Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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The Pastor's Salary

  • Jim Townsley
  • Mar 15, 2018
One of the many blessings in the ministry is getting paid to serve the Lord. Historically, in colonial America most of the Baptist preachers received no salary while often pastoring more than one church. Usually these men were farmers and their support came from the farm with the help of their spouse and children. Today most preachers expect to get paid for their service and most do get paid for it. When I initially began preaching and received a love offering for doing so I was shocked that I was given a love offering. I would have been willing to pay someone else for the opportunity to preach the gospel; I did not expect to get paid for preaching.
In today’s world it is a privilege that most pastors and missionaries receive a salary for doing the thing they love most, preaching the gospel. The support of the pastor is a biblical thing and a good thing. A  lack of financial support would greatly lessen the effectiveness of the church. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. -- 1 Timothy 5:17. Also Scripture states,  For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?  -- 1Corinthians 9:9.  While there are many benefits for a church supporting their pastor perhaps the greatest benefit is that the preacher can give his attention full time to the building of the church. Pastoring a church is a full time calling and financial support will allow the preacher to be the most effective by being able to spend most of his day visiting, teaching and studying.           
If a church is able to support the pastor how much should he receive and who should determine how much it should be? When a church is first established the pastor or the reproducing pastor should develop a temporary budget which may include a salary for the new pastor. Often in today’s world a church planter will have financial support and the pastor’s salary will be based upon it. If there is no support it will probably mean that the pastor will have to work a job for his income. When the pastor’s salary comes from his employment the transition to receiving his income from the church is always difficult. People tend to become accustomed to the status quo and it may be difficult for them to understand the importance of getting the pastor to become full time.
If there are no deacons or trustees in the church it is important to meet with the key leaders to keep them informed of the need for supporting the pastor. Leading the church to give to you can be a sticky proposition but someone must do it. Bringing someone in from the outside either for counsel or as a special speaker would provide the opportunity to stress the importance of the church supporting the pastor. Holding a yearly stewardship conference would provide an excellent opportunity to challenge the people about their giving. The people must be taught their responsibility concerning giving and they must see the benefits of their giving toward this need.
Though the church is responsible for the financial care of the pastor it is important that the pastor not be guilty of being greedy or even being perceived as greedy. Every pastor that follows the call of God to a particular place should be willing to do whatever is necessary to continue to serve to the best of his ability whether he receives a salary, a partial salary or nothing at all.
Therefore the responsibility falls upon the church to support the pastor and it is the pastor’s responsibility to accept whatever the church provides. But what is a fair wage for a pastor? How much should a pastor receive and what is an appropriate amount? If the church is stable and capable it should provide a salary similar to the average person in the congregation. As the tenure of the pastor increases his salary should increase along with it. Teaching key men in the church to prayerfully lead the church in this matter is crucial. Most pastors do not want to seem greedy therefore they may say nothing about their salary. Training the leaders of the church to care for the needs of the pastor is a biblical approach that should begin in the early stages of the church. 
The balance of supporting the pastor can be expressed through two verses. . . .  For the labourer is worthy of his hire. -- Luke 10:7. And  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; -- 1 Peter 5:2   Our God is able to bless us abundantly above what we could ask or think! Where God guides He provides.