Pastors and Pay: A How-To Guide for Negotiating Your Salary

Matthew Hoskinson on ministry salaries:

It seems awfully unspiritual to talk about pastoral remuneration, especially during the candidating process.

After all, if the Lord wants you to minister somewhere, hasn’t he promised to provide for you? And didn’t George Mueller pray meals to the front door of his orphanage? Why waste time on the temporal?

That’s a good question with a surprisingly simple answer: If you do not provide for your family, you cannot be a pastor.

That’s not my opinion, but the word of God through Paul.

“If someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (1Tim 3.5)

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1Tim 5.8)

Of course we must bear other texts in mind, such as Titus 1.7 (“he must not be .. .greedy for gain”) and 1Timothy 3.3 (“not a lover of money”). These verses may explain our awkwardness in discussing salary packages and benefits. We recognize that we are servants of the Lord and are often amazed that we have the privilege of being pastors.

But our rejection of greediness does not constitute a vow of poverty.

It is true that, if the Lord wants you to minister somewhere, he will provide for you. It is also true that one way the Lord confirms whether he wants you to minister somewhere is whether the provision is adequate for you and your family.

It may be the Lord’s will for you to serve as a pastor for XYZ Church, but it is the Lord’s will for you to provide for your family. If you cannot do the first without accomplishing the second, XYZ Church is not the Lord’s will for you.

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