Do you employ a full-time leader?




We found your site by accident during a Google search on Edom. We are non-denominational believers based in Indiana. We were pleased to note an emphasis on the spiritual and an avoidance of worldliness in your assembly. We feel called to fellowship with other believers, but we find that very few organizations today manage to avoid a worldly constitution of employing (i.e. by financial contribution of those who attend the orgainization) full-time ministers, who minister as a living, for pay. We therefore have one question; do you employ a full-time leader (e.g. someone called a pastor, minister, or similar) on a salaried basis?

"My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel" (1 Corinthians 9:3-14).

I guess I could in turn ask you a similar question: Why would I reject the commandment of the Lord?

Paul illustrated in his own life that the source of those funds do not necessarily have to come from the local congregation. He humorously referred to his accepting wages from other churches as robbery. "I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself" (II Corinthians 11:8-9). It was "robbery" because the ones truly responsible for the support of the preacher is the local congregation. Paul chose to not ask the Corinthians to support him while he was in Corinth, not because he had no right, but because he didn't want to burden a struggling new work. It was a practice that he kept in most places where he worked. In Thessalonica Paul had to take up making tents for a period of time (I Thessalonians 2:9), but in his letter to Philippi, Paul mentions that the brethren there supported him while he was in Thessalonica. "Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities" (Philippians 4:15-16). Paul reminded the Thessalonians, "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us" (II Thessalonians 3:7-9). Again, Paul notes his right to ask for wages from a local congregation, though he chose not to exercise that right.

The events in Corinth are recorded in Acts, "After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks" (Acts 18:1-4). What is often overlooked is that his tent making was temporary. When men came from Macedonia, we read, "But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ" (Acts 18:5). As Paul mentioned in his letters, when these men came they brought support from other churches which then freed Paul up so that he could completely devote himself to preaching the gospel.

Not only do preachers have the right to draw a wage from the local congregation in support of their efforts to teach the gospel, Paul also said that elders of the congregation have the same right. "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer is worthy of his wages."" (I Timothy 5:17-18).

So, in answer to your question, the local congregation currently supplies about two-thirds of my support as both a preacher and an elder in the congregation. Three other congregation have been kind enough to supply my remaining needs.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Preachers