this . . . certainly many aren't) will only further lead a man who chose an alternate route to the ministry shaking his head in disgust that yet again, his efforts/experiences which led him to enter the ministry are not being duly respected.  Just my two cents as usual.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 07:08:20 PM
Another point is that the workers are due their wages, and a worker with more education rightfully earns more than one with less. Seeking out the best pastor we can find requires that we are consistent and generous in our giving. I am chief of the sinners who need to keep this in mind.
... will only further lead a man who chose an alternate route to the ministry shaking his head in disgust that yet again, his efforts/experiences which led him to enter the ministry are not being duly respected.  Just my two cents as usual.

I don't think most alt route guys who even consider the money ... The least I am paid as a telecom consultant is .... a lot ... more than the most, a typical PhD/DD parish pastor is being paid. What we do teach is scriptural understanding of faithful stewardship, and the reality that "all that we have is God's alone, a trust from Him" I might encourage a leap of faith in budget, and then turn around and give it back to the church with the left hand, but that's about the extent of it.  I don't do Stewardship programs or council lectures on fair wages.

I don't shake my head, but fall to my knees in awe, as I watch God change a people from struggling and miserly, to being rich with gold coins spilling over into the streets. I can't ever remember shaking my head in disgust. I can remember often saying such irreverent prayers as "Oh my God that was so cooool ! God you are amazing!" My congregation is budgeting a 22% pastoral pay raise for 2011 (still not enough to fairly pay a pastor ... Yet  !!!! ...) That's what us alt route guys see. Just keep in mind, I forfeit what most pastors are paid, for the career change. And God willing, soon, when they call the next pastor, I'll take another pay cut. I anxiously wait for that blessing! While I do that, I get to do another adult baptism in 8 days! That's what I shake my head at! .. in awe!

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 03, 2010, 07:55:04 PM
That is the spirit of many "reservists," serving "in the battlefields of Afghanistan."  If you looking for an image, imagine if you will the 40 year old firefighter reservist Lt. serving his fourth tour in Iraq, ... He goes, because he's called up and West Point did not provide an officer, because the normal system doesn't do that, and probably shouldn't.

I think we would be far less likely to criticize the slightly over weight reservist, or the young lean academy grad, if we saw things in those terms. But the military does pin bars on that 90 day wonder, and no one criticizes him, nor the ring knocker. They fight shoulder to shoulder.

TV

Just a quick note here.  This description of reservists may have been true in the past but it not longer is true. Reservists meet all the requirements of their active duty counterparts, including medical and physical fitness standards. There is no difference between them.

Nor is there a difference in training. if anything, reservists bring additional skills to the fight that are not possessed by active duty members.

With that said, the analogy somewhat works but finally is inadequate. The Ministry is not the same as military command. They are separate arenas with radically different skill sets and preparation needs. The level of training required to lead a platoon of Marines as a 2LT is high but remains less than that which was once required to lead a congregation as a pastor. The Marines continue to raise the standard; the Church reduces the standard.

It is a risky thing to raise any questions about alternate routes. So of course I will not do so. But please do not raise the claim that someone who disagrees with programs like SMP is thereby denigrating the men who are in alternate route programs. That is simply not true. Nor is it helpful to say that, if one really believed in AC XIV, then one must support the every latest and greatest educational novelty that comes around.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 10:19:48 PM
Chaplain.

Fully appreciating the real concerns you raise, let's try a different approach to the question, both as it impacts net pastoral compensation and the core ministry of the Church, Word and Sacrament in a place. These are the problems that congregations and District Presidents face daily. I'll use an example of the ministries of a large church I am familiar with. I think we tend to agree with the trials of Alaskan fishing villages, although I don't know what your solution to that looks like. Let's look at a medium metro area.

A congregation I am familiar with has 2000 members, and a $2M budget. Members probably give an additional 100's thousands directly to such ministries as the seminaries. They have 2 ordained pastors, 2 synod trained commissioned ministers, a HIT Hispanic vicar attending St Louis, and 10 professional staff employed at least part time. They have 4 services each week (apart from seasonal). There are two LCMS churches within 10 miles, and they have a couple retired pastors (when not serving vacancies elsewhere)

Let's' start with the Hispanic ministry. In your model how do they continue this real ministry without the non (soon to be) ordained vicar?

They used to reach out many miles to an unserved area of the city for members when attendance was higher, but chose to start a mission plant. Initially supported by the pastors, retirees. That model failed as the "who is on first" musical chair pastor had no staying contact with the church in that place. The members just came to the main campus for services they found there. A couple years ago it had diminished to 30 or so in a gym, and the retiree interim was unable to serve them. What would you have done in this place? Tell them to just drive back the 10 miles to the main "mega?" church. Forget the mission?

Two ordained pastors across so many services, ministries is too light. Who would you fire to bring in a third pastor? The experienced DCE Director of family ministries has the biggest salary, a family ministry administrative assistant is part time.

This is an easy one, no real problems, healthy church. Do nothing different is certainly viable. What would you counsel if you were the DP? What help would you expect from the Seminaries if you were the DP?

This church has used every variation of alternate routes, currently plugging into SMP, supported a CUI vicar, a DELTO vicar, District Deacon program, an HIT vicar etc. all under the mentorship of the senior pastor.

Recommendations? If you tell me which Jinga Block yu wish to pull out of the stack, I can tell you the results with reasonable confidence. Please note that we are ignoring the "if no one goes to the prison, wilderness town, the ministry ends", scenarios. We'll say we solved that with an ordained district paid circuit rider, who only has to travel 2,000 miles a week, tough but doable, I've done it.

What is the seminary answer for these ministries of this large congregation and its outreach?

I mean this as a risk free thinking out loud, what if experiment. Who knows we might find an answer.

TV

PS My answer hasn't changed in 10 years. Identify, train, equip, certify and ordain men to that task, through the best means that it can practically be done. But "NOT DOING IT," is not an answer.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 03, 2010, 10:42:41 PM
This description of reservists may have been true in the past but it not longer is true. Reservists meet all the requirements of their active duty counterparts, including medical and physical fitness standards. There is no difference between them.

I typed then deleted a response to this very comment because I decided I didn't want to come across as too sensitive, being a former member of the National Guard and all.  I sort of equated a response to that effect similar to someone taking umbrage to my comments on brick and mortar institutions and the attainment of an MDiv.  ;)
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 03, 2010, 11:04:26 PM
This description of reservists may have been true in the past but it not longer is true. Reservists meet all the requirements of their active duty counterparts, including medical and physical fitness standards. There is no difference between them.

I typed then deleted a response to this very comment because I decided I didn't want to come across as too sensitive, being a former member of the National Guard and all.  I sort of equated a response to that effect similar to someone taking umbrage to my comments on brick and mortar institutions and the attainment of an MDiv.  ;)

I ask your forgiveness for the comment. It was meant in exactly the opposite spirit, and short hand and nature of the forum misdirected the point. I have the highest regard for those with whom I served from Reserve and National Guard origins, and "that" was meant to be the point, despite caricatures, which I sadly contributed without clarity. In the field there is no academy, ROTC college, OTS classes, only well trained servants who rise to the task at hand. so it is in the streets of the church militant as well.

TV

PS. And for Chaplain Gard, with all due respect, the "pre" commissioning (ie. before being ordained) training of ROTC and OTS, are not even close to the Academy curriculum. They certainly lack the intensive 4 year cloistured community, and ability to "live with" the professors, and come to know key General Officers . I'm pretty sure the summer programs with line troops/bases etc. aren't in the normal ROTC visits to bases. I spent two months "in training" with the SEALs at Coronado as an example, actually "graduating" their UDT program. There is much more than that. But the point is while every effort is to provide excellence before being "commissioned," (ie. before being ordained) when we got commissioned and got to Thailand, whatever our previous training, it was excellence and identical continuing training (ie. post ordination) that rose to the task at hand. I didn't do too much scuba diving while flying planes over SE Asia. And reservists were well capable of stepping up to the tasks just like I did, if not often better.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: pr dtp on December 04, 2010, 12:41:12 AM
In regards to the attitude towards distance education being somehow.... less, and dismiessed, I can offer a bit of experience.  I have taught at the master's level - in a combined on line and live class, a live class, and taught community college in both settings.  The students on line were actually given more work and the projects were just as well done, if not better.

I have taken a couple of online classes over the years as well, from differently places, but most notable UC Berkeley.  That is not a second class school - and the course in Shakesperean Literature was one of the toughest I have taken.

I also worked at Pepperdine, again, not a shabby school by anyone's judgment, and their online program at the graduate level is well known internationally.  My wife is currently enrolled (somewhat to my dismay) at USC in a Master of Arts in Teaching program that is as respected as their on campus program.  When I was at CUI - the same course I had in Cultural Anthropology was taught by the Irvine professor for the Ft. Wayne seminary.

Nearly every major university has an online track.  Some of our CU schools do as well.

This is not the era where distance education means paper mill "correspondence". 

If an educator can't adapt to the forum, they don't teach in it, nor should they be forced too - any more than a professor of church history should be forced to teach say - Greek 1.  If the student doesn't do the work, they are dropped.  There is no real reason that SMP cannot be delivered in the same quality and even the same exact academic program as Fort Wayne or St Louis.

So don't use distance ed as some excuse to expect or to deliver a lesser program, and lesser preparation than a distance program.  There are too numerous programs out there that show it possible. 

js

PS  As to the spiritual environment, I guess they'll just have to suffice with being involved with the pastors in their circuits and you know - the (SARCASM ALERT) nonspiritual people that sit in the pews.   

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 07:26:30 AM
I ask your forgiveness for the comment. It was meant in exactly the opposite spirit, and short hand and nature of the forum misdirected the point. I have the highest regard for those with whom I served from Reserve and National Guard origins, and "that" was meant to be the point, despite caricatures, which I sadly contributed without clarity. In the field there is no academy, ROTC college, OTS classes, only well trained servants who rise to the task at hand. so it is in the streets of the church militant as well.
TV

Oh, TV, no apology necessary.  I read and re-read your comments and came to realize you really were complimenting those citizen soldiers.  I hope not to stand at odds with you on the alternate route issue.  Your wonderful explanations of your own experience (in the military and the pastorate) have given me food for thought.  My personal experience has been very different from the situation you describe about yourself, so I have hope that I was privy to some isolated incidents only with respect to a couple of DELTO folks.

Blessings on your continued ministry.

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave Benke on December 04, 2010, 07:43:41 AM
You raise an interesting point on salary scales, Kim.  In my mind it works exactly toward what has been stated by a few of us.  Our clergy salary scale begins for pastors with two assumptions - ordination and inclusion on the LCMS roster.  I guess three, because nobody would be looking at the guidelines if the pastor were not at their parish.  Thje increments for education are post-ordination.  In other words, the encouragement is to continuing education - not to the negative point of exclusion from the clergy roster for failure to complete, but to the positive point of guideline-based financial assistance.  Perhaps more to that point, we do have two "classes" of people on the roster (basically) - those who are ordained and those who are commissioned.  The responsibilities of the ordained office are for a parish at the highest level. 

