Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Making the Old Paradigm the New Paradigm for "Full Time" Ministry

Church leaders need to be adjusting the thinking of their leaders back to a biblical and historical way of supporting "full time" ministers.  I put "full time" in quotations because every Christian is full time in the Ephesians 4:1 sense, which is the sense in the Bible.  We've been called, that is, saved unto a new vocation.  Every Christian in that sense, the sense, is bi-vocational.  You have the office of the pastor, but that doesn't mean he isn't employed elsewhere, to earn a living.

I've told our people that our church is probably not reproducible for the age in which we live.  We have a "self-supporting" church in an urban area with an incredible overhead.  Everything is expensive.  Land is expensive.  There is a wide range within a few miles.  In Lamorinda, where we are evangelizing now, the property values average over a million dollars.

Since the above is true, we can't be thinking about pastors in the same way many, if not most, have for the last century or two.  We've got to go back to the old paradigm, where men of God are tent makers, like the Apostle Paul, and then in early American history, the doctor/pastor or farmer/pastor.

What I'm writing about here will require a change even in parenting philosophy for many.  The old paradigm here was you trained your children in character, to obtain a godly spouse, and to fulfill his role, which for the boy was earning a living.  A boy learned a trade and he had to take care of a family as a first responsibility.

The financial pressures for pastors to keep a full time pastorate often result in the compromises to doctrine and practice that I confront here.  To stay self-supporting, to keep a full time salary, pastors need a certain number of giving members and to sustain those in this country, in this cultural milieu, seems to call for easing up on doctrinal and practical precision.  Rather than getting a job, a pastor will attempt to find the sweet spot, the balance, whatever one wants to call what it takes to keep the membership intact to the degree that it can pay him.

When the young people would go off to Bible college and graduated, everyone who graduated needed to be paid either on pastoral staff, school staff, or with missionary support.  All of that money did not exist, so in a sense, it was all a house of cards, ready to fall.  Really, it was a lie.  It was never real.  The money divided very thinly. Not everyone could get paid.  Ultimately through sheer attrition, many of these had to get jobs anyway, but now they didn't have any marketable skills, no trade, no way of earning.  In this sense, the churches put the cart before the horse.

In the past, men started with having a means of earning.  That was part of being a Christian.  You took care of a family first.  The cultural mandate, subdue and have dominion, says that Christians should contribute.  Christians aren't to borrow from everyone else, sponge off the efforts that everyone else put in.  They should be the biggest contributors and in the best way.  They should show the world how life is to be lived.

I understand some of the thinking against what I'm writing about.  Your potential full time servants will start making the big money and then won't want to walk away from it.  When they are training for a job, surrounded by all those unbelievers, they could falter and go off the right path.  This reverts back to the doctrine of salvation.  If these people are really converted and grounded in scripture, they won't be stopped from accomplishing what the Bible says Christians should.

In many cases, Christian kids can't do anything in the world.  They are afraid to do anything.  The churches have made them that way.  The boys might even lack ambition, because they've never been pushed to have it.  They don't know what to do, because they don't have a skill to do it.  They've not been given any direction to be that way.  A kind of welfare mentality can even exist, where there is the assumption that someone should be able to write them a paycheck.

A man with the desire for the office of the bishop, the pastor, gets a good job and then does the work of the evangelist, trains others, and continues to evangelize an area, and maybe it never becomes self-supporting.  He can stay because he wasn't totally dependent on the church for support.  The church should support him.  Scripture teaches that, but getting fully supported is not a scriptural goal.  The goal is rightly to lead a right church.  He preaches right, practices right, and takes everyone else with him.  He and the other disciples keep preaching and working.  Maybe the church will allow for him to stop his job, but this does not become the end, because that is not his paradigm.

These life skills are not the enemy of being a proper or good pastor.  Somebody who can succeed in the world, like a Daniel or Joseph or Moses, is well on his way with the abilities someone needs to lead a church.  When you read the Bible, you're not thinking that there is some type of spiritual cadre, set aside by some kind of genetic predisposition.  The Bible has the same standard for everyone.  Everyone lives it.  Certain ones, because of response to preaching and teaching, will have the internal drive to become the expert on the Bible and show that he can lead.  He becomes the pastor, but he's already also a good worker with abilities to earn a living too.

