2012 Average SBC Sr. Pastor Pay: $60,774 (by William Thornton)

William Thornton is the SBC Plodder.

 Pastor pay is up! Happy days are here again!

Look at it this way. On the first of every month, you go to your church office and are handed a check for $5,064.50. On that day you also can feel good that the church is paying your health insurance along with some contribution to your retirement.

It all adds up to $72,840 which does not include cash payments that most ministers receive as accountable reimbursements (mostly for use of their car, calculated by mileage) or for incidental reimbursements for convention, books, etc. Ministers who live in church owned housing receive some of the $60,774 in the form of housing rather than cash.

LifeWay and GuideStone collaborate on the compensation survey. The  latest is available here.

Baptist Press trumpets that full time senior pastor pay is outpacing inflation and that it has risen over 6% since 2010.

Observations:

1. The survey is not random and likely over reports larger churches and higher paid ministers, which is not a bad thing. You can take the overall average, probably higher than your present pay, and say that you are below average.

2. You can manipulate the data. In my state the senior pastor of an average sized church (bewteen 75 and 199 in attendance) would be making $52k in salary and a package of $60k.

3. Significant increases in compensation will not come until you have a church of 300 or greater in attendance, a level that only a fraction of ministers will ever reach.

4. In my state until you have a church with a budget $200,000 or over, the senior pastor is going to have a total package of under $60k.

5. When the senior pastor hits his mid thirties, or let’s say forty, he is very close to topping out in his compensation. Chew on that one.

6. A pastor making the SBC average whose wife is a teacher, nurse, or other professional will likely easily have a six figure family income.

How does this compare to what you are seeing on the ground?

Comments

  1. Christiane says

    Pastors’ wives are saints. We had pastors’ wives working on our faculty, putting in many hours at work, and after work for their students and the school;
    and then going home to an evening of service to the Church, as well as raising a family and caring for their home.

    I never knew how they did it, I just admired them very much and kept them in prayer. I wonder if people understand the contribution these women make? I hope they do. They have ‘a price above rubies’.

  2. says

    Okay, here’s the part of this I just don’t get.

    Average pay is just under 61K.
    Average total package is around 72K.
    That leaves 11K for benefits?

    This pastor obviously does not get his insurance at Guidestone! Or at least he is way younger than this old fogey.

    I had to switch to the $5000 deductible plan a couple of years ago thanks to Obamacare and the huge increases that hit at that time. My insurance package is over $16K per year – and that is for the worst coverage Guidestone offers.

      • Dave Miller says

        I’m kinda locked in. Due to my weight and some health issues (rhymes with dancer – nothing serious but still) I am not insurable. I have to pay whatever Guidestone demands.

        • Jess Alford says

          Dave,

          There are alot of Americans in the same boat as you. I think it is a dirty rotten shame. Insurance companies can do better if they would. I guess profits always have to be record breaking.

          • says

            The huge increases that forced me to change to the lower policy were due to Barack Obama’s “gift” to America, “Obamacare.” Raised my policy by about 5000 bucks, so I had to switch to a lower one.

          • says

            Insurance companies are not charities. They are for-profit companies. Guidestone is just looking to break even. Blaming the insurance companies is a great way to deflect the culpability of the government.

          • says

            If the government regulations that disallow competition across state lines were demolished, rates would drop considerablly in many places due to increased competition.

    • says

      just looked at the figures again. The difference may be closer to 12K, but my point is still there.

      Where can you get insurance and an annuity (if you are 55 at least) for 12k per year? Not from Guidestone, you can’t.

      • says

        I am on a plan from AR Blue Cross that covers our family, but it’s basically old-style catastrophic coverage. It’s somewhere around 25% of what GS wanted for their cheapest coverage, but of course, I didn’t quite hit the deductible with my ER trip at Easter, so paid the whole thing out of pocket. That’s the trade-off for us.

        Fortunately, we’re generally healthy. Or stubborn. Saving too much money on health care now also saves on the need to save for retirement in the long run.

  3. PAUL MAHAFFIE says

    I recieved a 33% increase in my pay. I am now making $200 a week. No other beni’s other than what the Lord provides.

      • Christiane says

        There are different ways to calculate ‘average’, and I suspect that in attempting to figure out the ‘average’ pay for pastors in a denomination like the Southern Baptist Convention,
        it might be better to arrange the salaries from high to low and then choose the salary in the middle of the list as more representative of the ‘average’ . . .

        this prevents extremely high salaries of some to skew the ‘average’ and make it appear higher than it really is in reality.

        I used to do this with evaluating a class’s performance on a unit test: I arranged the papers from high to low, and then looked at the ‘middle’ paper’s grade. It helped me to understand a lot more about where the class really was and it pointed me towards the direction I needed to go as the one responsible for instruction.

