Author Topic: Pastor compensation  (Read 7894 times)

NavyJeff

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Pastor compensation
« 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?

ptmccain

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #1 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

Mike Bennett

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #2 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
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

kls

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #3 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 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.

kls

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #4 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).

kls

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #5 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. 

Charles_Austin

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #6 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?

kls

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #7 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.

kls

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #8 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!   :)

kls

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #9 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.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #10 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 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+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

jeric

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #11 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


Steven Tibbetts

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #12 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+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
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Revbert

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #13 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.

kls

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Re: Pastor compensation
« Reply #14 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.