Churches will need to establish men in a greater way to rightly divide the truth and to teach it.  Both prongs will need attention.  They will need to learn that trade or that skill for earning a living, while at the same time giving close heed to the doctrine.  The churches will have to get started earlier to get their men further along than what they are right now, to where they're still playing around by the time they get to college age.  They might be ready later.  They have that job, earning a living, raising a family, but continuing to train in the church until they get there by the time they're thirty, and not when they are twenty-two or twenty-five.  Thirty ought to sound familiar, but it could be thirty-five.

If we're going to do what I'm describing, we've got to get our minds right.  We've got to build the infrastructure within the church for this to work.  We'll have to start early.  We can't afford not to start.  There is no guarantee that the money will be there.  That shouldn't stop the work.  The work that Jesus wants us to do can be done no matter what the socio-economic situation.  It isn't designed only to work where there is enough of a cash flow.  People need to be hearing that this is how it is going to function now.  Really, it's how it should have been and continued to be.  The break we took from the old paradigm, the original paradigm was a kind of apostasy of the right one, which should be the new one.

Now talk amongst yourselves.

19 comments:

Farmer Brown said...

This is so true. I have had this conversation at least 5 times in the last two weeks. All pastors ought to start by making money. If you cannot be profitable for your employer in the smallest matters (1 Cor 6:2), how can you be profitable with things that really matter?

Hardly a week goes by that we do not get a call or email from some "missionary" going on deputation. I tell them all the same thing. "Get a job and support your own family until you have enough converts to support you, just like Paul did."

That does not go over well. "My pastor supports deputation." Well, he ought to support the Apostle Paul. You should live by your own labor like he did, until his own fruit could support him.

Does a prospective farmer ask an established farmer to give him some corn because he might at some future time have some corn? "Well if you give me some of your corn, you can be a fellow laborer in my corn." What?

It is so cheeky to call me, as a perfect stranger, and ask that. Even telemarketers have a real product when they call. These "missionaries" call without even a product to sell. What am I buying? A suggestion of future work of a completely indeterminate value? This is an entitlement mentality.

Even if you do get to a point where you can fully leave other employment, it still might be profitable to keep one foot in the secular market. The things you need to do to create financial value are based on the same principles for creating any kind of value.

Also, competing in the open market continually teaches you to refine how you behave. It is so valuable to have continual pressure to change and adapt. Not that we are changing the gospel or how it is presented, but the pressures on your brain to think about and understand how to overcome and adapt in secular employment molds your thinking in a positive manner.

Doulos said...

I've been wanting someone to preach this sermon for YEARS. Amen.

And I hadn't even considered this before: "The financial pressures for pastors to keep a full time pastorate often result in the compromises to doctrine and practice that I confront here. To stay self-supporting, to keep a full time salary, pastors need a certain number of giving members..."

And, Farmer, DITTO about missionaries.

Life is good. Someone, a PASTOR even, finally said it.

Jim Peet said...

Thoughtful article Used on SI here

Marcia Wilwerding said...

Mr. Brown, it must be remembered that many missionaries will not be allowed by their host country to own a business or be employed where they will be ministering. However, perhaps the said missionaries could establish that they are both responsible (by providing for their own family for some time) and legitimately called to the ministry (by pastoring a church or being otherwise involved in fruitful ministry) before calling on the churches to support them in a foreign ministry. The way it stands now, churches urge the teenagers to make commitments before God, as they feel led of the Spirit, to go into "full-time" ministry vocations, ship them off to Bible college when they graduate from high school, and expect them to immediately get out there and raise support so they can get to the field as soon as possible. It's not their fault they are calling you for support. That's how the system works now. That's not the best system, but it is the system we have now. I totally agree it should begin in the local churches among the young people to first instill in them a need to find what they are called of God to do in support of themselves and their families. Perhaps the first mistake is in calling teenagers to make commitments to full-time ministry.

Farmer Brown said...

Marcia, couple things.
1. It may be the system we have but it is unbiblical. Therefore it should be disposed of.

2. Churches call on missionaries, missionaries do not call on churches, at least in the Bible. If we believe the Lord would have us send you, we will call you. Sounds like what you are saying as well.

3. If my 14 year old son came back from camp and told me the Lord called him into full time insurance sales, I would not take it seriously. I would point out to him his obligation to me, his father, and my authority over these decisions.

Why would it be any different if he came back and said the Lord called him to be a missionary? If I had a pastor who urged my children to make those decisions, I would talk to him about jurisdictional boundaries. I think you are I are in agreement in this area.