        Another way to evaluate pastor’s salaries would be to examine where they ‘cluster’ . . . but I think that is not as beneficial to evaluation as finding the ‘central’ mark between ‘high’ to ‘low’.

  4. Dale Pugh says

    Guide stone is HORRIBLE for insurance. Of course, the group being insured (obese, stressed out pastors) may be the problem there. I have all benefits through my bi-vo job. Insurance is affordable and they put 9% in retirement on top of my 5%. I may start putting something in Guidestone as well.

    • says

      Unfortunately, you are right. I started in Guidestone years ago (when it was the Annuity Board) and their prices started skyrocketing. Now they are horribly overpriced, but I can’t switch. So, I’m stuck with that.

      Their annuity program is pretty good though. Good returns in spite of the economy. If you can get into the annuity, I recommend it.

    • says

      And you are absolutely right that one of the reasons our insurance is so high is because we have high stress, sedentary lives, eat horrible diets.

      Obese pastors (like me) should never complain about the cost of insurance at Guidestone, I guess.

      • Frank L. says

        Dave,

        Don’t be too hard on yourself. The issues you cite are part of the problem but not the whole.

        Insurance companies are greedy. They make billions by paying out far less than they take in. They not only are NOT charities, they stand on the edge of outright thievery.

        Add to that the multi-million dollar lawsuits because somebody’s coffee was hot (go figure) and you discover another huge problem in our system.

        Also, I’m not sure with Obamacare you are “locked in” any more. I don’t think anybody knows exactly how the changes work, but I think the idea of pre-existing conditions is out the door.

        Obamacare is going to cost a lot more before the story is told.

        Keep fighting to be healthy, Brother. Every little bit counts.

    • says

      We had a brief and terrible experience with Guidestone. Would never use them unless we had no choice.

      Currently don’t have anything, but thanks to Obama we’ll have to figure out some way to get something from somewhere that we can’t afford from anyone.

    • Frank L. says

      Dale,

      I think “Bi-Vo” is the way to go. The key is finding a “compatible” vocation.

      I am steering all my “young men” to consider bi-vocational ministry.

      • Dale Pugh says

        I agree. That has been my counsel for some time. We should be prepared for it. I came on it out of necessity, not my own plan. God had other ideas.

        • Frank L. says

          Dale,

          I came on it as a matter of principle. The problem is I was not properly prepared in my theological training to sustain it over the long haul.

          Ecclesiastical life looks down on a “working man” as the pastor in evangelical circles. You are somehow not a “real” pastor.

          The seminaries only give lip service to being a “tent maker.”

          I’m not sure what the solution is, but I am pretty sure that the economy, health-care, etc. is going to help a few men decide on the bi-vo path.

          I am in a very fulfilling ministry and making more in a year than I made in a two year period before. But, I still long to be bi-vo. I feel like I am in the “Pope Mobile” under bulletproof glass isolated from the real world.

          I do volunteer about 15 hours a week teaching in our private school. So, I’m kind of like a bi-vo.

          • Dale Pugh says

            I bet that keeps you hopping! I’m privileged to do what I do. I work for a good company and we have a good church fellowship. It is a blessing to me in my mid 50’s. we’ll see what God has planned. Right now, I don’t see myself fully retired until I’m 75.

  5. Jess Alford says

    I’m so thankful that I’ve always have been a bi-vo pastor. I have always paid into Social Security, and retirement where I worked. I’ve never had to worry if stocks were up or down my retirement kept building.

    Now that I need it, I can get by pretty well. “Pretty well”, means my needs are met. I thank God for that.

    Several friends of mine had to delay retirement because their money was in a 401K which took a terrible hit.

    • Max says

      “Several friends of mine had to delay retirement because their money was in a 401K which took a terrible hit.”

      The 401K retirement program and stock market investment in general would be included in Paul’s advice to Timothy not to trust in uncertain riches. American investors should not buy the lie that if you stick with the stock market you will average 8% return over the long haul. That may have been the case when America was at the wheel, but global markets are steering this thing now and the world is coming apart.

      Other observations: (1) too much filthy lucre has ruined a lot of good pastors, (2) Obamacare did NOT create affordable health insurance, and (3) with a group exceeding 45,000 churches, SBC should revisit its healthcare program for taking care of pastors, staff and their families. A pastor should not have to pay higher premiums when they become unhealthy – the church should do better than that!

  6. Stephen M Young II says

    That one about topping out in mid thirties to 40 is pretty scary. I am in my late 30s and, well.

