Updated: Sep 5, 2021
I think back to when I was a little girl and I “finally get it!” There's many things that as an adult, I can look back to when I was a little girl and I now understand that the way I perceived a lot of things as a little girl were incorrect. Do you know what I’m talking about? I can’t be the only the one who’s perception has changed as an adult and even as the years go by…
I hear people talk about money in the church world and I’m often amazed at how people perceive money and giving in regards to the church and pastors.
I hear comments in regards to pastors, vacations, and offerings… they go something like this, “When I give my money into the church offering, I have to let go of it. If the pastor wants to go on vacation with the money I put in, they are accountable to God for that.”
I’ve heard comments in regards to pastors, their clothes, and the offerings church members put in. Church member to the pastor, “Hey, let me see that suit I bought you.” Or in regards to the vehicles a pastor may drive or the house that they live in.
These kinds of comments are comments that show that people’s understanding or perception of money and the church is a bit off. There’s an error in people’s understanding or perception when it comes to money, the church, and pastors.
The Truth Is:
A pastor deserves his/her wages. This is a ministry, yes, but unless the worker is getting a paycheck, they can’t devote very much time to taking care of the many needs of the church and people. Without a paycheck, they will need to get a full-time job elsewhere and then the church will suffer greatly. 1 Tomothy 5:18 says this, “For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”
The money a pastor receives is compensation for work they do. When we do our job for whatever company we work for and we get our paychecks, that’s money we earned, correct? It would be ridiculous for our employer to stop paying us or comment on how we were spending our money, just because they didn’t agree with our ways of spending our money. Why is it different for a pastor?
Most pastors are underpaid. Statistics will show your that most pastors and other church workers are actually underpaid for the work they do and the time they spend doing doing it. At least in my circle of friends, the pastors are paid just enough to keep them on full-time without having to let go of pastoring full-time or the pastors are paid less and work full or part-time jobs outside the church.
Things aren’t always what they seem. I grew up in a pastor’s home and I was never without nor did I ever feel like we were poor or abandoned or destitute. But one thing I can tell you, even to this day, I have a huge “fear” of having anything "above average” in the “nice” department. No matter how I was to get said nice item, a good deal or a gift or a “God-thing,” I am always afraid that people will think I was being extravagant with “their” money. When my husband and I moved to Arizona, it was at the beginning of the pandemic. My in-laws were gracious enough to let us stay there, enabling us to save up some money. We weren’t sure how things were going to go and I’m a bit particular about layout and had a few other wants for our new place. One of the wants was a nice view in case we were quarantined and stuck inside the apartment for days on end. We ended up getting a fabulous condo in a high-end neighborhood with a gorgeous view (for cheaper than anything else we could get at the time.) The apartment was everything I was “dreaming of.” After we moved into this condo and I was driving down the road, I remembered something significant… When Paul and I first arrived into Tucson, I was driving to visit my mother and as I was driving through this neighborhood. I had a mini-conversation with God. I told God, “If we’re going to be living in Tucson, I’d really like to live in this neighborhood.” I also had an exact budget I wanted to keep to. Getting this condo was a God-thing and I realized it after we moved in. I was driving down the same stretch of road that I’d had my mini-conversation with God 6 months prior. Later, when I was asked where were living, a comment made was, “Couldn’t you find a cheaper place in town.” I immediately began to feel so awful for “living someplace nice.” When a pastor has “nice things,” it isn’t always due to the pay they receive from their job at the church. Things aren’t always what they seem.
Most pastors don’t get enough time off. For most people who are working “9-5” jobs or hourly jobs, once the job is done, you go home and have the time off until the next work day or shift. You get to leave the job at the job. For pastors, the job is 24/7. There’s no “leaving it at work.” There is constant care, concern, planning, prepping, praying, studying, etc. From sun up to sun down and for most that I know, a “vacation” or “time-off” isn’t feasible. A lot of pastors are stressed-out and overworked. And depression is a huge unseen issue.
Pastors don’t use church money for their vacations. Most pastors don’t get a vacation or time off and when they do, it’s not actually enough to make a difference to their well-being. They aren’t using church offerings for their vacations. They may be saving up money from their paychecks to be able to take their families on vacation or doing other odd jobs or maybe they received a gift from someone, but no pastor that I know, uses the church’s money to go on vacation.
I look out my window at this gorgeous view, while writing this blog and also preparing to go on vacation with my husband and I am reminded of the love and care and concern God has for each of us. Everything we have and are able to do is because of the grace of God, not because of people’s offerings into the church offering basket. Our paycheck comes from God. Everything I have is due to God and his rich mercy. Most American church-goers don’t even tithe and yet they think their “pennies compared to what they make,” offerings are what pastors are living off of. False.
My husband and I tithe and the amount of that is not even enough to pay much more than a family’s monthly gasoline bill… so, I know that unless someone who’s a multimillionaire is tithing into a church, any given person’s tithe is not paying the pastors salary… meaning, the pastor is not “living off of your money.”
I talk a lot about money. The reason isn’t, because we need your money. I look around at so many people (not you, of course), and they are in the same “place” financially that they were in years ago.
I don’t believe that’s God’s will for us. I’m not saying God wants us all to be “rich,” or that things don’t happen that cause our current circumstances to be worse than before, but we are children of the King of King. Our God, our Heavenly Father said He will provide for all of our needs according to HIS riches and glory… and that He gives us even enough for our ENJOYMENT. (1 Timothy 6:17)
You and I… that’s the family we’re part of. I guarantee that if you’ve had any of these misconceptions going through your mind about church, money, and pastors … they aren’t true of this church or any church that I personally know. Thoughts like that are only put there by the father of all lies. They are errors. They are lies that the enemy puts in to keep people poor, broke, and in bondage to him.
The truth is, God desires nothing but good things for you. God is the one that gives us the ability to work and to get wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:18) So, if He’s the one that gives us this ability, isn’t the money also from Him? And if the money is from Him, isn’t it His? And if it’s true that God desires good things for us and not bad, then why in the world would Jesus have said it’s better to give than to receive? Why would God dare us to give Him a portion back (tithe) if it’s going to ruin my life instead of make it better? Why would Jesus tell people that they should tithe? (Matthew 23:23
Money is a very powerful thing. If you and I can’t trust God with money, then I really don’t see how we can say we trust Him with anything. You may say, “Shauna, you are totally wrong. It’s not a trust thing.” Then what it is it? Immediately after Jesus says that we can’t serve two masters (money and God), He tells us not to WORRY (lack of trust) about all these things we need money for. ((Matthew 6:25)
There are two “masters” that dictate our actions… money and God. (Matthew 6:24) I always want to bypass working anything out with the regular leveled employee. I always want to head straight to the “supervisor” or the “manager.” No one really wants to do business with the employee, but rather the one who actually has authority and say so. Isn’t God the one with the authority over money? Isn’t he the “boss,” “supervisor,” “manager?”
With money, we “feel” like we’re in control, because with it, we “know” we are “safe.” We will have food, or gasoline, or rent, or whatever and without it we are powerless. There’s absolutely nothing we can do on our own to make anything in our life any better without money.
It’s easier to say we trust God with everything when we still have a little something stored away in our pocket or our bank account… but is that trust? (No, I’m not telling you to go and empty your bank account.)
Look at marriages; two of the top reasons for divorce are communication and money. And someone wants to tell me that money isn’t a big deal? …. RRIIGGHHTT. Money separates marriages. Can money separate people from God or from His body? I’m guessing so, if we will either “hate one and love the other.”
just a thought.