There is a job description that reads somewhat endlessly: Counselor; encourager; prayer warrior; evangelist; healer; teacher; preacher; visitor of the sick and shut-in; visitor of the incarcerated; visitor of the lonely; tending the sheep; Sunday School teacher; camp counselor; wedding performer; funeral arranger/speaker; mediator; janitor; maintenance worker; trash hauler; fiscal operations manager; overseer; meeting coordinator; leader of leaders; etc., etc., To top it off, the person in this position is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
These are some of the expectations of your pastoral leader, even as many of those persons also work other jobs for needed income in support of their family. Our expectations are high of this position and we hold them to a level of accountability and integrity, along with scrutiny, we do not often hold ourselves to. We can’t believe they’re mowing their lawn on a weekday afternoon, while every “normal” person is working. We can’t imagine they need another Sunday off or away, because…”didn’t we hire them to work Sundays?”
Rarely do we concern ourselves with their pay and benefits support. Few, if any, ask their pastoral leaders how they are doing financially. Few, if any, ask when they last managed a day off or if they have a vacation scheduled. We mostly desire to know they area available to us when we need them.
These things said this is a scriptural position in which the Bible gives us some clear guidelines of support. Here are some of those instructions:
I Timothy 5: 17-18 reveals to us that we are to give “double honor” to those who preach and teach and to not “muzzle the ox” as “The worker deserves his wages.” How many of us have asked our pastoral leaders to our home for hospitality and/or asked of them how they are doing personally? Even further, have we asked them how they are doing financially or if they are struggling with debt?
I Corinthians chapter nine gives us some interesting guidelines as well. To paraphrase some of the things the Apostle Paul writes, he asks if it is right for a soldier to be a soldier at his own expense? He illustrates that if this leader has sown spiritual seed in our life, shouldn’t he/she be able to reap a material blessing from us? He clearly writes that those who preach the gospel are entitled to support and that support should be at least at the median income level of the congregation…if not higher. Why higher? The scripture above declared, “double honor.”
Let us honor God, by honoring our leaders who love us, pray for us and care for us.