  7. Dale Pugh says

    It is interesting that pastors peak wage wise in 30’s or 40’s. we are well-educated, hard working, dedicated men who love what we do and the people we do it with. Education and experience are desired by churches, but not compensated on a level seen in secular jobs. My bi-vo job values my training and experience more than churches do. When dealing with financial issues, I’ve been told by church folks that I need more faith. Rarely would they say that THEY need more faith.

    • says

      Income does not “peak” but is flat after the age category 35-44, meaning that by age 44 the senior pastor has reached the type of church above which (in size and budget) he will not go. That’s life.

      The compensation levels for ministers are highly market driven. When the pastor of a decent sized church leaves, there will be lots of folks in line for that church. The SBC Executive Committee, LifeWay, GuideStone…none can repeal the law of supply and demand.

      Now, if this were a guvmint enterprise where if more revenue was needed taxes could be raised, then pastors would have regularly step increases in pay for age and experience like teachers. Alas…doesn’t work that way.

  8. says

    My experience with GuideStone is that they are very easy to work with and very responsive. But their hands are tied on premiums, it’s money in/money out.

    I am curious as to how Obamacare will impact GS health insurance products, specifically, how new pre-existing condition rules will change things.

  9. Dean says

    William, we have had this convo before but I have to interject that the average pay may be $60,000 annually but the average pastor does not make that annually. A pastor making $200,000 and 4 making $25,000 will equal an average pay of $60,000 but it would be false to say the average pastor makes $60,000. Thank you William for monitoring these matters for us.

    • Dave Miller says

      Are there a lot of pastors making 200K?

      I understand your point, and the median (which I think is what you are talking about) is likely to be lower than the average.

      But, back to my previous question. Is making 200K that common? I know William made that much, but the rest of us non-Georgia pastors don’t know much about that kind of pay.

  10. Dean says

    Dave, there are some that make that and I proud for them. I simply believe that the average pastor makes no where near 60 thousand annually. The last time I heard the average SBC church runs fewer than 100 people on Sunday morning. In the six associations that I have pastored in the bivo # for outranked the fulltime #.

    • says

      Dean, I note in my article that the overall average is skewed by a greater response rate of larger church pastors; however, you can control for size and for churches where average attendance is 75-99 the average salary is about $45k. There are almost 400 responses for this size church, so I don’t think that figure would be inaccurate.

  11. Matt Svoboda says

    Average pastor pay of $60,000 in this economy in 2012. Sounds good to me. While I am one that is pulling the average down, I have no room to complain (at all!) and pastoral pay is better than I thought it was.

  12. Frank L. says

    For the last 3 years I have made above the average. For 33 years I did not average much more than poverty with no benefits.

    I am not likely to catch up before I die or have to retire on SS alone.

    Statistics rarely tell the whole picture.

  13. Rick Patrick says

    I believe the most valuable feature of the Lifeway study is the opportunity to “customize” your report in order to avoid comparing apples with oranges. For example, you can enter attendance, membership and giving data, then compare your church with a dozen or so similar in all three categories.

    The general averages, I believe, are not nearly as helpful or accurate as the customized reports.

  14. says

    Probably the most important point made here is not about health insurance (we all hate it, pay too much, etc) but the point Dave made early on about retirement. If so little is being contributed to retirement plans then many of our colleagues are going to be in some difficulty as they think about retirement. There is no one out there who will be stepping forward to take care of you when that time comes.

    • says

      Pastors of small churches.
      Make the sacrifice now, and give, give, give to your Guidestone Retirement. Guidestone can give you advice about how to invest it. But start doing it now.

      If you have your church take it out of your salary and send it to your Guidestone Retirement, you will find it easier and you will not miss it as much. Do it.
      David R. Brumbelow

      • dean says

        David, I would give another piece of advice. If you have your church take it out of your salary you need to fill out a payroll deduction form and keep it on file somewhere. Guidestone will send you one. If you do not fill out this form it appears to GS as your church is providing your retirement and if for any tragic reason you need some of this money before retirement (always last case scenario in a disaster case) you can not get it. You will only be able to draw funds from monies you placed in your retirement. You cannot draw on money matched by your convention or given by your church until retirement. Fill out that payroll deduction form if you have your church send in your retirement.

  15. volfan007 says

    I was feeling pretty good until I read this post…now, :(

    I am 51 yrs old….which means I’m maxed out in pay…plus 51 yr olds are not what Churches are looking for, anymore…they all seem to want the young, good lookin’ guys.

    Secondly, like Dave Miller, I am with Guidestone, and have been since they were the Annuity Board. I am locked in with them due to my weight, age, etc. I have a 2500 deductible, and pay over $1,400 per month for a family plan…still have 2 children on it with my wife and me.

