I have travelled the globe and seen pastors struggle to provide for their families. I helped a Pastor and his family in India who were contemplating a family suicide because conditions were so bad. Why are leaders of churches around the world not being fully paid for their positions? Is being paid as a pastor even a biblical truth or an American Christian truth?
I want to help answer some of these questions for those of you that are struggling around the world. American Christianity does put off the persona that if you are not a full time minister and getting a paycheck from the church then you are not truly a minister nor do you have the faith in God to provide for you. Let me squash this false doctrine. It is not a biblical one.
When Jesus sent out the Disciples, he did tell them that God would provide for their needs and not to worry about anything.
Sending Out the Twelve
Here is the question. Was Jesus sending the disciples out on a full time ministry trip or a short term mission trip? He sent them out on a short term missions trip. He changed his command to them before He was about to die and ascend to heaven. He was releasing them into full time ministry ( Man made word not biblical one) and he told them something different. READ BELOW
Supplies for the Road
Honor the Elders
Paul was forever fighting at his place at the apostolic round table. The oringinal apostles were, at some point, being supported financially by the church. Scripture is unclear on how long this support took place and how much support was given.
1 Corinthians 9:1-18 GWDon’t you agree that I’m a free man? Don’t you agree that I’m an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord? Aren’t you the result of my work for the Lord? If I’m not an apostle to other people, at least I’m an apostle to you. You are the seal which proves that I am the Lord’s apostle. This is how I defend myself to those who cross-examine me. Don’t we have the right to eat and drink? Don’t we have the right to take our wives along with us like the other apostles, the Lord’s brothers, and Cephas do? Or is it only Barnabas and I who don’t have any rights, except to find work to support ourselves? Does a soldier ever serve in the army at his own expense? Does anyone plant a vineyard and not eat the grapes? Does anyone take care of a flock and not drink milk from the sheep? Am I merely stating some human rule? Don’t Moses’ Teachings say the same thing? Moses’ Teachings say, “Never muzzle an ox when it is threshing grain.” God’s concern isn’t for oxen. Isn’t he speaking entirely for our benefit? This was written for our benefit so that the person who plows or threshes should expect to receive a share of the crop. If we have planted the spiritual seed that has been of benefit to you, is it too much if we receive part of the harvest from your earthly goods? If others have the right to expect this from you, don’t we deserve even more? But we haven’t used our rights. Instead, we would put up with anything in order not to hinder the Good News of Christ in any way. Don’t you realize that those who work at the temple get their food from the temple? Don’t those who help at the altar get a share of what is on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who spread the Good News should earn their living from the Good News. I haven’t used any of these rights, and I haven’t written this in order to use them now. I would rather die than have anyone turn my bragging into meaningless words. If I spread the Good News, I have nothing to brag about because I have an obligation to do this. How horrible it will be for me if I don’t spread the Good News! If I spread the Good News willingly, I’ll have a reward. But if I spread the Good News unwillingly, I’m ⌊only⌋ doing what I’ve been entrusted to do. So what is my reward? It is to spread the Good News free of charge. In that way I won’t use the rights that belong to those who spread the Good News.
Paul often preached to the Corinthians about their sparingly giving. Paul was making a clear point and probably out of frustration. Barnabas and Paul raised up money to go on these missionary journeys. They needed to replenish their funds so they could continue the work of the gospel. This passage of scripture does point out one truth. Those who are traveling to preach the good news need financial backing from the church. We are all called to spread the message of Christ; however, not everyone is called to be an apostle or missionary. When Paul went on his missionary travels he needed some type of income. The same is true today. There are two young men on TBN that travel the world going from one country to another. They call the show Travel the Road. The are spreading the gospel and are not dormant in one area. Their type of work would make it hard to have a secular job. The idea of spreading the gospel is a reference to a farmer spreading the seed out across the land. The whole land is being covered and the farmer is not standing in one place. Paul did make a point to say that he would spread the gospel no matter what. The spreading of the Gospel was more important than the paycheck.There are alot of considerations here. Was Paul being sarcastic about being a hired minister? Was he trying to make a point to the church of Corinth about serving the Lord without conditions. Regardless, it is clear that some ministers have the right to some funds from the church. However, scripture is clear on who would get it. 1. Elders of the faith. 2. Unrooted missionaries who travel from one village to the next or from one country to another country over a long period of time.
Truth # 4 The bible does not put more emphasis on a paid minister versus an unpaid. All are equally called.Those terms are Modern society terms.
Truth # 5 Working a secular job as a minister is not sinful or an admittance to a lack of faith.In fact, those who do both have alot of faith considering they are providing for their family and giving out personal funds for the spreading of the Gospel.
Truth # 6 The local church you are from and/or the church you are ministering to needs to support you financially on their terms and at some level. It is also considered if you fall into those two categories.
Truth # 7 A worker is worthy of his hirer not by his calling but by his length of service and demonstration of servanthood to God's people. In other words, new christians and young Christians should get a secular job for several seasons until they have proven themselves to the work of Christ.( Get a job!)
Truth # 8 Only certain types of callings need to be supported financially. Elders to the church and missionaries who are traveling consistently. Everyone else should not find it beneath them to get a job.
Truth # 9 Some areas have the economic strength to support ministers financially and some do not. Paul knew the church of Corinth was better off financially than the church at Philippi. It is the same today. It is easy for an American minister to be hired on than an Indian or Filipino minister. We have to be careful with what doctrine we preach and ensure it is only God's.
Loved ones I hope this encourages you in some way. Your faith is not less if you have to get a secular job to support your family. Nor is your calling decreased in value. You are just as important. A message to those who are young in the faith. Study to show yourselves approved. Humble yourself before the Lord and God's people. If you are fortunate to live in a country to where you can be supported on a monthly basis, then be humbled and submit yourself to wise counsel.