I would hasten to add that the responsibilities of the auxiliary offices are neither tiny nor insignificant.  I have spoken to many groups on the accountability level of the school principal, for instance, and indicated that on an earthly level, it's at the highest possible accountability in the average parish struggling to meet its congregational portion of the total budget.  The fannies in the seats of the school are calculated to the penny in determining whether that principal is getting it done, and she/he has to put together a staff of some size, a recruitment plan, a curriculum for Christian and quality academic formation, relate to the parents, deal with all mannner of facility and personal emergencies, and be in that building 5 days a week for a dozen hours, plus if rostered participate meaningfully in the parish in the same building she/he has occupied for maybe 60 hours on duty already.  So no, I'm not down on teaching and school and auxiliary offices in the Church. 

But the responsibilities of the pastoral office are viewed by all as of the highest spiritual/eternal value.  Which is why pastors who don't work hard or work much irrititate me so profoundly.  And those who do are profoundly brothers at the deepest fraternal level.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 08:11:33 AM
I'm somewhat snowed in this morning and continue to get pestered by church members about when I'm giving my presentation on my Kenya trip.  This morning it is finally time for that.  As I am thinking about what I would share with them about the trip they so graciously covered a big chunk of the cost on, I'm starting by selecting the pictures I'll use to tell the story.  How on earth does this relate to this thread?  Simple:

Had it not been for my husband's residential seminary education (and ultimately mine), I would have never even went to Kenya.  I would have never had the opportunity to be inspired by those students from other countries and cultures in class.  Just when we would make some off-the-cuff comment about the suffering and hurting in the context of our limited experience within the American culture, something would be contributed by an international student that just made the American experience pale by comparison.  So just a few short weeks ago, I was able to meet up with a dear Kenyan Deaconess friend from seminary and share our joys and sorrows and pray together like old friends.  On that same day, a Kenyan man on the back of a motor bike passed me as I walked up the path to the Matongo Seminary for lunch.  He wouldn't stop staring at me as they passed.  I felt completely awkward about the experience . . . until I made it up the hill and saw him up close and realized it was a student from the seminary I attended years before back in his home country now teaching at a seminary there!  It was the greatest thing to be so far from home and recognize familiar faces and catch up with each other's lives and ministry work.  These dear souls sitting beside me in class is who I credit for my interest in and love of missions!

I found this article (http://www.tsm.edu/admissions/being_there_the_case_for_residential_seminary_training) which I think did a great job of explaining the merits of a residential seminary education.  A few nuances make it obvious it's not written from a Lutheran lens, but it is still worthwhile reading regardless.

It is said that seminaries do not necessarily provide practical experience for future pastors.  I beg to differ.  My husband was considering an alternate route to ordination as anyone else might when it became obvious to him that God was indeed calling him into the ministry.  We had to make some very difficult choices like others in uprooting our four young children from their grandparents, leaving our church and the wonderful friends we had come to know, a very comfortable income, our comfortably large home, basically everything we had known.  Reminds me a little of Luke 5:9-11 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%205:9-11&version=ESV), no?  One practical lesson learned.

I was still recovering from a C-Section and remember wondering how on earth the packing was ever going to get done.  Well, like everything else, God made sure it all got done.  Another practical lesson learned.

Time after time, gift cards and money arrived in our seminary mailbox, in the US mail, etc., just at the exact time we needed them.  Christmas gifts for our family were provided each year when we didn't have the extra cash to take care of it ourselves.  The food and clothing co-ops provided for a large portion of our needs.  We learned how to accept gifts for the first time in our lives; we were always independent and self-sufficient prior to the seminary.  What a gift to us and churches/individuals to engage in this give and take arrangement.  More practical lessons learned.

I had decided at one point that I couldn't continue to work the hours required in a job I accepted there, so I quit my job with my husband's blessing.  Within days, he was notified that he was the recipient of a very generous grant from a church.  A few days later I was hired to teach part-time at a business college making more money and only needing to work one night per week.  God's providence . . . major practical lessons learned at the seminary.

I could go on and on with more stories of practical lessons learned, but I think you get the point.  I think the article sums up so much of the experience better than I could.  By no means were those four years easy, but they were by far the best ones of my life yet--learning a dependence on God that I never had and probably never will have again given the nice, cushy salary my husband is now blessed with as a pastor.   ;)  The friendships with other students and faculty that will last an eternity, access to a world-class seminary library, daily Chapel, learning to pray with and uplift/support those struggling with the same life challenges that don't stop just because you're at a seminary (student deaths occur, family struggles continue, etc.) . . . those are just a few of the benefits of the seminary experience.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 08:22:23 AM
You raise an interesting point on salary scales, Kim.  In my mind it works exactly toward what has been stated by a few of us.  Our clergy salary scale begins for pastors with two assumptions - ordination and inclusion on the LCMS roster.  I guess three, because nobody would be looking at the guidelines if the pastor were not at their parish.  Thje increments for education are post-ordination.  In other words, the encouragement is to continuing education - not to the negative point of exclusion from the clergy roster for failure to complete, but to the positive point of guideline-based financial assistance.  Perhaps more to that point, we do have two "classes" of people on the roster (basically) - those who are ordained and those who are commissioned.  The responsibilities of the ordained office are for a parish at the highest level. 

I would hasten to add that the responsibilities of the auxiliary offices are neither tiny nor insignificant.  I have spoken to many groups on the accountability level of the school principal, for instance, and indicated that on an earthly level, it's at the highest possible accountability in the average parish struggling to meet its congregational portion of the total budget.  The fannies in the seats of the school are calculated to the penny in determining whether that principal is getting it done, and she/he has to put together a staff of some size, a recruitment plan, a curriculum for Christian and quality academic formation, relate to the parents, deal with all mannner of facility and personal emergencies, and be in that building 5 days a week for a dozen hours, plus if rostered participate meaningfully in the parish in the same building she/he has occupied for maybe 60 hours on duty already.  So no, I'm not down on teaching and school and auxiliary offices in the Church. 

But the responsibilities of the pastoral office are viewed by all as of the highest spiritual/eternal value.  Which is why pastors who don't work hard or work much irrititate me so profoundly.  And those who do are profoundly brothers at the deepest fraternal level.

Dave Benke

AMEN!  Stated so very well on all points!  Our kids attend a Lutheran school, so I do have the utmost respect for our Lutheran teachers and administrators.  And as for pastors who won't work, I haven't met one yet, but if I did, I probably wouldn't take too kindly to it if his flock was being ignored.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: pr dtp on December 04, 2010, 01:28:13 PM
As I re-read this - and again cringe at the pre-suppositions such as distance ed is somehow less (see post above - and my point that it is not the students or the delivery system  who make the program less, if it is), there is something that is missing.

The Rite, or more specifically the prayers of the people as they call and install the pastor.

The education is nice, but as has been noted in more than one scenario, you can have two pastors- one with a STM who went stright from college to seminary, and then to his STM and is in the pulpit a year.  The other, a 20 year well respected DCE who went through CUI's program, or even Delto at his congregation's request - because as they prayer they wanted him in the office because that is where they were led.   Which do you want?

I know both - and would take either.

Not because of the education on the ground, or in the rarefied atmosphere of the sems, but because of the call - because of the realization that this is who God wants in this place, where He put His name, that people could know of Him and pray and realize He is God.  And those that know Him could pray, and know that their sins have been sent away - and it's just God and His people.  Some would call this the chrism, or in my preference the charism/grace given that prepares a man to be placed in this role.  It's the reason that either pastor is put in the stead and by the command of Christ.

It's not the location of the education.  And certainly there are times and places and men where each has their place.  It's the call, its the prayers, its the Christ giving the pastor/teacher (or evangelist, prophet, apostle) to His people. It's the Holy Spirit that is there - choreographing the process.  You take that away - and I don't care if the dude has 4 PhD's from both sems, princeton and Oxford.

js

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 01:57:07 PM
I truly have no problem with distance education as a means of communicating information.  If that is the sole purpose of education, then electronic means might indeed be sufficient. This may be a fine way to train for a trade or profession.

I would submit that the education for the vocation of a pastor is far more than communicating information. It is formation both of the mind and of the person. Enfleshed formation (i.e. the Seminary experience) is going to produce a different "product" than electronic formation. Both can communicate the same data but the context of life while receiving that data is radically different. The Synod in convention back in 2007 opted to provide both kinds of training. Only time will tell what the differences are in terms of the formation of pastors who go through those programs. It is far too early to assess the new program.

I would also invite anyone who perceives a "rarefied atmosphere of the sems" to come and spend some time at Fort Wayne or Saint Louis. There you will find people living lives grounded in the Gospel and in a community of study and prayer - but also in full and intense involvement with the broader culture. It is an experience you simply have to have to appreciate.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 02:05:26 PM
As I re-read this - and again cringe at the pre-suppositions such as distance ed is somehow less (see post above - and my point that it is not the students or the delivery system  who make the program less, if it is), there is something that is missing.

I suggest an unbiased re-read of my comments if you happen to be referring to my own.  I have set forth examples of the extracurricular learning and formation that goes on during the seminary experience without in any way being critical of the academic content of alternate route programs.  Though I have one, and that is that I believe the language courses should be required.  If I am wrong and the language requirement now exists, then I stand corrected on that one criticism.  I have also acknowledged that some will hold the alternate route paths as something sub-par to the traditional route, right or wrong, and this is the case with secular vocations, as well.  I did not state that I agree with this attitude.

Since I don't know you or your name to find out myself, did you take part in the residential seminary experience?  Perhaps that might contribute to helping us understand where the true pre-suppositions that you reference lie.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 02:32:02 PM
Though I have one, and that is that I believe the language courses should be required.  If I am wrong and the language requirement now exists, then I stand corrected on that one criticism. 

The distance education programs have no language requirement - it was deemed too demanding.

You need to be careful though, Deaconess. You are beginning to sound like a certain dead white male from the 16th century who wrote:

"And let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held; they are the larder in which this food is stored; and, as the gospel itself points out, they are the baskets in which are kept these loaves and fishes and fragments."
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 02:43:46 PM
"And let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held; they are the larder in which this food is stored; and, as the gospel itself points out, they are the baskets in which are kept these loaves and fishes and fragments."

Wow, two great Luther quotes in one snowy day when I'm stuck inside with no Buckeyes to watch on TV; that makes me happy.  Thanks also to Pr. Kirchner on the C&A thread for the one he presented, as well, at just the most opportune time.