4. If the Lord called you to a country, but you cannot go and support your family in a Biblical manner, he did not call you to go to that country. He cannot give you a calling that runs contrary to the word of God.

If you would have a desire to see the people of Vietnam saved and churches started, but find you cannot work in Vietnam, you cannot go. Instead, you could do your research, find the population centers for Vietnamese people in the US, and go there.

Maybe it is Dallas. So you go to Dallas, work, and try to reach native Vietnamese people. When some of them get saved and grounded, you share your burden. They can go and work, being citizens, so you equip them and send them as Antioch did with Paul.

They go, work in the local factory, and preach the Gospel. When some get saved, those believers support that local pastor and he can devote more time to the ministry of the Gospel.

This is just what Paul did. You could fulfill that Godly desire to see churches started in Vietnam without acting in a way that is contradictory to the gospel. That is better that working within a current system that is not Biblical.

Mike Mann said...

I understand your feelings on this but there is not a "one size fits all" solution. I'm glad some pastors are able to be supported by their churches and I realize some churches cannot afford that financially, especially in places like you are in with real estate so expensive. With the rapid changes taking place in America's religious landscape, more and more of Christianity will have to change their whole approach to buildings, properties, salaries and in many cases, even structure. However, we ought to be clear on what Paul taught. He said that those who preach the Gospel should be supported by the Gospel. (I Cor 9:14) He did not hold the Corinthians to this but he was supported by other Churches. 2Co 11:7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
2Co 11:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
I am also thankful that there are still missionaries being fully supported by various local Churches. Our Church helps support several missionary families and we are delighted to be "fellowhelpers to the truth." Much of the Bi-vocation missions will not work in places where they are needed. I am biased. I have 2 daughters and their families who are fully supported in Asia, but I felt the same way before they were missionaries. I can't imagine them doing the work they are engaged in and trying to work as well. I write this as one who has been a full time Pastor and worked a secular job for forty years. I only disagree with people who say Pastors should work or those who say they shouldn't. Every situation is between the man and his Lord.

Jess B. and Kendall W. said...

This article hit SO many nails on the head!! My husband is from the USA and pastoring in Canada. I'm Canadian and he's pastoring my home church. He has some churches that support him financially, but not enough for us and our family to live on. This was support he raised when he was single and on the mission field. I teach music lessons to supplement our income. Right now this works for us. I even teach from our home, so I can be with our daughter. My husband has his Permanent Resident status and can legally work here, so he picks up odd jobs and part-time work. The Lord is good and brings him work that fits around his ministry schedule. In the initial stages of pastoring in Canada, we threw around the idea of going on deputation and raising full support, but that didn't last long! Neither of us wanted to sacrifice two years (probably more) travelling full time to raise support from already cash strapped churches, while the ministry here suffered! We just got to work and made it work! We've even talked about if I couldn't teach music lessons anymore, he would get a full-time job. You are absolutely right about Christians needing a shift in thinking. I hope your article will get some people thinking.

Jim Camp said...

Almost every preacher I know works on the side (or runs a Christian school to support the family). I've heard of some of the modern Bible colleges teaching their students that they should not consider a church that will not provide full time support. I have seen some of the kids in college who looked upon the ministry as a good paying job with lots of visibility as a leader?!

IMO, Marcia hit it on the nose concerning teen meetings pushing kids to full time ministry.
The worst ones I've seen over the years are the meetings where some kid is held up before the other teens as a great example of sacrifice & spirituality.

A personal pet peeve of mine is the "surrendering to be a preacher's wife" (I can't find that in Scripture - If I missed it, please let me know).

At some point, this is simply cruel to deal with children as young as 12-13 & PUSH them to decisions that may or may not pan out. Leaving many with years of confusion & doubt, because once the emotion of the meeting fades, they are still expected by "leadership" to perform their "calling".

My $.02 worth.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi,

I don't think I can comment on everything. I'm leaving on a trip tomorrow and want to get everything done, but I'll comment on one thing especially that several said. This post was not against support of pastors. It was just the reality that some places won't fully sport one. Then what? Scripturally, I've argued on this blog and preached many times that a church should support its pastor. I would argue from 1 Cor 9 and 1 Tim 5. I think it detracts from the point I made to talk about that at this juncture. I'm fully supported. Would I be against it? That I was supported was implied in the post. If I was against it, I'd turn it down. I believe in supporting pastors. It's another reason I'm for indigenous missions. The folks on the field should support their own pastors, not us in the U.S. I'd like to keep it to what I'm talking about.

