I have 2 posts in my head, both are completely different topics, but interestingly enough they are titled the same “To Pay or Not to Pay”.
I have read posts about this in the past, even chapters in books about this, but now it’s my issue, so I share it with you.
I have a deep down discomfort with local church pastors being paid! I know that sounds like some off the shelf crazy man statement but every time I sit and ponder the issues surrounding pastors being paid I struggle with something inside.
Every time we pay for anything we have raised expectation of that person product or experience. If I don’t pay and I don’t get, I shrug and walk away. If I pay and I don’t get I have something to say about it. Or if I get less than what I desired or expected I am disappointed and go ‘pay’ elsewhere to get a better ‘product’.
Now before you bight my head off and quote scripture at me, I am aware of people being paid for ministry services in the bible. Paul often talked about receiving gifts and offerings. Interestingly enough though, Paul never received money from the people he ministered to WHILE he was ministering to them, and Paul was not a paid local church pastor. (not sure I see many of them in the bible!)
Paul was a missionary, a church planter, in the bible sense of church planting, not our modern style of planting pastors and congregations etc. (Not making comments/judgments here, just observation).
So, let me personalize this.
I have had this idea of a community chaplain, run under the auspices of Scripture Union. It’s like a school chaplain but the boundaries are just a bit wider, suburban if you like.
The idea is like a missionary to the suburb, but the job description looks like what any Christ follower could/should do – just on steroids, that is – committing more time and under a more formal set up…rewind the conversation back to the paragraphs above… could not the same be said of a local church pastor? This role is just what any member of the church should/could do depending on gifting etc only a paid church pastor/minister just commits more of his/her time to the role.
So the ideal – we all minister together not needing to pay someone (and getting all those nasty expectation issues listed above!).
In the organised church, we keep it smaller and more personable, easily accountable and lean on one another for the sharing of gifts and resources, natural leaders will gently lead guide, facilitate, gifted carers will care, teachers will teach and so on. No need to PAY someone, no need to PAY rent, mortgage and so on. Just put money where it’s most needed.
In the community, no need to pay chaplains, just make sure there are committed missionary people in the right places. discipled in such a way (little ad there) that they know what it means to live a missional existence in their place of residence. Believing teachers in schools would be the Christ light in those places, no need for chaplains being paid, all because we are missional disciples where we are at, in schools, work places – everywhere. (my brother was a good example of this is his job at Challenge Stadium. No doubt he is still now, but we chatted lots about his role as a kind of chaplain to the staff even though he was the HR guy.
So – All too ideal hey!! Sure I admit it. In fact I am guessing that most people in ministry reading the above would say, “I agree mostly. The picture you painted is the ideal and if that happened it would be great, only it does not happen, so paid workers are needed or nothing would happen”
Maybe the reason it does not happen is BECAUSE of the paid workers. The very people we pay to make disciples, to run the church could be the very reason we never get close to the ideal.
China, and early church are examples in which we have never seen such rapid growth iinthe church and in both examples paid workers were not to be seen, at least not to the scale we see it in the west.
So, with a passion to work a day or 2 a week as a community chaplain or even for some great branch of a group like Scripture Union doing, whatever how do I justify asking people to help me raise money to get paid to do the very things I was people I am working with to do for nothing?
Wont they think, “You do it, why should I? I go to work at the school, I’m not going to reach out to my street, I pay you to do that!”
Or they might think, “Are you standing here having a beer with me, or a BBQ or helping me with my garden because you are paid or because that’s just what we do as community?”
In the mean time I have to get back to my paid ministry job 🙂 Aghh I have to eat.
I found one persons take on it on You Tube