I regret that I did not learn the languages, but I appreciate knowing we have very learned pastors within our church body who can help point me in the right direction when needed.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 04, 2010, 02:45:36 PM
I do think the language requirement is vital; but I also am very critical of my education in that regard.  I took the Greek classes and Hebrew classes at Bronxville (even a special unit on Septuagintal Greek), and then worked with the languages at the seminary, but I honestly do not feel that I have attained the needed sufficiency in them.  I think I mostly got "a's" and even won the Classics award the year I graduated from Bronxville, but I wonder if that's an area where we really need to revamp.  I'm delighted with Scott's learning in that regard.  It gives me hope that maybe the seminary and universities are changing the way they teach the languages.  What I have learned, though, is to be very, very wary of asserting that "well, the Greek (or Hebrew) means X."  I mean, there are instances that are clearly not captured in a given translation.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out how the editors of ESV chose to render John 4:51 with "your son is recovering" instead of noting that the servants actually greet the father with the exact word our Lord had spoken:  "your child [our Lord had said son] lives!"  And why the future in Jesus' answer in vs. 50?  Anywho, stuff like that is quite helpful for recognizing the limitations of a translation, but to assert WHAT a genitive means in a given spot gives me the hee-bee jeebies.  
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 02:53:25 PM
. . . but I honestly do not feel that I have attained the needed sufficiency in them.

Is this possible?  Maybe it's similar to how we approach Scripture with fresh eyes daily and also as Luther so aptly pointed out about law and gospel:

"Hence, whoever knows well this art of distinguishing between Law and Gospel, him place at the head and call him a doctor of Holy Scripture."

Pastor Weedon, you may be critical of your seminary education, but somehow you have attained an education many of us could only hope to achieve based on the wise counsel and pastoral heart you always seem to demonstrate.   :)
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: pr dtp on December 04, 2010, 02:58:41 PM
Though I have one, and that is that I believe the language courses should be required.  If I am wrong and the language requirement now exists, then I stand corrected on that one criticism. 

The distance education programs have no language requirement - it was deemed too demanding.

You need to be careful though, Deaconess. You are beginning to sound like a certain dead white male from the 16th century who wrote:

"And let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held; they are the larder in which this food is stored; and, as the gospel itself points out, they are the baskets in which are kept these loaves and fishes and fragments."

So who deemed it too demanding?  I know of a deacon in our district who just took two semesters of Greek on line. I know a pastor who in his retirement is taking Hebrew and Aramaic through a program in Israel - online.  I am curious - in the developing of the SMP program, did you all happen to consult with any schools that had effective online programs, say like USC's Education program, or Norwich's Organizational Leadership program, or Pepperdine's Education and Business programs?  Or maybe check in the multi-vehicle systems, which combine onsite short term AND distance.  

That's one of the problems I think - that you haven't asked the question of what is possible via electronic means as far as education.  Or what the circuit pastors that surround these students will lend to the process as mentors and father confessors.  Or maybe you meant it would be too demanding on the professors?  ???

As to ratified atmosphere, you and the Deaconess show that attitude when you say the spiritual formation can't occur unless locked into a seminary program.  I contend it can - and one of the requirements to the distance programs should contain that component, AND evidence that it is already part of the life of the student.  The SMP program is akin to the AR program on campus - they are not for the young or the novice believer.  Those grads you have out in the field, who went through it on the seminary campuses are proof that such can exist outside of the hallowed brick and mortar walls.  Or would you not trust Weedon, or Fr. Messer, or retired seminary profs like the ones TV has mentioned,  or the other pastors you show respect to, with the spiritual development of men who will work alongside them?  

Sorry, I think the development of the programs lends to the critique of it - sort of an unintentional self-fulfilling prophecy.  The problem then lies in the development of the program, not the vision of it.

SO take the time to improve it, rather than just dissing it.  

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 04, 2010, 03:00:06 PM
Deaconess, you are too kind.  What I meant, though, is when I meet a deponent I think of it as a Greek verb behaving badly.  I know it's not what's its supposed to be, but not much more.  Similarly to the verb aspect or whatever the devil you call it in Hebrew - perfect and imperfect, but not really tense.  My mind doesn't compute around that very well at all.  As long as the verbs are regular and behaving, I can stumble along, but when they start with all their danged exceptions - well, just forget it.  I pull out Accordance and get help a.s.a.p., but even then knowing the grammatical form doesn't really tell you everything you need to know about how that grammatical form is functioning inside of a given syntax, and the scholars asserting in this context it means thus and so, well, I have to depend on the scholars for that because I honestly don't read it well enough to say for myself.  All of which leaves me dependent upon the scholars, rather than the Word itself, if you will.  So when I say I don't have proficiency, I mean exactly that.  I'm not going to argue with a Loew and Nida or even a Danker - I just don't know enough - and sometimes they don't agree.  What then?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 03:06:10 PM
OK, Pastor Parker, whatever you say must be true. Blessings!
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 03:08:48 PM
As to ratified atmosphere, you and the Deaconess show that attitude when you say the spiritual formation can't occur unless locked into a seminary program.  
It would please me greatly if you could point out my words stating this so I may correct myself.

Quote
SO take the time to improve it, rather than just dissing it.  
And also this above.

It would help me to know how you obtained your pastoral education, as well, if you would be so kind as to answer my question.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 03:11:54 PM
Pastor Weedon,

You are a wonderful example of what pastoral formation is all about. The tools you received as a student have shaped your growth - and that growth comes only from prayer, preaching, administering (and receiving) the Blessed Sacrament and study. I would love to see you on Seminary faculty so that the pastor that God has shaped from the young Will Weedon would help shape another generation of pastors. Alas, I will have no voice in that as I am condemned to the outer darkness of the politically incorrect. But I can dream, can't I?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 04, 2010, 03:22:17 PM
O Lord, have mercy, Dr. Gard!  I can't picture leaving the calling of a parish pastor.  I love you all on the faculty and am very grateful for all you do in the service of Christ's people, and you all do continue to teach us - the journals and papers you deliver are very precious gifts to the pastors and other church workers, for continuing education is not simply a matter of attending some course, but of continuing to learn - but for myself I really can't see being anything other than what I am now called to be and do. 
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave Benke on December 04, 2010, 03:38:50 PM
One of the great contentions, frankly, for the additional of more NON-residential components to residential training, is to have intensives as well as curricular course work taught by working priests/pastors who are at the "master's" level of compentency and, for lack of a better term, wisdom.  This happens to us a lot out here with several of our younger pastors in the urban setting.  To rip them from those posts for life at the seminary would be a mistake.  Not to have them actively involved in pastoral formation is also a mistake.  The via media is for them to be adjunct faculty and to have component teaching components using them.  This is in addition to, not in place of, the internship/vicarage year. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 03:45:11 PM
O Lord, have mercy, Dr. Gard!  I can't picture leaving the calling of a parish pastor.  I love you all on the faculty and am very grateful for all you do in the service of Christ's people, and you all do continue to teach us - the journals and papers you deliver are very precious gifts to the pastors and other church workers, for continuing education is not simply a matter of attending some course, but of continuing to learn - but for myself I really can't see being anything other than what I am now called to be and do. 

I have to laugh, forgive me, Pastor Weedon.  For someone who I know has such a high view of the call, if God called you to teach at a seminary or elsewhere, I have total faith you'd recognize the source of the call and accept it.  I couldn't help but chime in on that.  I, too, feel you'd make an excellent teacher and am glad we have your cyber-lectures available as long as you remain in the parish. 
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 03:48:06 PM
Have no fear, Will. The fact that I would recommend you for a faculty appointment guarantees that it won't happen. So.....you owe me one.... no salary cut for you........:)
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 03:48:43 PM
One of the great contentions, frankly, for the additional of more NON-residential components to residential training, is to have intensives as well as curricular course work taught by working priests/pastors who are at the "master's" level of compentency and, for lack of a better term, wisdom.  This happens to us a lot out here with several of our younger pastors in the urban setting.  To rip them from those posts for life at the seminary would be a mistake.  Not to have them actively involved in pastoral formation is also a mistake.  The via media is for them to be adjunct faculty and to have component teaching components using them.  This is in addition to, not in place of, the internship/vicarage year. 

Dave Benke

Are (or could) seminary faculty (be) used to teach courses in a more distant location by traveling there at specific intervals?  I saw such an arrangement in Kenya.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave Benke on December 04, 2010, 03:57:29 PM
They are and do, and the DELTO courses taught out of Ft. Wayne in years gone by were all taught at Concordia Bronxville.  Also, there are summer intensives taught by seminary professors at various round--the-country locales.  The advantage of the pastor in the field doing the teaching and interaction is the intimate connection of the theology/theory to the practice with the students looking on from the same context.  By the way, the St. Louis Sem always sends one to three professors for the urban intensive in NYC, not only to engage in further mentoring, but for their own continuing education.  Chaplain Gard is an example of a seminary professor who as an active duty chaplain brought and brings a life-credibility to the classroom enterprise.  Theory has already met practice on the battlefield.  In the olden golden days of yore, the Springfield Seminary was branded AS the practical seminary both in its formational model and its choice of professors.  The shift to "Theological Seminary" was in many ways a disjuncture, although at this distance in time it's not easy even to remember that.  Which is why in my opinion Ft. Wayne should lead the way in creative extra-residential programs.  See how what goes around comes around?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: swbohler on December 04, 2010, 04:20:36 PM
Rev. Weedon makes more than a seminary professor?  Wow! ;D
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 04, 2010, 04:27:12 PM
That I sincerely doubt...but I really don't know what a seminary professor makes.  St. Paul's pays me $59,788 per year.  They also pay the health insurance for my entire family (for which I am profoundly grateful), and they provide me a house to live in and pay 1/2 of the utilities for that.  And throughout the year, we are blessed with goodies from various parishioners in kind.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 04:29:39 PM
Then you would take a HUGE cut. I'm in the wrong "business".....
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 04, 2010, 04:30:57 PM
The discussion of bringing Fr. Weedon to the seminary is an interesting one, but I would like to bring to your attention something that I think is very interesting:

Fr. Weedon is already an influential doctor of the church.

This despite the fact that he is a "mere" parish preacher in a rural parish with no other official standing in the LCMS or any other organization that I am aware of. How can this be?

It is largely due to the fact that he is a frequent (perhaps the most frequent) guest on the Issues, Etc. program, a program that has a large and growing influence on Lutherans around the world, even though many Lutherans are still unaware of it. The nature of this communications platform is a perfect fit with Fr. Weedon's gifts and talents.

One thing that Issues does regularly is a segment called a "hymn study." Issues, Etc. surely did not invent the idea of a hymn study, but it is a perfect format for an audio program. In these segments, the hosts play a Lutheran hymn stanza--by-stanza and the guest teaches and explains the meaning of each verse. At the end, the hymn is played in its entirety. This is a mode of teaching that is difficult in the context of Divine Worship or Bible Study, but works well on a radio program that is typically delivered as a podcast, using technology to circumvent limits of time and space that constrain more traditional teaching methods in the church.