John Clarke, the first Baptist in America, doctor/pastor.

Will we still have pastors if we can't support them full time? Is that the only way for it to be done? Does not having full time support imply he isn't doing a good job? If the church has five families, those five have to give him a full time salary? If he doesn't get it, he doesn't pastor?

KJB1611 said...

I have difficulty thinking that in a time when the USA is the most wealthy country that has ever existed in human history churches cannot afford to pay their pastors so that they can give themselves full time to the word and to prayer (Acts 6). We know perfectly well that God's perfect pattern is for people to live of the gospel that preach the gospel in church leadership from Corinthians. (I recognize that Pastor Brandenburg was not opposing a paid ministry in this post.)

If a pastor compromises in doctrine because he wants to keep a salary, he is disqualified because lovers of money disobey 1 Tim 3. Someone with a small church can compromise in doctrine or love money over God also. Would that not be a different discussion?

Also, could we not say that the pastor's goal is not to be fully supported but it should, it must, be the church's responsibility to fully support him, and the pastor must train them for that end?

If we are going to conclude that the old, Biblical paradigm is not fully supporting pastors and pastors not expecting to have churches support them, shouldn't we prove that from the Corinthian texts that deal with this matter?

Churches where the pastors have to work secular jobs have much less time to study the Word, to care for their flock, to evangelize, and do other things. It hurts the flock. I do not believe that is a superior pattern at all.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a marketable skill. I would say, though, that if someone is moral and reliable he should be able to get a job and make it. Someone with a very low salary can be a millionaire by simply starting to save for retirement early enough (e. g., http://faithsaves.net/biblical-financial-stewardship/). There is no such thing as genuine poverty in America--ask people in Zimbabwe--and if we can't afford to support pastors now, nobody has been able to for all of church history.

There are plenty of tightwad church members who don't want to support a pastor. Would it be not be good to warn them that they are rebelling against God's will by doing that at the same time as teaching potential pastors and evangelists that they need to not love money? All it takes to support a pastor is about 10 people who tithe. Shouldn't a church of at least ten people with jobs then fully support their pastor?

We have plain Scriptural statements about it being God's will for those who preach the gospel to live of the gospel. We don't have any statements about congregations needing a building to meet in. Would it be a fair conclusion that having a pastor who can give himself without distraction to prayer and the Word is more important than a church having a building, and if a church has a building it can definitely pay its pastor?

Also, IMO Farmer Brown's comment that "all pastors ought to start by making money" is simply his opinion, not something found in Scripture anywhere. Bro. Farmer, have you thought this throguh? His statement about missionaries having to get jobs would eliminate American missions in vast portions of the world-certainly in the 3rd world, etc. In Kenya or Bangladesh an American who has to go work 14 hours a day six days a week at $1 a day is not going to have the time to be involved in church planting. There would be huge numbers of fewer churches and fewer people worshipping God if every church refused to support missionaries and told them to just go out and get a job. Actually, people who are not in the office of bishop or evangelist should be more generous so that more people can go out without having to have a secular job.

I appreciate everyone wanting to think things through and be Biblical.

George Calvas said...

"Will we still have pastors if we can't support them full time?"

The hirelings that fill the pulpits today are not needed. I work 50 hours a week, preach almost every Saturday, take care of house and family and still have the time to prepare and preach Sunday morning or afternoon without ever taking a DIME from the body of Christ.

"Is that the only way for it to be done?"

There is no such thing as a "salaried position" in scripture! He lives by FAITH like the rest, and if the church cannot meet his need, then he works like the rest of the servants of Christ.

"Does not having full time support imply he isn't doing a good job?"

On the contrary, not having a "full time" ministry as a paid pastor means he is fulfilling the scriptures!

"If the church has five families, those five have to give him a full time salary?"

He is not worth any "salary". He is worth what God provides. Many pastors are lazy and slothful who have not put in a good days work since they started pastoring!

"If he doesn't get it, he doesn't pastor?"

If any man who calls himself a pastor has that attitude, who would want a hireling like that.

KJB1611 said...

George, if you have time to study the Bible, why do you teach that Jesus Christ is the Father and that the Holy Spirit is like the spirit of a dead man instead of believing in the true Trinitarian God of the Bible?

unnamed missionary said...

