Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An Interesting Perspective.

Yesterday Julie called me and asked if I could help an acquaintance of ours who was wondering about some scripture references. Julie gave me some background on the whole thing and said that there was a scripture in John that our acquaintance's husband was using to defend a particular position he held on pastoral compensation...

I know what you're thinking. "Uh-oh."

Yes. I was too.


Our acquaintance's husband may or may not be a King James-only, 1611 straight-from-heaven-if-it's-good-enough-for-paul-and-peter-and-Jesus-it's-good-enough-for-me kind of guy. I'm honestly not sure. But I have a good idea.

Because this is the verse he was using to defend his position (I'll get to that in a minute...):
John 10:10-14 ( I gave you a little extra just because...)

10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.


You may pass out when I tell you this, but the man's position was that because "the hireling" runs away, then churches should not pay pastors, but rather take up goodwill offerings, and the pastors should have another vocation(!).

OY VEY.

where to begin?

The obvious: he may be reading a little too much into the "hireling" thing...

Here's where I started with his wife (my acquaintance) who informed me that he is not interested in going to church and has begun to tell her (as her church is looking for a new pastor) why they should not pay one.


I was gentle, I promise.


What are the qualifications for church leaders?

I Timothy 3:1-10
1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.



I wish one well who desires for their church leadership to have a family that lives above reproach if they don't pay their pastor enough to support that family.

Guess what?

That means the pastor has to work three times as hard: for his vocation, for his call to ministry, and for his family. Instead of eliminating some of the burdens on pastors, this ideology adds more burdens, ensuring that these men of God have to struggle to get visitations/sermons/administrative work done in the evenings, missing out on family time and time with God for themselves. Taking that verse completely out of context to support a prideful and rather silly opinion is dangerous and sinful.


I have a dog in this fight.

It's not about Seth, either. Praise God that he is full-time and our community of faith takes good care of him. It has to do with all of my friends in ministry that struggle to balance all the hats of relationships with God, marriages, children, full-time vocations, and full-time pastorates. We should be honoring these men and women that step into an anointing that forces them to be held to a higher standard, not asking them to do more with less.

Maybe he thinks it's "good stewardship." This is what a North Carolina pastor named Steven Furtick (www.stevenfurtick.com He is legit!) had to say about stewardship:

"Of course, we need to operate with sound wisdom, and not every good idea is a God idea.But the point stands: the best steward award in Jesus’ parable went to the man who risked the most…not the man who played it safe in the name of “good stewardship”.
Is it possible that in the name of good stewardship, some churches never get out into the realm of faith, putting themselves in a position where God has to come through? [emphasis mine]
Is it possible that the churches to be commended as the 'best stewards' aren’t the ones sitting around with a 57 year old trust fund earning interest that eliminates any need for God’s help? Or the churches who refuse to spend money to enter the modern age and do ministry with excellence because 'it’s not good stewardship'?
Good stewardship requires wise decision making, to be sure. And there’s a fine line between faith and foolishness. But good stewardship also requires aggressive risk taking.
God’s people should never veto God’s will in the name of good stewardship."



If we are good stewards of God's resources, we can take care of the leadership God puts in place. It's that simple.

2 comments:

Christy Farhar said...

Amen Sista Lauren!!

BeckyB. said...

PREACH it!

[but don't expect a pay check]

lol... well spoken.