The end result is something to behold: The episode where Fr. Weedon explains "Up Through Endless Ranks of Angels" is a work of art in itself, a masterpiece of pastoral teaching. If you have not heard this, you absolutely must go to the Issues, Etc. website and do so. The teaching genre of "hymn study," as done by Issues, is not exactly a sermon, though it serves much the same purpose. In that episode, Fr. Weedon reads an extended quote from a theologian (I don't remember who) that was a meditation on the Ascension, also the subject of the hymn. When I listened to this, I was in my car driving on the Garden State Parkway and I wept with such force that I had to pull over. I wept with joy over the salvation that is mine in Christ Jesus. Pr. Wilken, the host of the show, asked "where do you get this stuff, Will?"

The point of this overlong post is not to heap more praise on Fr. Weedon. As a humble man, I'm sure he finds it a bit embarrassing. And Weedon is not alone. That episode was also made possible by Wilken's skills as an interviewer and Jeff Schwarz' skills and experience as a radio producer. I should add that another member of this community, Pr. McCain, is also one of Issues' best and most frequent guests (I know Schwarz and Wilken make it a point to put the most enlightening and skillful guests on most often.) Pr. McCain's hymn study of "From Heaven Above to Earth I Come" is also unforgettable, and I look forward to hearing it again this Christmas.

The point is: this communications process is taking place entirely outside the official institution that is the LCMS. Many of you understand why this is, but this thread is not the place to re-hash all of that. Lutheran Public Radio is a tiny organization consisting of a handful of people and a modest budget, but it is having an outsized influence on the future of the church, mostly through the way it showcases guests who are not paid and who have no official connection to LPR.

Communications technology is already changing the means by which the church handles the Gospel and this has dramatic implications for the future of our church bodies, positive and negative. I think everyone here gets that the Internet is a big deal for the church, but I think few understand where these changes are already taking place. We in the LCMS are blessed with a few good men and women who understand how these tools can best be used by the church, and I have no doubt that they will be the formal leaders of the church in the future, just as they are the informal leaders of the church right now.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Matt on December 04, 2010, 04:51:17 PM
That I sincerely doubt...but I really don't know what a seminary professor makes.  St. Paul's pays me $59,788 per year.  They also pay the health insurance for my entire family (for which I am profoundly grateful), and they provide me a house to live in and pay 1/2 of the utilities for that.  And throughout the year, we are blessed with goodies from various parishioners in kind.

My last job involved working with people on financial planning issues. As it happened, I ended up speaking with a number of pastors and their wives about finances, so I have some insight into the financial issues that they face. I am deeply impressed at how most of the pastors that I know maintain a comfortable middle-class lifestyle on a modest income. Pastors are among the most farsighted and thrifty people I know, even though they struggle with the financial issues as any other middle-class family. I think one reason for this is that they know perfectly well that they will never have a huge income, and this keeps them from taking on too much debt in the false belief that someday soon they are going to get a huge raise. Another factor is that the pastor's income stream, while small, is consistent. They don't usually face the threat of sudden layoffs that plagues some people who have a higher income.

Of course, the pastors also have some unique challenges, like a mountain of student debt from institutions with the word "Concordia" somewhere in their name. I believe it is a scandal that our system does this to its pastors and I recommend that we look for a better way. But it is to our credit that many of our pastors are able to provide a fine home for their families while engaged in full-time ministry.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 04, 2010, 04:53:56 PM
Dr. Gard, I'm sorry to hear that for you sake, and it makes me even more appreciative of the sacrifices you undertake to serve Christ's Church.

Mr. Jamison, let me assure you that I am not humble at all.  I wish I were.  But I must ask forgiveness for pride all the time.  Thanks for the kind words, nonetheless.  And Issues, Etc. is an amazing resource, isn't it?  Such a variety of guests to learn from too.  About Ascension, I remember that episode.  You are recalling me reading a piece from the indomitable O. P. Kretzmann.  His little book, *The Pilgrim,*  is FULL of such gems and should be on every Lutheran's shelf.  Pity that CPH won't reprint it.  It would sell like hotcakes.  
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 05:00:31 PM
Of course, the pastors also have some unique challenges, like a mountain of student debt from institutions with the word "Concordia" somewhere in their name. I believe it is a scandal that our system does this to its pastors and I recommend that we look for a better way. But it is to our credit that many of our pastors are able to provide a fine home for their families while engaged in full-time ministry.

Not every pastor has a mountain of student debt.  It was just a few years ago the institution we attended was able to offer 100% tuition assistance through grant-in-aid.  We're not too far gone from those recent days to restore it at both institutions (and perhaps to some extent the Concordias).  Please, everybody, let's put our money where our mouths are and make a contribution to the current students making major sacrifices in addition to our ranting about it on here.  What a perfect time of year to adopt a seminary family and provide gifts when they might not otherwise be afforded.  That is all . . . thanks!
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 05:06:55 PM
I am convinced that a seminary faculty is enriched both by those who have pursued the advanced academic credential of a Ph.D. and by those who may not have those initials after their name but bring a wealth of knowledge and vocational experience.

I think of men like the late Prof. Marquart. I think of men like Prof. John Pless. I could name many others as well.

I have no problem taking a pastor like Will Weedon from his parish. Why? He models what a Lutheran professor should be - a pastoral theologian and a theological pastor. I want that modeled before seminarians because God will use it to replicate new Will Weedons in parishes for the coming generations.

I am not writing this to embarass Pr. Weedon though I know that I am doing exactly that. At the end of the day all that matters is the Church because it is in her that the Lord works through His blessed Means to bring salvation to human beings.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: pr dtp on December 04, 2010, 05:53:23 PM
As I re-read this - and again cringe at the pre-suppositions such as distance ed is somehow less (see post above - and my point that it is not the students or the delivery system  who make the program less, if it is), there is something that is missing.

I suggest an unbiased re-read of my comments if you happen to be referring to my own.  I have set forth examples of the extracurricular learning and formation that goes on during the seminary experience without in any way being critical of the academic content of alternate route programs.  Though I have one, and that is that I believe the language courses should be required.  If I am wrong and the language requirement now exists, then I stand corrected on that one criticism.  I have also acknowledged that some will hold the alternate route paths as something sub-par to the traditional route, right or wrong, and this is the case with secular vocations, as well.  I did not state that I agree with this attitude.

Since I don't know you or your name to find out myself, did you take part in the residential seminary experience?  Perhaps that might contribute to helping us understand where the true pre-suppositions that you reference lie.

Deaconess,

Here is your example you asked for- you claim that your formation that goes on in brick and mortar is not critical o the alternate routes - but then you tote your experience as superior.  You've done this a number of times, and denounce the alternate routes for not having the language requirements.  Chaplain Gard indicated this was deemed to difficult.  Neither the language requirement NOR the spiritual development of the seminaries is impossible to re-create in the distance education scenario.  Both of you conitnue to point out the excellency of the spiritual development proponent at the brick and mortar place.  While you say you don't deride the alternate routes, you continue to say the residential program is so much superior.  THere is a phrase for that in business.  It's called "damning by faint praise."  The program is fine - really, but its not like the real thing.

Standards the sems use, have been deemed to be too difficult to deliver through a distance education model, and I suggest that the reason is that the methodology behind the delivery system hasn't been investigated enough to determine that it cannot.  Indeed, if a Education program like USC, and a Militiary Leadership program like Norwich, or the Nurse Practitioner programs at several institutions are doing it, there is something that hasn't been examined. 

You also asked about my education.  My old denom used a system equivalent to the old Bachelor of Divinity at Springfield.  I also ended up with a degree in Organizational Management, and have been a guest speaker in that in a MBA program in small business and entrepreneurial management, as well as taught MIS/CIS at community colleges.  I picked up a MA in Theology during my colloquy process and then some as well, and have taught in that program.  I have about half a Dmin done in Homiletics, in a joint program between two seminaries and a network of churches.  As I noted above, I have taught i the classroom and via electronic means, and in hybrid courses where some students sat in the classroom with me - and several were connected electronically.

Does it take a lot of work and planning on the instructors part to teach on line?  Yes, and indeed, it requires some additional education in the educational style, whether formal or through coaching, to teach on line. But it is being done, and done well.   If we aren't doing it well, that does not mean it cannot be done well. ANd that the congregations can be assured that their pastors are getting the best training possible.


Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 06:11:52 PM
Deaconess,

Here is your example you asked for- you claim that your formation that goes on in brick and mortar is not critical o the alternate routes - but then you tote your experience as superior.  You've done this a number of times, and denounce the alternate routes for not having the language requirements. 

You are not only overeacting, you are adding meaning to my writing that just isn't there.  Feel free to cut and paste my words to show where I've done any such thing.  If you take offense to my positive musings of my experience, that I cannot help.  I believe we're all allowed our opinions on any subject, as you aptly demonstrate yours as you see fit on this forum. 

I am not denouncing the men who have chosen the alternate routes by any means.  I'm simply stating my opinion that I believe the language requirement is a very important component in the formation of a pastor because of personal experience I have with others trying to twist scripture by using various translations of the Word.  My goodness, it goes on right under our noses on this forum all the time.  Surely you've witnessed it.  I admit my own shortcomings in not having that knowledge while other Deaconesses do.  It doesn't bother me a bit to admit that I missed out on what would have been a very helpful endeavor.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave Benke on December 04, 2010, 06:14:10 PM
I wonder if in 20 years the class system will pertain so much in higher education when it comes to residential vs. alternate routes , as J/S notes it here in our dialog about pastoral training.  I think there will be an incredible melange going forward as it will be possible to take a class with the professor in front of your face while you're on the J Train looking at your cellphone, and the classmates are in Peru or Peru, Indiana texting or X-Boxing in. What I would see as persisting is the existence of campuses.  They'll be used differently/more diversely.   But they'll be there.  And what I see persisting in expansion is alternative modes of delivering education at the basic and advanced levels.  In terms of preparation for and formation for the pastoral ministry, the explosion of diverse theological thoughts and thought-processes will make it necessary for the glossary of what is considered essential to remain constant, even as the flow of data that attacks or suppors the constant becomes more fluid.  Apologetics on the move.  The last issue of Christian Century featured a girl on the cover with the headline "Teen Theologians."  Why not?  

What do you think?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 06:16:24 PM
Deaconess,

Pastor Parker is always right. Always. He would never add to what anyone has said. So just acceot his rebukes and lectures about how wrong you and I and others are.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 04, 2010, 06:20:38 PM
Deaconess,

Pastor Parker is always right. Always. He would never add to what anyone has said. So just acceot his rebukes and lectures about how wrong you and I and others are.

