Pastors Toolbox: Our Financial Reputations

Our Financial Reputations: Improper Stewardship Can Destroy Our Ministry

“Let no debt remain outstanding…” (Romans 13:8)
Years ago a credit company informed me that insurance salesman and pastors were the nations worst credit risks. Another company said that professions beginning with the letter P were bad risks: preacher, painter, policeman, politician. Whether or not such reports are true, at least they contain some bad publicity for the ministry. We constantly live in a fishbowl. And the way we handle our financial affairs will certainly come to light.
Let’s face it, the ministry generally is not a lucrative occupation. Most pastors have to struggle financially to make ends meet. The story has been told that a deacon once remarked that pastors should be poor and humble, and if the Lord would keep them humble, the deacons would see to it that the pastors were kept poor. And it seems that sometimes such is the case. Pastors are viewed by those who do not really know the burdens they carry as having easy jobs with flexible hours, only really working 45 minutes a week on Sundays. You and I know better. Yet often the pay structure is loosely based on that perspective. And that increases the financial burden of ministry.
But that goes with the territory, at least until the deacons, the church leadership, in the members are duly educated as to the duties of the job when well done. They need to know that it is an advantage to the church when she gives double honor to her fateful pastors. The church I was privileged to serve before retirement recognize the pastoral needs and did a wonderful job of providing for all of us. The salaries and full benefits package were very adequate.
Regardless of where the church is in this matter, we still must live responsible lives financially. No debts should be made that cannot be for fulfilled on schedule. We must learn to go without if necessary.
We really have but a few choices. We can either live on our salary, educate the leadership and members on the responsibility to pay us a deserving wage, take a second job if absolutely necessary, or drop out of the pastorate altogether. We don’t have the option to let our bills go and paid or delinquent. Otherwise our financial reputations can destroy our effectiveness in our church and in our community.

Source:  “Practical Wisdom For Pastors” by Curtis C. Thomas.

Gary Chaffins, is co-pastor at The Grace Community Church at Bigelow in Portsmouth, Ohio. He has a beautiful wife, two rotten kids, a big-white dog, and carries a large NASB.

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