When it Comes to the Ministry – Money changes everything

Money change things. And so when we pastors accept money from our churches to do ministry it changes everything. This is to say the obvious. Right? More specifically, when we pastors accept money from the church:
1.) We as pastors(s) now have to worry about the income flowing into the bank account every Sunday. We have to have a responsible eye for the budget.  Which means you have to worry about people with big pockets being “happy” with your church. There is a dynamic set in place that changes what we say, how we interpret ministry, how we challenge our selves and community towards mission. Often, this dynamic stalls mission in the local church.

2.) We as pastors now come under performance review. Money changes the relationship between the pastor(s) and the rest of the congregation. There is now the inescapable reality that the pastor is being paid to provide something, some basic goods and services for Christians or maybe some growth in the bottom line for the church. The relationship between the congregation and pastors takes on the character of performance reviews. As a result, pushing the church outward where time and effort does not produce such measurables  gets thwarted. As a result, mission is stalled, even thwarted in this mindset.

3.)We as pastors begin to look at people differently – as viable “giving units.” A business mindset starts to take over the church. This dynamic undercuts and stalls mission  for obvious reasons and must be fought at all costs.

I contend however that all of the above does not mean pastors should never be paid. I even suggest there are many times when it is appropriate for pastors to be paid full time. I also contend that there must be ministry accountability within the leadership of the church. I contend however than in all this, the dynamics outlined above should be fought with all our might if we would shape communities of Christ’s people into mission.

How? I hope to offer my suggestions at the Missional Learning Commons coming this Saturday. In the meantime, what do you think? how do you handle these dynamics? Are these dynamics real in your church?  l will use any good suggestions (giving due credit of course) this Saturday!


If you are thinking of coming last minute to  the Missional Learning Commons , there’s no more children’s supervision available (I don’t think). But if you’re WOK (without kids), just come on in.  It’s a non conference, meaning no paid speakers, and it’s free (except for 10 bucks that helps pay for children’s care). Check out some of the speakers here and here There’s 9 presentations – 12 minutes each – delivered in rocket fire format. And then discussion, questions, open session. best part? hanging out with other missional leaders for a day and a half. Do you need a lift, encouragement? I invite you to join us.

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