OK, thanks.  Point taken.  I hate to think I'm conducting myself in a manner that is sinning against others so that I can repent.  I just don't know from what I am to repent in this instance.  I guess it's ok to have an opinion so long as it agrees with a certain norm.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Michael Slusser on December 04, 2010, 06:33:24 PM
Deaconess,

Pastor Parker is always right. Always. He would never add to what anyone has said. So just accept his rebukes and lectures about how wrong you and I and others are.

OK, thanks.  Point taken.  I hate to think I'm conducting myself in a manner that is sinning against others so that I can repent.  I just don't know from what I am to repent in this instance.  I guess it's ok to have an opinion so long as it agrees with a certain norm.

That was pretty cheesy, I think.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: edoughty on December 04, 2010, 06:37:24 PM
I'm curious -- do the LCMS seminaries not have an option for learning Greek and Hebrew online?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 06:41:10 PM
I'm curious -- do the LCMS seminaries not have an option for learning Greek and Hebrew online?

Greek can be taken on-line as it is pre-requisite for admission to the M.Div. Alternatively both seminaries offer Greek intensives on campus. No languages are required in the non-residential programs.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 06:43:27 PM
Deaconess,

Pastor Parker is always right. Always. He would never add to what anyone has said. So just accept his rebukes and lectures about how wrong you and I and others are.

OK, thanks.  Point taken.  I hate to think I'm conducting myself in a manner that is sinning against others so that I can repent.  I just don't know from what I am to repent in this instance.  I guess it's ok to have an opinion so long as it agrees with a certain norm.

That was pretty cheesy, I think.

Peace,
Michael

We have an app.....sorry, emoticon.....for that. :D
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: edoughty on December 04, 2010, 06:45:52 PM
I'm curious -- do the LCMS seminaries not have an option for learning Greek and Hebrew online?

Greek can be taken on-line as it is pre-requisite for admission to the M.Div. Alternatively both seminaries offer Greek intensives on campus. No languages are required in the non-residential programs.

Ah, OK. 

But then if Greek is offered online, why NOT require it for non-residential programs?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 04, 2010, 06:49:48 PM
I'm curious -- do the LCMS seminaries not have an option for learning Greek and Hebrew online?

Greek can be taken on-line as it is pre-requisite for admission to the M.Div. Alternatively both seminaries offer Greek intensives on campus. No languages are required in the non-residential programs.

Ah, OK. 

But then if Greek is offered online, why NOT require it for non-residential programs?

The structure of the non-residential program is eight classes before ordination followed by eight classes after ordination. I am not privileged to know why it was so structured or why Greek (and Hebrew) were excluded. But it is what it is.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on December 04, 2010, 08:30:09 PM
Mr. Jamison, thank you for pointing me (us) to Issues, Etc. especially to Pastor Weedon's delightful contributions.  I especially have enjoyed his work on the "Oh antiphons" from about two years back, and Epiphany.

Pastor Weedon, thank you for all you do.  I am curious about the "SSP" that follows your name on your signature.  Is that a specific order or association within the LCMS?

I know that the STS stands for the Societas Trinitatis Sanctae, to which Pastor Tibbetts, Pastor Wolfe and others on this forum belong, and I aspire to join soon.  I know I need something to help replenish the well - a more disciplined way to return devotion to Christ, and I think STS is a good venue for this ELCA pastor to pursue.  Your passion and joy in serving Christ inspires me.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 04, 2010, 08:37:18 PM
Pr. Scheuller, many thanks for the encouragement.  SSP is short for Society of Saint Polycarp.  You can read more about that here: http://societyofsaintpolycarp.blogspot.com/2008/12/rule-of-ssp.html
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 04, 2010, 10:26:27 PM
I'm curious -- do the LCMS seminaries not have an option for learning Greek and Hebrew online?

Greek can be taken on-line as it is pre-requisite for admission to the M.Div. Alternatively both seminaries offer Greek intensives on campus. No languages are required in the non-residential programs.

Ah, OK. 

But then if Greek is offered online, why NOT require it for non-residential programs?

The structure of the non-residential program is eight classes before ordination followed by eight classes after ordination. I am not privileged to know why it was so structured or why Greek (and Hebrew) were excluded. But it is what it is.

As a side note The RM program offers Greek, (using Voelz text, and exegetical study in scripture) even though the previous programs did not require it, nor initially include it. It was the students who insisted it be included, made the plea for it to be offered, (as well as an outstanding request for Basic intro to Hebrew). The Synod/Sems/Districts said it was optional. That does not mean the students see it that way.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 04, 2010, 10:28:55 PM
Does not the "long-distance" training of pastors include a strong segment of, uh, mentoring with local pastors who are an integral part of pastoral formation?

In my mind I'm thinking that professions (law, accounting, medicine, etc.) have not always required going away to a professional school for a few years to learn everything you need to know.  One could also clerk/apprentice/study with someone already in the profession, who guided, taught, etc. and helped discern when one was ready to be questioned by other professions in order to enter it.  Yes, that has been increasingly delegated to professional schools, but that doesn't mean that is the only way one can be properly formed as a professional.  (And, when using "professional" in an old-fashioned sense, it is a perfectly good word to use for those of us ordained into the Holy Ministry!)  We don't have to go very far back in the history of our own nation to find when most of our professionals were brought into their professions by other professionals, not specialized instructors.

I'm also sensing parallels in the debate over public vs. private schools or, even moreso, home schooling, in which the dominant mindset is that some things (socialization, team sports, etc.) can be learned only in the large school that "everybody" goes to.  

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 04, 2010, 11:02:13 PM
Does not the "long-distance" training of pastors include a strong segment of, uh, mentoring with local pastors who are an integral part of pastoral formation?

In my mind I'm thinking that professions (law, accounting, medicine, etc.) have not always required going away to a professional school for a few years to learn everything you need to know.  One could also clerk/apprentice/study with someone already in the profession, who guided, taught, etc. and helped discern when one was ready to be questioned by other professions in order to enter it.  Yes, that has been increasingly delegated to professional schools, but that doesn't mean that is the only way one can be properly formed as a professional.  (And, when using "professional" in an old-fashioned sense, it is a perfectly good word to use for those of us ordained into the Holy Ministry!)  We don't have to go very far back in the history of our own nation to find when most of our professionals were brought into their professions by other professionals, not specialized instructors.

I'm also sensing parallels in the debate over public vs. private schools or, even moreso, home schooling, in which the dominant mindset is that some things (socialization, team sports, etc.) can be learned only in the large school that "everybody" goes to. 

Pax, Steven+

Yes they do. And the mentors are often not light weights.

Some mentors, as I have noted here, include those who taught many many pastors who were ordained around the world. One of my mentors has taught pastors who were ordained in the Philippines, South Africa, Kazakhstan, East Africa, and other places. I'm not sure, J&S would have to speak to CU I adjunct pastors who mentored some guys. A friend of mine had a "CSL DMin mentor," who 'to date,' has declined, but been offered, a discussion for prof at that Sem. Another friend had a professor/interim mentor at another CU school. The seminaries have produced some outstanding teachers out there beyond the midwest, to their credit

I will admit it takes the students and those who agree to teach, stepping up and insisting they will not accept second best. The form certainly could allow for it. But why would a guy want to take a half baked class, when he sees the real need right in his face. His time is too precious to have it wasted with anything other than the best he can get in the circumstances. I think that dynamic escapes those trying to theorize about a system.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: pr dtp on December 05, 2010, 12:46:35 AM
So Greek delivery online in SMP was deemed to be too difficult, yet it is offered online to those entering the MDiv program meeting a pre-requisite.

Surely, Dr. Gard, you see the incongruity of these two statements?

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 05, 2010, 10:06:14 AM
To clarify, what I said was "The distance education programs have no language requirement - it was deemed too demanding." The design of the SMP is to allow a man to quickly be ordained, requiring 8 classes taken over 2 years before that point. The addition of Greek as a prerequisite would add a considerable amount of time for that.

Greek is not part of the M.Div. program. It is a prerequisite that must be met before entering the degree program. This has been the case for many years even when the M.Div. was known as the B.D. (N.B.: The B.D. was not a college degree like a Bachelors in religion - it required a college degree prior to admission as well as Greek. The only difference between the B.D. and the M.Div. is nomenclature).

Is this for the better? That is a value judgment. The SMP program is what it is. The M.Div. is what it is.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 05, 2010, 10:12:27 AM
Does not the "long-distance" training of pastors include a strong segment of, uh, mentoring with local pastors who are an integral part of pastoral formation?

In my mind I'm thinking that professions (law, accounting, medicine, etc.) have not always required going away to a professional school for a few years to learn everything you need to know.  One could also clerk/apprentice/study with someone already in the profession, who guided, taught, etc. and helped discern when one was ready to be questioned by other professions in order to enter it.  Yes, that has been increasingly delegated to professional schools, but that doesn't mean that is the only way one can be properly formed as a professional.  (And, when using "professional" in an old-fashioned sense, it is a perfectly good word to use for those of us ordained into the Holy Ministry!)  We don't have to go very far back in the history of our own nation to find when most of our professionals were brought into their professions by other professionals, not specialized instructors.

I'm also sensing parallels in the debate over public vs. private schools or, even moreso, home schooling, in which the dominant mindset is that some things (socialization, team sports, etc.) can be learned only in the large school that "everybody" goes to.  

Pax, Steven+

Steven,

One of the cultural differences between the ELCA and the LCMS is that Missouri has had two seminaries rather than the larger number of the ELCA. With the exception of a limited number of pastors received by colloquy, all Missouri pastors shared the same formation at one of those institutions. This was reflected in the unity of the Synod as one Synod rather than a collection of independent districts.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 05, 2010, 10:19:42 AM
Back in the old old old days of the Augustana Synod, there was one seminary (Augustana, Rock Island, Illinois), and - I am told - the faculty tended to stay the same for decades; therefore all Augustana Synod pastors had the same type of seminary education from the same professors. I would imagine that created a certain kind of "unity."
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Michael Slusser on December 05, 2010, 10:38:54 AM
Back in the old old old days of the Augustana Synod, there was one seminary (Augustana, Rock Island, Illinois), and - I am told - the faculty tended to stay the same for decades; therefore all Augustana Synod pastors had the same type of seminary education from the same professors. I would imagine that created a certain kind of "unity."

I'm sure it did. Not the least advantage is the fact pastors know a lot of their colleagues from having been in seminary together. Unfounded suspicions are reduced, while differences of approach are understood. The families of origin of other pastors become a quasi-extended family to all the classmates. No price can be put on this.

At the time I was ordained (1966), my archbishop believed in sending a few ordination candidates far away--Europe or Washington--so that our local church would have better access to the wealth of insights being presented elsewhere in the church. . That also offers advantages.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 05, 2010, 10:54:08 AM
Back in the old old old days of the Augustana Synod, there was one seminary (Augustana, Rock Island, Illinois), and - I am told - the faculty tended to stay the same for decades; therefore all Augustana Synod pastors had the same type of seminary education from the same professors. I would imagine that created a certain kind of "unity."

