The call hasn’t come in yet this season, but almost every year during the Christmas season I get a panicked phone call from a pastor or other church staff member somewhere in the country whose church has decided that Christmas is the best time to terminate him. I am not sure why that is. I could only speculate about why terminations of ministers happen so often at this time of year. I cannot imagine how much sheer hatred a church would have to muster for their pastor to put him and his family out during the Christmas season…churches behaving badly.
It seems to me that churches sometimes play freely and loosely with their “power” of finances over their pastor. Of course, they will defend themselves, claiming that ultimately it is the only power they have over him. But that claim side-steps the issue. The larger question is whether the activities of God’s church were ever intended to be a function of earthly power at all.
In his blog post yesterday over at Kingdom People, Trevin Wax poses a great question to pastors: “Does getting paid make a difference in how you lead your church?” And this important follow-up question, “Should it?” These are terrific questions for pastors. Frankly, they are questions I ask myself (though I’m not a pastor) from time to time. You know…”If I suddenly became independently wealthy, would I still be doing this?” Maybe you’ve played that game as well.
But I want to ask the question in a slightly different direction. Rather than asking the pastor how it affects his leadership (which is an entirely different blog post…one already well-written by Trevin), I want to ask you, the church members a question: If your pastor did not receive a salary from you, would it change …