As an independent Baptist missionary on a foreign field I feel that I must say something here. I believe that Farmer Brown’s comments are sadly the feeling of many pastors today. I am fresh off of deputation and we have been on the field for three months. I have met many pastors who have said that deputation is broken and needs to be scrapped because of its many issues. I agree that there are many issues with deputation. However, I believe that these issues are due to those on deputation and not deputation itself.

I am unnamed not because I am a coward, but because I am on a closed field and if I was found out as being a missionary (not a scriptural term) I would be in danger of being deported and blacklisted.

The issues that we see with the process of deputation are mostly: “moochinaries” (men who are lazy, who suck church’s dry of the Lord’s money); men who waste money that church’s entrust them with; long deputations; men who say they are called who don’t make it to the field; and men who make it to the field and don’t last long.

This issue all goes back to churches, not to the missionaries themselves. Scriptural missions is not supporting a man’s ministry. It is supporting a church’s ministry. This ministry in the land I am in is not my ministry; it is my church’s ministry. I am under the authority of my pastor.

The real underlying issue of deputation is not the man on deputation but the churches who send these charlatans out. If a church was doing its job it wouldn’t send out men who weren’t saved (this happens from time to time). If a church was doing its job it wouldn’t send out men who weren’t properly equipped for ministry. If a church was doing its job it wouldn’t send out men where weren’t called for the work in which they are raising funds for. If a church was doing their job they wouldn’t send out a man who has no self-motivation. If a church was doing its job they wouldn’t send out men who weren’t tried and proven to be of an upstanding character. If a church was doing its job they would take personal responsibility for the work and not just be a “rubber stamp” “sponsoring church”.

Churches have relied on Bible colleges to train their men. Bible colleges are extra-scriptural at best and most likely unscriptural. Bible colleges that are not under the authority of a local church (most of them) are definitely unscriptural! Q: Where did people get the idea that they need to send their preachers to a special school to receive their training? A: From the Catholics and Protestants. Nowhere in the Bible do you see a special school to train preachers. The only place you could see that would be in the “school of the prophets” in the OT. This was the training ground for the assembly that God was working through at that time. I see no reason to think that this advocates we send our men to a special training institution to receive instruction. If God has called a man to a pastorate, he has equipped that man to fulfill II Tm 2:2.


to be continued...

unnamed missionary said...

continued...

Churches expect the Bible college to equip the men that they send for the ministry in which they are “called”. Then those men, upon graduation, go to a large church and do a paid “internship”, then they get sent out on deputation without ever developing a work ethic, and without ever having to work hard to provide for a family. Then those men take at least three years to raise their funds, going to a few churches a month, seeing the sights as they travel and using up all of their support money to get them through deputation.

My father and my pastor are the two hardest working men that I know. My father is not a pastor but he is a hard working layman who is the most active church member and supporter of his pastor that I have ever seen. My pastor is in his mid-50’s and owns a construction company that employs 6 or 7 people. He works more outside of the pastorate than most people work to make a living. He hardly sleeps and he is always there for our church and fulfills all of the functions of a pastor. His instruction to me as my church sent me out was to show churches how to raise support in a Christ-honouring way. Because there are so many churches who are doing it wrong.

We started deputation two years ago with no support (other than our home church). I took a survey trip and bought all of the things necessary with a combination of my money and generous gifts from the Lord’s servants. We sold our vehicles and our house and were in as many churches as we could possibly get in. We were in an average of 11 churches a month presenting our ministry. We lived solely off of our love offerings and did not spend a dime of our support until the move here. Our support goal was raised in 18 months and we did not waste time in getting to the field.

Doing all of this with a wife and three small children was no easy task and I could write a book about all of the struggles along the way. But I don’t like to remember those; I like to focus on the fact that God’s hand was there guiding and directing us all along the way. His faithfulness was made real to us during deputation. Our faith was tried and tested and strengthened during deputation.

We now have churches who are encouraging us and are praying for us because they have a vested interest in our church’s ministry. I love missions! I love the fact that our church can be involve in planting churches all over the world!

to be continued...

unnamed missionary said...

continued...

We have embraced deputation as the God ordained method of getting us to the field and He has blessed tremendously! We could not be here without deputation. I cannot work a job here until we have residency and that could be 2 or more years from now. I have no problem working a job. I have my whole life. I know how to support a family. I worked my way through a secular college without any debt and then worked my way through our church’s Bible institute supporting a family and actively serving in our church. It just simply is not possible right now.