I think the same was true of Hamma, where my great-grandfather, grandfather, father and uncle attended.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 05, 2010, 11:06:41 AM
Back in the old old old days of the Augustana Synod, there was one seminary (Augustana, Rock Island, Illinois), and - I am told - the faculty tended to stay the same for decades; therefore all Augustana Synod pastors had the same type of seminary education from the same professors. I would imagine that created a certain kind of "unity."

I'm sure it did. Not the least advantage is the fact pastors know a lot of their colleagues from having been in seminary together. Unfounded suspicions are reduced, while differences of approach are understood. The families of origin of other pastors become a quasi-extended family to all the classmates. No price can be put on this.

At the time I was ordained (1966), my archbishop believed in sending a few ordination candidates far away--Europe or Washington--so that our local church would have better access to the wealth of insights being presented elsewhere in the church. . That also offers advantages.

Peace,
Michael

Michael,

In the richest tradition of the Church, both in her Roman and Lutheran communions, the universality of her nature has been cherished. That priests were sent to other locations to be formed in residence at seminaries or to earn advanced degrees certainly has advantages.

CTSFW, likewise, is a community of faith comprised of men and women from across the Synod and across the world. We have had up to 26 nations represented in our student body at the same time. Our faculty regularly teaches at seminaries on every continent and our students may spend a year in study overseas. Our faculty is comprised of pastors with degrees from a number of non-Lutheran institutions including Notre Dame, Harvard, Durham, Berne, Drew, Vanderbilt.....and the list goes on. These are amazing gifts from God.

Your observation that pastors who studied together know each other is certainly true. One of the great joys of Symposia at CTSFW is that these pastors get to see each other and renew old friendships - more than friendships, they are bonds forged through a common life. My wife jokingly refers to it as "The world's biggest frat party."
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 05, 2010, 12:32:35 PM
The Roman part of the Church also has the means to "order" people to attend certain seminaries, pick those for the North American College in Rome and set them on certain career paths.
We Lutherans can't do that.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 05, 2010, 03:16:47 PM
As much as I wanted, and still do, for the situations in which a man is performing functions of the ministry without being ordained, to be resolved decisively and quickly, and as much as I deeply regret that a solution to this problem was derailed by the seminary faculties, particularly Fort Wayne, in 2001, I at that same time would not for a moment want to suggest that the residence seminary training programs we have in place are not the best and most preferred means by which to educate our clergy.

I'm troubled by Clyde's comments posted which give every impression, at least to me, that he somehow believes the kind of "stop gap" measures to be the preferred methodologies for training full time servants in the Church.

To continue the interesting analogy to the military, the military maintains elite military academies of higher learning to obtain for itself the most highly qualified officer corps possible, and likewise, it is a tragedy that The LCMS, for a variety of reasons, and many of them not good at all, has distanced itself from putting a priority on obtaining the best and most highly qualified men to fill its clergy ranks and has not done whatever it takes fully to fund such preparation via full time resident seminary education.

Men who are performing the functions of the ministry should be ordained, ASAP, and required to obtain whatever additional educational requirements the Synod deems necessary. If they refuse, they should be removed from their service. And similarly any Synod official who is not aggressively seeking their ordination, ASAP, should likewise be removed from office.

Simply put, we either, as a church body, believe, teach and confess Article XIV and XXVIII of the Augustana, or we do not.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on December 05, 2010, 03:39:14 PM
I'm troubled by Clyde's comments posted which give every impression, at least to me, that he somehow believes the kind of "stop gap" measures to be the preferred methodologies for training full time servants in the Church.

Paul,

Clyde is not the only one who believes this. There are others.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 05, 2010, 03:43:17 PM
Oh, I know, Dr. Gard. Trust me, I know.

And if The LCMS actually believes "working around" the seminaries is going to result in a stronger church, it is kidding itself.

When I go to a bank I want to know that there are people there who are well educated and trained to handle my money responsibly. And if that is how we wish treasures in time to be handled, how much more should we value preparing people to deliver to us eternal treasures.

Similarly, while it is great to have an E.M.T. or a physician's assistant in an emergency, the full M.D. is still a precious gift.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 05, 2010, 06:44:10 PM
Rev. McCain:

Both of these recent comments you made were extremely helpful to my understanding of the Augustana XIV issue.  Thanks so much for providing the analogy on the banker as well.  I admit that a good deal of my being in favor of high education standards for the ministry, whether they be through a residential seminary or a hybrid online approach, is due to the expectations we continue to place on other professions in our society.  I respect the pastoral office a great deal (I did not always, unfortunately), so when we demand that teachers responsible for educating our elementary school-aged children hold at least a master's degree these days (similarly with accountants needing a master's, pharmacists needing a PharmD, etc.), it's easy for me to want to transfer those standards over to the ministry where a man has far greater responsiblility than managing/teaching a classroom of 25 children (as if THAT isn't difficult enough), balancing the books, dispensing medication (this I say only because pastors dispense the eternal form of medication).  I would hate to see society devalue the faithful pastors we have serving the church if they weren't held to a similar standard as other professions.  I see so much of this devaluing of the church as it is given the state of society, I feel as much education we can possibly deliver to our future pastors in whatever is deemed the best and most appropriate manner possible should be done (and at a $0 tuition cost to the student if and when at all possible).

Thanks again.  I suppose I've said all I can possibly say on the subject.   :D  I have appreciated gaining a better understanding where it has been provided on here from some who have traveled an alternate route to the same final destination of that vocation we call "pastor."
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 05, 2010, 06:55:18 PM
Deaconess Schave, thanks for your remarks. I appreciate your participation on this testosterone-heavy forum and your insights and perspectives as a genuinely faithful confessional Lutheran deaconess. God bless to you and your husband.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 05, 2010, 07:13:53 PM
Deaconess Schave, thanks for your remarks. I appreciate your participation on this testosterone-heavy forum and your insights and perspectives as a genuinely faithful confessional Lutheran deaconess. God bless to you and your husband.

Thank you.  I really am a big softie despite how I come across on here.  My feelings have been hurt since yesterday on this thread because I hate to think I've in any way belittled anyone or their call to ministry.  I have strong opinions like many others do and don't always hesitate to share them.   ;) 

I do look forward to meeting many of you in person in the future so we can get past our cyber-personas and come to appreciate the many and varied gifts God has graciously bestowed on each one of us that are much better presented face-to-face rather than monitor-to-monitor.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Lurker on December 05, 2010, 08:34:02 PM
Can I inject into this thread with a question about Pastor Compensation that's been on my mind recently?  Just curious as to how the Pastor's feel about this as I am rather torn between what is legal to do but not necessarily ethical to do.

Most Pastor's these days get a "Housing Allowance" - esp. those not living in a parsonage, since the trend now a days is to own a house and gain equity, in planning toward those retirement years when Pastors living in parsonages found themselves suddenly without a home having not acquired equity in ownership through the years.

So the question is this --- if I can phrase it correctly - say you get a housing allowance of ... oh say $25,000/yr.  You have a $145,000 mortgage on your home.  I know it's legal to take out a second mortgage and most of us do at one time or another.  Or refinance the loan so as to get a better interest rate.  But what about the Pastor that constantly refinances - as every year or 2 -- thereby filtering that $25,000/yr back into their pocket by rolling in credit card debt, car loans etc into the new refi??  Laundering the 'housing allowance' so to speak, through the bank back into your pocket.  Never decreasing the original loan on the house and continuing to take money from the church for a designated purpose.  Is this ethical for a Pastor to do?  I mean, after 10 yrs., the Pastor should have had the house paid for and remodeled reducing the need for such a large housing allowance and possibly allowing other staff to have raises, etc.  Of course, in the real world....  I mean for that matter, a Pastor can apply that housing allowance to his mortgage and have the thing almost paid for then refi at the full value and take that money into his personal account.  Somehow in my mind, it's unethical for a Pastor to use that $$ for anything other than what the congregation gave it to him to use it for.  And my thinking could be wrong which is why I ask.

Wondering if this is the norm or a stretch....
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 05, 2010, 08:58:15 PM
So the question is this --- if I can phrase it correctly - say you get a housing allowance of ... oh say $25,000/yr.  You have a $145,000 mortgage on your home.  I know it's legal to take out a second mortgage and most of us do at one time or another.  Or refinance the loan so as to get a better interest rate.  But what about the Pastor that constantly refinances - as every year or 2 -- thereby filtering that $25,000/yr back into their pocket by rolling in credit card debt, car loans etc into the new refi??  Laundering the 'housing allowance' so to speak, through the bank back into your pocket.


The housing allowance is defined by tax law as the "fair rental value" of the home, not purchase value.  The allowance also includes maintaining, furnishing, and other incidentals of the home (whether it be rented, owned, or even a parsonage).  A pastor who is refinancing every year or two has either a very, very friendly loan officer or one who is rich in mortgage fees.  The pastor is "laundering the housing allowance" no more than someone else would be for the same sort of things "laundering the mortgage deduction."

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 05, 2010, 09:34:50 PM
A couple of thoughts.

Anything that a pastor does concerning the financing of his home must also be in accord with all applicable IRS regulations.  A housing allowance is not subject to Federal Income Tax so long as it is actually used for housing.  This is theprimary reason for designating a housing allowance.

The housing allowance (or provided parsonage) is not on top of the salary but is part of the salary.  In my LCMS district (Central Illinois) the district annually issues compensation guidllines. According to the guidlines, a congregation that provides a parsonage deducts a certain amount, roughly equal to the value of the housing (what it would cost to rent a comparable house) from the total salary to arrive at the cash salary.  For a pastor who provides his own housing, he (or she if she is a called teacher) designates how much of his salary will be designated for housing.  If he does not actually use all of it to provide housing, (it is actually wise to have more designated than he actually uses) he should make adjustments later when he files with the IRS.  

I assume that similar principles apply in the ELCA.

Dan
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 05, 2010, 09:50:18 PM
I'm troubled by Clyde's comments posted which give every impression, at least to me, that he somehow believes the kind of "stop gap" measures to be the preferred methodologies for training full time servants in the Church.

Paul,

Clyde is not the only one who believes this. There are others.

I think we need to be clear, so that impressions if gotten are at least correct. Then we might judge their rightness more clearly.

I'm not comfortable with "stop gap" or "emergency" characterizations. Mostly ... we do those reasonably well, (retired/associate pastor etc.) if a bit unusually.
What I am speaking of is institutional ministry killing.

So let's set a base stage. If the church as a whole was blessed with A. Funds to provide in residence sem training for qualified young men, such that tuition and room and board was fully paid and B. Men and Seminaries meeting the needs. C. Synod/District/joint congregation missionary chaplaincy funding.
Then I, and I think most, fully agree that is the preferred response. Maybe even raise the standards. We should always be attempting to provide excellence in those we send to the field

BUT we must always "send to the field" those in whom excellence is given. Whenever the institution is unable to "send to the field," it is broken, and for those circumstances (while perhaps not many and not usual and not emergency) which are "regular and constant," will fail.

