Should we Pay a Pastor?

Many will know that the past two years have been a difficult time, juggling the competing demands of secular employment and the work here at the chapel. After much prayerful consideration, I reduced my hours at work so I can do other things, chiefly, but not exclusively, for the chapel. The church also kindly agreed to supplement my pay to help make up some of the loss. Today is my first day ‘off’, and it feels great. I won’t make a habit of recounting my daily itineraries, but today I have:

Prepared Sunday’s sermon

Eaten a breakfast (a luxury)

Prepared Thursday’s Bible Study

Spent time in prayer

Booked a training course with the Congregational Federation

Attempted to buy a license to screen a film at the chapel

Written to some church folk I’ve not seen for a while

This afternoon, I shall visit someone in hospital, attend a meeting of the Church Trustees, another couple of pastoral visits, and then on to the prayer meeting.

After several years of full-time ‘tent-making’, I can really see the benefits of having more time. Unfortunately, I’ve seen well-paid pastors reaping handsome rewards for their ‘labour’ and I know one other who cancelled a mid-week meeting because he’d had ‘a very tiring day’, much to the annoyance of his members who had also been working hard. I think I have hitherto reacted too strongly against this. Nevertheless, I have considered the pros and cons of paying a pastor.


Paid Ministry (Pros):

The pastor is available during the day. I’ve sometimes visited people at 9pm for want of time.

Work is less rushed; sermons are better prepared and less ‘last minute’.

More can be done; spare capacity in his day can be used and developed.

The pastor is less tired and might actually have a day off, rather than honouring his church commitments on the day off. He is less likely to burn out.


Paid Ministry (Cons)

The pastor may lose touch with the ‘real world’ and the demands of the workplace.

The financial burden on the church is not easy.

Malcontents in a congregation may receive great pleasure from withholding their offerings when the pastor stands up to them.

The pastor may take an unhealthy interest in the church finances; the church may be viewed as a small business with balance sheets replacing bibles and growth targets in place of evangelism.


I trust my combination of secular and church work will provide many of the pros while mitigating the cons.