FYI: we also have a backup plan to stay on the field if our support gets cut off.

To address the issue of moving to an area where there is a foreign people group in the US and ministering to those people. Then training those people to go to their home country to reach others with the Gospel. I know of many men who have tried to do that very thing; however, I do not know of one who has been successful in this method. Farmer Brown, do you have one example?

I know of several men who have worked in the country that I am currently in, who were kicked out of this country who tried to do that very thing. None of them were successful. They ran into many issues with the expatriate communities and weren’t effective. I do not see this method as “going into all the world”. I am in an area of millions of people and we do not know of one scriptural church. I would have to go 650 miles west or 1,100 miles east to find a scriptural mission (not even a church!). Are these people to be left with no witnesses? Are they to be left with no truth? Are they to be forsaken without true churches to bring the light?

There is a whole other issue about the role of a missionary. Many missionaries use American funds to start and church on a foreign field with them as the pastor. Biblical missions is church planting. A church should have a national pastoring and not an American supported by American funds, preaching in a building built with American funds. This is a whole other issue…

I wish I had time to write more thoroughly, but I am very busy right now. I would love to take the time to write more. I am saddened that Pastors like Farmer Brown can say something like the following:

"It is so cheeky to call me, as a perfect stranger, and ask that. Even telemarketers have a real product when they call. These "missionaries" call without even a product to sell. What am I buying? A suggestion of future work of a completely indeterminate value? This is an entitlement mentality."

KJB1611 said...

By the way, deputation is not just a waste of time. It is an opportunity for the world evangelist (the "missionary" is really the Biblical office of church planter, the evangelist) to stir up others in other churches for the cause of world evangelism. I believe this fact is too often neglected both by churches and by world evangelists raising support.

Kent Brandenburg said...

It is unfortunate that this comment section has been hijacked by points I was not making in my post. While folks talk around the subject, the subject goes unaddressed. The problem will remain while the red herring thoroughly filleted.

I will come back to talk about some in the comment section. I'm not at home.

Farmer Brown said...

Kent, I assume you are referring to the discussion of deputation. I will not answer the responses to my posts about this. I saw that as part of the larger discussion, it was not my intention to hijack.

KJB1611 Said, "Also, IMO Farmer Brown's comment that "all pastors ought to start by making money" is simply his opinion, not something found in Scripture anywhere."

I disagree. What I said about keeping one foot in secular employment was opinion, and I framed it as such, but all pastors should start by making money is not opinion, rather it is Bible. It was also from Kent's original post: "In the past, men started with having a means of earning. That was part of being a Christian. You took care of a family first."

Here is the reasoning for that. A pastor has to be aged (elder), have a wife and children that are old enough to be faithful. That means he is not a man under 30 in almost any scenario. That seems reasonable since Jesus waited until 30 and the Levites waited until 30.

Regardless, he is married with children for a number of years. How does he support them? You agree he has a Biblical mandate to support his family. He cannot be a pastor until his children are old enough to be "faithful", or at least show they are not riotous and unruly.

He obviously supports them by working. He has to work in other employment until such a time as he becomes a pastor, and still then until he is supported by the fruit of his own labor. If you cannot do that well, that is, support your family and make money for your employer, you cannot be a pastor.

Luke 16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? (12) And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?

I still believe a pastor ought to be fully supported if possible. "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." 1 Corinthians 9:14, and prior. Also, Galatians 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

If you have enough people to support you and are not supported, that is an issue that needs to be addressed. The craven members will accuse you of carnality, but they are disobeying the Biblical mandate on these matters and should be rebuked. If you live by the word you deserve your income from it.

This is dependent on that income being there, though. Starting out, it will not be, and perhaps never will be depending on the area. That is where your Biblical start in a secular career will have so much value.

Kent, I would like to answer the rest of what KJB1611 wrote in the paragraph I quoted above, but will not do so unless you say give permission.

Farmer Brown said...

KJB1611, let me add, I agree with you on the need to rebuke those who will not give and the lack of importance on a building or other facilities. Giving is a mandate, supporting a pastor is a mandate, buying a building is not.

It would be so much better to fully support a pastor and meet in a private home than to have a building and a pastor who has to have outside work. The building gives marginal value, but the pastor who can devote himself to prayer and the word of God gives great value.