Question:

Hello again!  First, thank you for all you do, I visit your site often and appreciate your biblical answers!  We have a few problems that we are needing some help with and thought you might have some wisdom.

Our preacher has lost sight of Matthew 6:31–34. This last year has had ups and downs (as all congregations will have, especially if in a college town as ours which heavily affects attendance when college is out) but this last one affected the offerings.  A family recently moved who were the biggest supporters and since their leaving the church is losing money, even after most members have increased their giving. Fortunately the only bills we have are utilities, basic office and paper supplies and the preacher's salary.

It is going on the third or fourth month, and he just gave his notice that he is looking for a different congregation because we will obviously not be able to keep up his salary. He is full salary. While we cannot continue at his current salary, we can offer one that would coincide with the average teacher with his years of experience. It would be far more than the average household in our area and still be average of the members and perhaps above. Yes, it would be a reduction, but if we had the funds we would reinstate. What can we do to encourage him and to not lose faith and hope in the area because of lower funds?


Answer:

Not everyone is like Paul who was so devoted to the teaching of the gospel that he was willing to work to support himself and those with him so that the gospel could continue to be taught.

"For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God" (I Thessalonians 2:9).

"Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me" (Acts 20:34).

"And we labor, working with our own hands" (I Corinthians 4:12).

It is disappointing to hear of someone who is making more than most unwilling to do extra work to get by during economic hard times. It is one thing to think you are losing your effectiveness in an area and think that another man might be beneficial. I know I've thought that a few times during my years here. But if a church is unable to support a preacher fully, then the preacher makes plans to support himself. I spent almost 18 years taking no pay for preaching, working in tiny congregations in the northeast. There were only a few years here in Nebraska that I was supported fully. Most of the time I received support from other congregations. In the recent recessions even that has dropped significantly and I have been working two part-time jobs to keep afloat. It is just what happens when a person is committed to preaching. It is nice when you can focus entirely on the work because there is enough income, but you are prepared to do what is necessary when the income is not there.

I can't help thinking that you may be better off with someone else. I tell people that preachers should expect to get paid roughly what educators in their area are paid at the same level of experience. Many preachers get paid less than that. That you are able to afford that much means you should not have too much difficulty finding a preacher to come and work with the congregation.