The answer is then, we must choose, to abandon these regularly occurring irregular situations, or deal with them in good order.. That is what I have seen "The Institution" in real and tangible terms, abandoning a call. I know of no circumstance I'm talking about where pleas for "send us a sem trained pastor" wasn't a constant loud plea ... ignored (via institutional and structural inertia) I have heard far too many sheep cry out, send us a pastor, only to have silence in response. (sometimes sugar coated sweet, but silence in effect.

This is a continuum. We ought not, cannot give up the excellent methods that have served the church so well. But if they do not answer calls, they are just clanging bells... at least they are to those who go unanswered. The church is not stopping gaps. We are answering calls.

Does that make sense?

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 05, 2010, 09:58:59 PM
"Lurker" I think your assumptions are based on some misunderstandings of what a "housing allowance" is. You can can google on what is involved in the "housing allowance" to get a better grasp of the details.

The same benefits are extended to military officers, by the way.


Can I inject into this thread with a question about Pastor Compensation that's been on my mind recently?  Just curious as to how the Pastor's feel about this as I am rather torn between what is legal to do but not necessarily ethical to do.

Most Pastor's these days get a "Housing Allowance" - esp. those not living in a parsonage, since the trend now a days is to own a house and gain equity, in planning toward those retirement years when Pastors living in parsonages found themselves suddenly without a home having not acquired equity in ownership through the years.

So the question is this --- if I can phrase it correctly - say you get a housing allowance of ... oh say $25,000/yr.  You have a $145,000 mortgage on your home.  I know it's legal to take out a second mortgage and most of us do at one time or another.  Or refinance the loan so as to get a better interest rate.  But what about the Pastor that constantly refinances - as every year or 2 -- thereby filtering that $25,000/yr back into their pocket by rolling in credit card debt, car loans etc into the new refi??  Laundering the 'housing allowance' so to speak, through the bank back into your pocket.  Never decreasing the original loan on the house and continuing to take money from the church for a designated purpose.  Is this ethical for a Pastor to do?  I mean, after 10 yrs., the Pastor should have had the house paid for and remodeled reducing the need for such a large housing allowance and possibly allowing other staff to have raises, etc.  Of course, in the real world....  I mean for that matter, a Pastor can apply that housing allowance to his mortgage and have the thing almost paid for then refi at the full value and take that money into his personal account.  Somehow in my mind, it's unethical for a Pastor to use that $$ for anything other than what the congregation gave it to him to use it for.  And my thinking could be wrong which is why I ask.

Wondering if this is the norm or a stretch....

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 05, 2010, 10:03:42 PM
We ought not, cannot give up the excellent methods that have served the church so well. But if they do not answer calls, they are just clanging bells... at least they are to those who go unanswered. The church is not stopping gaps. We are answering calls.

But the solution is not by providing to the Church men who are not as well trained as our resident seminary students, and that is the situation we have now on our hands. It is a "stop gap" and should be regarded as an exception, nor a rule.

The question is: do we as a Church have the will to maintain the most well trained ministerium as possible, or are we willing to succumb to what if often crass pragmatism and accept something less than the best.

This is NOT a matter of the good intentions, sincerity and hard work of those who have been trained as lay ministers, or otherwise. I do not question any of that.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dave Benke on December 05, 2010, 10:12:58 PM
I think Lurker has a valid question, but I also think the answer is less than totally clear to me - I'll check with some of those who know more than I.  The allowance is given to the pastor for the sake of housing.  The pastor, in order to declare it as a housing allowance and not as regular income, has to demonstrate that he/she is spending that amount on housing.  This applies as well if it's not an additional amount of money, but a percentage of compensation (i.e. 50% of say $80000 which the worker declares as housing).  This applies as well if the say $25000 that is given by the parish as "housing allowance" is not the full extent of the pastor's housing bills; in those cases, he can declare whatever portion of his income he can prove to the IRS.  But the parish is to approve the total that he/she is to receive per year - which can be their "cash" allowance plus additional money to make up whatever is actually spent on housing.  The IRS has a right to discover whether this amount is indeed spent on housing.  Now the unclear part.  Is refinancing that amount wrong?  I don't see why it would be per se in the eyes of the IRS.  If refinancing is a legitimate expense against housing, that is.  Paying off credit card debt or buying a new boat doesn't seem to me to be conneced directly to housing (unless it's a houseboat?) So I'll check that.  As far as I can tell, what remains constant is that the pastor must pay off that mortgage somehow along the way.  He still in the case mentioned is carrying the $145000 mortgage.  I'm going to check this, though.  What is not desirable is to involve the congregation in something that is not permitted.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: kls on December 05, 2010, 10:13:25 PM
"Lurker" I think your assumptions are based on some misunderstandings of what a "housing allowance" is. You can can google on what is involved in the "housing allowance" to get a better grasp of the details.

Here are a couple of links which may be of help as far as the definition and tax treatment of the housing allowance goes (if a review of each would be in order).  I won't speak to the ethics of the situation you're describing (especially because you requested that the pastors respond), but it certainly doesn't sound like a healthy situation for a pastor or his family to place themselves in financially.

LCMS Congregational Treasurer's Manual - Section on Housing Allowance (http://www.lcms.org/ca/www/ctm/media/10%20CTM%2002.pdf)
IRS Guidelines (http://www.irs.gov/publications/p517/ar02.html#en_US_publink100033602) (Section labeled Income Items midway down the list)
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 05, 2010, 10:39:00 PM
We ought not, cannot give up the excellent methods that have served the church so well. But if they do not answer calls, they are just clanging bells... at least they are to those who go unanswered. The church is not stopping gaps. We are answering calls.

But the solution is not by providing to the Church men who are not as well trained as our resident seminary students, and that is the situation we have now on our hands. It is a "stop gap" and should be regarded as an exception, nor a rule.

The question is: do we as a Church have the will to maintain the most well trained ministerium as possible, or are we willing to succumb to what if often crass pragmatism and accept something less than the best. ...

I will agree at the high level that the question is whether the church has the will. But that is like the terrible stewardship sermon I hear sometimes, "God has all the money we need for this, the problem is that it is in our pockets." But there are real tangible examples of which I speak. I'll pick one of our "failures" over the last 15 years.(since examples of success , have apparently grown tiresome and have meant nothing :) )

West of Colorado Springs is an LCMS church. They have considered all points west a part of their "call area," and indeed many people drive from 45 or more miles west to come there. The next nearest LCMS church to the west is 75 miles, and 1 hour 30 minutes in good weather, away. A large animal vet served the same area, and was an elder at the church. He knew all the ranchers and hermits in that area.

For over a decade the congregation and the last three pastors have tried to create preaching stations in Cripple Creek, and other small (500 population type) towns in this area. All manner of efforts have been tried and failed (elder led bible study, giving rides into the main church etc.) The bottom line is it is a 99% pagan area that has been difficult to get intio. When the LCMS congregation basically gave up, a retired ELCA pastor (ordained, sem trained etc) tried to keep a congegation going out of Cripple Creek. That lasted about 2 years. He has given up and now just attends the LCMS church that gave up. That ministry is dead. The people there are "dead." It is a ministry needing a response. But that ministry has been "institutionally killed." We don't do Cripple Creek, CO. Satan lives there, it's too scary. Situations like that will always be with us.

It will likely never be able to pay a pastor. Some sort of circuit rider solution seems right, but the commitment to the call (of a few faithful in that area) is needed for any answer.

I've been asking for 20 years, but will gladly ask again. What is your answer, and when will you have the ordained sem trained pastor there, so I can tell the people, you care ..... because frankly Pr. McCain, and Chaplain Gard ... they don't believe you care, and my sincere efforts, appeals that you do, meet angry laughs , "yeah right! let me know when I can see that."

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Weedon on December 05, 2010, 10:45:41 PM
Clarification on the housing matter:  it is not just pastors.  In the LCMS it is any "Minister of Religion" which may be "commissioned" or "ordained" - hence, deaconesses, teachers, DCE's etc. also benefit from this.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: ptmccain on December 05, 2010, 10:59:34 PM
TV, I can understand how you feel, for I'm feeling at this point you don't really care to maintain the high standards of pastoral training. It seems all I hear from your viewpoint is a scoffing laugh, "Yea, right" when we try to talk about maintaining the very finest trained pastors and comments from you that, in my view, denigrate seminary trained pastors.

The error our Synod made was in permitting there to be the training of "lay ministers" from there we have been going wrong since, with some modest improvements, but still not the solutions we need to avoid violating AC XIV.

I feel the problem is not at the seminaries, but in the hearts and wills of those unwilling to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to provide adequately for the very best trained pastors possible. Our church body does not even provide even a modest percentage of the cost of operating our two fine seminaries, but only a tiny fraction.

Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 05, 2010, 11:21:15 PM
TV, I can understand how you feel, for I'm feeling at this point you don't really care to maintain the high standards of pastoral training. It seems all I hear from your viewpoint is a scoffing laugh, "Yea, right" when we try to talk about maintaining the very finest trained pastors and comments from you that, in my view, denigrate seminary trained peeastors.

I apologize that I cannot communicate well, because I am definitely NOT scoffing at the high standards. I am saying there are people  there this Sunday, that do not have a pastor. We need to provide the highest standards possible for the pastor that WE ACTUALLY SEND there assuming that we as a church ever do. :( Secondly if you see it as a short term stop gap help for them this Sunday, and have a plan, I am on board with you all the way.... Just tell me what your plan is that will actually work, and you can throw in the miracles of God as an element,

Quote
...
I feel the problem is ...  in the hearts and wills of those unwilling to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to provide adequately for the very best trained pastors possible. Our church body does not even provide even a modest percentage of the cost of operating our two fine seminaries.

Yes and the people you condemn are the ones who are sending support to the cost of operating your seminaries .... sigh...
As to the rest - yes "God has all the money we need for the new building project in your pockets!" and if you preach stewardship that way we have a different view of stewardship. ... and I'm getting a freely given, unsolicited 22% pay riaise from a turnip in a recession, with my focus this year ...  ;D

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 05, 2010, 11:48:23 PM
Actually, I let you suck me into more than simply giving facts that apply. Forget it Its not my problem any more.  Thank you and the sems for the blessings you gave me. The facts are LCMS has at least three high quality servants of God, that can be applied to the situation above. One of them is CPE, Hospital certified as a Chaplain, who would be overqualified to jump into the drug addicted CC environment. (PS He has taken Greek and is taking Hebrew *sigh*) They are teaching Sunday School classes , and watching the Broncos lose, obediently waiting for Synod guidance. You may want to ponder what you want to do with them. I'm simply telling you about one option. It is my angst for them and the sheep calling out that let me get off track.

Meanwhile, I know the circumstances and perhaps God will provide an AALC answer to the specific case. God will take care of it, I am only trying to let you know what is real on the ground.

TV
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: pr dtp on December 06, 2010, 02:12:31 AM
TV, I can understand how you feel, for I'm feeling at this point you don't really care to maintain the high standards of pastoral training. It seems all I hear from your viewpoint is a scoffing laugh, "Yea, right" when we try to talk about maintaining the very finest trained pastors and comments from you that, in my view, denigrate seminary trained pastors.

The error our Synod made was in permitting there to be the training of "lay ministers" from there we have been going wrong since, with some modest improvements, but still not the solutions we need to avoid violating AC XIV.

I feel the problem is not at the seminaries, but in the hearts and wills of those unwilling to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to provide adequately for the very best trained pastors possible. Our church body does not even provide even a modest percentage of the cost of operating our two fine seminaries, but only a tiny fraction.



When you mention, "our church body" I assume you are forgetting all the churches and church members that do give.  The synod is not just the corporations, it's the people in the churches.  And I bet that all the members of the churches, and the churches themselves provide a substantial amount of the cost of operating the seminaries.

 
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 06, 2010, 04:59:21 AM
Sounds like Pastor Awtry's denomination will send into those areas whatever kind of pastors his denomination thinks are appropriate, and that for him it doesn't matter much how the rest of us educate and ordain our pastors. In a way, it's another mission field for him, places where we in the LCMS and ELCA are not present because we have certain concerns about who gets on our clergy rosters.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on December 06, 2010, 11:12:18 AM
Sounds like Pastor Awtry's denomination will send into those areas whatever kind of pastors his denomination thinks are appropriate, and that for him it doesn't matter much how the rest of us educate and ordain our pastors. In a way, it's another mission field for him, places where we in the LCMS and ELCA are not present because we have certain concerns about who gets on our clergy rosters.

Obviously that is NOT true on a couple levels. Nice Snark though.

First my engagement here is encouragement to LCMS to consider how they might be faithful in response, because I was engaged in that conversation at every level for a decade. Secondly, I even work with the retired ELCA Pastor, asking him what I might be able to do in helping his AA work in that place, etc. I talk with the LCMS Pastor and Deacon, seeking to encourage them as to things that have been tried etc. As to the last The AALC has as its main track MDiv at CTS Fort Wayne just like LCMS. We don't have 10,000 pastors and are no threat to take over the world, but it is true that we answer people's phone calls and seek to find answers to help them, even on some occassions pointing them to an LCMS or traditional ELCA trained MDiv Pastor(w/ 3 ALTS class requirement). We just try and respond to the call of His church.

I have found the standards for the normal main tracks here every bit as high as LCMS with current pastors and training, assuming the CTS FW Profs like Chaplain Gard are teaching them the same. (Higher if you consider that ALTS MDiv pastors still have a three year post ordination mentoring requirement, and the alternate MTS route "requires" Greek prerequisite, w/ 28 vice 16 classes)

TV

PS. Charles I also work with two ELCA Diaconate Ministers, and am well aware of the distance ed programs like Gettysburg, in one case taking DELTO side by side, and comparing the "certain concerns" ELCA has and its level of response. I can do course by course comparisons, with feedback if you like. You sure you want to stand on that high ground "sand" pile?
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: edoughty on December 08, 2010, 10:00:28 AM
One of the discussions I've run across is that of "preparing to be bi-vocational".  The old term for it, I suppose, is "tent-making pastor".  Several pastors have chimed in that the day of the full-time pastor for every congregation is fading fast (if, indeed, it ever was truly the norm); and pastors should have a "Plan B" way to pay the bills (or at least, pay *some* bills).

This seems practical to me, but I hope that-- if this is how it will be -- we can do some preparing for it in seminary.  I have not heard much talk of this concept in my classes, though we have heard how things are difficult out there now. 

If one goes into a tent-making sort of situation, how does one manage congregational expectations along with other-job expectations?  Does one take a low-paying but easy-to-set-aside-at-short-notice job, or does one take a higher-paying-but-more-engrossing job in order to ease the financial burden on oneself and one's congregation?

Hm.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Jay on December 08, 2010, 10:16:56 AM
One of the discussions I've run across is that of "preparing to be bi-vocational".  The old term for it, I suppose, is "tent-making pastor".  Several pastors have chimed in that the day of the full-time pastor for every congregation is fading fast (if, indeed, it ever was truly the norm); and pastors should have a "Plan B" way to pay the bills (or at least, pay *some* bills).

This seems practical to me, but I hope that-- if this is how it will be -- we can do some preparing for it in seminary.  I have not heard much talk of this concept in my classes, though we have heard how things are difficult out there now. 

If one goes into a tent-making sort of situation, how does one manage congregational expectations along with other-job expectations?  Does one take a low-paying but easy-to-set-aside-at-short-notice job, or does one take a higher-paying-but-more-engrossing job in order to ease the financial burden on oneself and one's congregation?

Hm.

Apparently the concept of a bivocational pastor is  still unusual enough to make the news:


http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/article_b905f460-18d0-5753-9301-c87a58a87d4b.html

http://www.kcautv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13620774
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 08, 2010, 12:27:10 PM
One concern that I have, especially after a few of the comments on this thread, is some people, especially some people in the pews, look on pastoral salary as a kind of charity that is given to pastors so that they can sort of get by, but that it is charity, nothing that they have a right to expect or something owed them.  They, after all, are in it for the love of the Lord, the church and the parishoners, so they should not be concerned about how much they are paid.

First of all, pastors are not exempt from the same sorts of bills that everybody else has.  Especially if the congregation expects their pastor to devote full time effort to being pastor, and to be available to them full time, they need to provide their pastor a living.  I recall a congregation that was horrified to discover that their pastor had applied for food stamps.  They wanted their circuit or district officials to tell him not to.  They were not happy when the reply was the suggestion to simply pay him enough that he no longer qualified.

Second, pastors (and other church workers) earn the money they are paid.  Typically they are paid less, maybe much less than employment with comparable qualifications and responsibilities in the private sector.  Few ordinary parish pastors are overpaid - at least not in our circles.

Third, the Bible does not make it a major point, but if you look, pastor pay is a topic in several places, and no where does it say that pastors do not deserve to earn a living at what they do. 

Somehow, churches need to understand that paying their pastor (and other church workers) is not a nice act of charity on their part but an obligation.

Dan
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 08, 2010, 01:49:34 PM
One concern that I have, especially after a few of the comments on this thread, is some people, especially some people in the pews, look on pastoral salary as a kind of charity that is given to pastors so that they can sort of get by, but that it is charity, nothing that they have a right to expect or something owed them.  They, after all, are in it for the love of the Lord, the church and the parishoners, so they should not be concerned about how much they are paid.

First of all, pastors are not exempt from the same sorts of bills that everybody else has.  Especially if the congregation expects their pastor to devote full time effort to being pastor, and to be available to them full time, they need to provide their pastor a living.  I recall a congregation that was horrified to discover that their pastor had applied for food stamps.  They wanted their circuit or district officials to tell him not to.  They were not happy when the reply was the suggestion to simply pay him enough that he no longer qualified.

Second, pastors (and other church workers) earn the money they are paid.  Typically they are paid less, maybe much less than employment with comparable qualifications and responsibilities in the private sector.  Few ordinary parish pastors are overpaid - at least not in our circles.

Third, the Bible does not make it a major point, but if you look, pastor pay is a topic in several places, and no where does it say that pastors do not deserve to earn a living at what they do. 

Somehow, churches need to understand that paying their pastor (and other church workers) is not a nice act of charity on their part but an obligation.

Another issue can be that the long-time members of the congregation (which can be nearly everyone) have no concept of what it costs to buy a house today. They remember their mortgages of a couple hundred dollars, and can't understand why a pastor needs $20,000 or $30,000 or something else for a housing allowance.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 08, 2010, 01:52:16 PM
And then, as noted before, do not understand housing allowance as part of, not in addition to salary.  So they might look at how cheaply their pastor and his family could be housed.

Dan
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Charles_Austin on December 08, 2010, 01:56:57 PM
One might hope that the idea of keeping the pastor "humble" or believing that he or she need not be paid a professional salary because they are "serving the Lord" would be passing from existence. But I fear it is not.
But, friends, we are going to have to do it ourselves, toot our own trumpets, stand up for our own professional integrity and personal needs.
Don't be afraid to ask to be paid synod guidelines or more. Be honest about housing and living costs. Be ready to cite comparable salaries for other professionals in your area.  And don't forget to require the proper amounts for continuing education and car allowance.
Be ready to risk the call on the salary question, for it you cave on it there, it is almost certain you will be run over later.
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: PastorChick on December 08, 2010, 02:05:27 PM
One might hope that the idea of keeping the pastor "humble" or believing that he or she need not be paid a professional salary because they are "serving the Lord" would be passing from existence. But I fear it is not.
But, friends, we are going to have to do it ourselves, toot our own trumpets, stand up for our own professional integrity and personal needs.
Don't be afraid to ask to be paid synod guidelines or more. Be honest about housing and living costs. Be ready to cite comparable salaries for other professionals in your area.  And don't forget to require the proper amounts for continuing education and car allowance.
Be ready to risk the call on the salary question, for it you cave on it there, it is almost certain you will be run over later.


Along with that, I have a message for the guy (whose wife usually has a good paying job) who gets up at EVERY synod assembly (and there seems to be one in every synod) and says "These synod guidelines are too high.  I told my council not to give me a raise.  I don't need the money!"   -- Dear Pastor:  I am a single widowed mother with two children in college.  I need synod guidelines thank you very much (which I have NEVER ever received)   If you are so blessed, instead of talking your council into cutting your salary so they can all see what a generous sacrificing wonderful pastor you are while screwing the next pastor to come along -- why don't you shut up and take your salary and then quietly GIVE BACK to the church what you don't need.  In the offering plate.  Where you left hand doesn't know what your right hand is doing.

Joelle
Title: Re: Pastor compensation
Post by: Pilgrim on December 08, 2010, 02:43:42 PM
Along with that, I have a message for the guy (whose wife usually has a good paying job) who gets up at EVERY synod assembly (and there seems to be one in every synod) and says "These synod guidelines are too high.  I told my council not to give me a raise.  I don't need the money!"   -- Dear Pastor:  I am a single widowed mother with two children in college.  I need synod guidelines thank you very much (which I have NEVER ever received)   If you are so blessed, instead of talking your council into cutting your salary so they can all see what a generous sacrificing wonderful pastor you are while screwing the next pastor to come along -- why don't you shut up and take your salary and then quietly GIVE BACK to the church what you don't need.  In the offering plate.  Where you left hand doesn't know what your right hand is doing.

Joelle

Amen! Preach it! Amen!  ;D