    Thirdly, I was never able to put very much into any retirement plan….could only afford very little, since most of the Churches I have Pastored have averaged less than 150 on a Sunday morning. When you’re barely paying the light bill and buying groceries, you just dont tend to put more money into retirement. Soooooooo……I guess I’ll end up being a greeter at Wal-Mart, and supply preaching for you, young Pastors, when you’re sick, or on vacation.

    Well, anyway, I’m not losing heart….Jesus is still my King.

    David

  16. says

    I used GuideStone through NOBTS for a short time. I thought the coverage was terrible for what we paid. The prescription drug coverage was awful too.

    I find it hard to believe that GuideStone can’t do better with their purchasing power given the number of Southern Baptists.

    • volfan007 says

      Mark,

      I’m with you….this is supposed to be a group plan. It seems to me that everyone else on the planet has better coverage and pays far less, than what we do at Guidestone. Why cant our group plan be as good as the other people?

      David

      • Max says

        “Why cant our group plan be as good as the other people?”

        I’m not sure what the SBC group size is regarding number of folks actually covered by GuideStone, but the potential pool is tremendous considering 45,000+ church pastors, staff and families. GS rates should be competitive.

        The early church had a tremendous health insurance plan: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up”. That was recorded in James chapter 5 after being reminded how we are to live in the first 4 chapters.

        If insurance rates continue to soar and Obamacare fails, perhaps the church will return to the business of intercession.

        • volfan007 says

          Max,

          We should pray, and use the doctors that God has given skills to, and use the medicines that God has given us. We should do them all. And, when I’m sick, I do use them all…do all of them.

          But, you’re right, we may all be left with nothing else but prayer, once Obama is through with our country. People in socialized medicine countries, today, are trying to come to the USA for treatments and surgery. People in Canada wait forever for needed surgeries. I hope we dont ever get to that point.

          David

          • cb scott says

            “But, you’re right, we may all be left with nothing else but prayer, once Obama is through with our country. ”

            Vol, you are right as the rain.

            Obamacare will have the same results on America as does Ex-Lax through a goose.

            The only hope the goose has is to get over it on its own or die from dehydration.

          • Max says

            “… we may all be left with nothing else but prayer, once Obama is through with our country.”

            Then his administration will have been a success! “IF My People … THEN Will I.”

          • volfan007 says

            CB, the goose and Ex Lax thing….priceless stuff, Brother. Of course, I’d hate to be walking down the road, when that goose flies over! ;)

            Max, are you saying that doctors and medicines are wrong, or bad?

            David

          • Bennett Willis says

            I have friends who have worked in Canada for years, having moved there from the US. They are now back in the US and participating in the US medical system–again. They are (without exception) favorably impressed with the Canadian system. When their daughter came back to the US to work, they encouraged her to retain (establish?) dual citizenship so that she would have access to the Canadian medical system.

            This seems to be a common theme by people who have used both systems. I’m sure there are exceptions but I have not found them.

          • Max says

            “Max, are you saying that doctors and medicines are wrong, or bad?”

            Not at all David! I have a doctor – he’s a Christian even! I’m just saying that I’ve seen the organized church retreat from its first line of defense in prayer on many issues. I guess it’s the Bapti-costal in me, but I long for SBC churches to return to genuine prayer meetings like those of my youth … in which the saints tarried at the altar in tears. We saw lots of healing in those days which could only be explained by answered prayer.

          • volfan007 says

            Bennett,

            I have had people tell me that they have friends, who live in Canada, and they have to come to the USA in order to get very much needed surgery done in a timely matter, since the wait in Canada is so long. And, I’m not talking about having a wart removed from your finger kind of surgery. I’m talking about needed surgery….remain healthy and breathing surgery.

            I have also heard that Cuba’s medical situation is horrible.

            David

  17. Ken says

    Guidestone is not a true group plan for health insurance. Baptist churches are independent and Guidestone cannot offer any insurance company the assuarance of a group. So you usually wind up with older men who have health problems and that drives the cost up. The younger health ones that could off set some of this goes somewhere else to purchase insurance. That is the reason you do not get better rates.

    • William Thornton says

      Ken is right on target here. Most pastors completely misunderstand GuideStone and comprehensive health insurance.

      • volfan007 says

        Yes, but we are a large, large group….so, why cant we be a group plan? and, have better rates and coverage? Why can it NOT be that way?

        David

  18. says

    Another interesting wrinkle to the average is those of us who live in parsonages–who determines that “value” to add in? The house I live in would be worth twice as much as the church counts it, if we were in an urban market. Out here? It’s considered average and not a value.

    Seriously: church values parsonage at $400/month, because that’s what the average rental home is around here. If you rented a 3 bedroom house in a city, you’d be paying $1000/month or more. Since the church set the $400 amount, that’s what I put on the survey, which makes comparing that data, even averaged in, a little off.

    • William Thornton says

      Look at it this way: If the survey is skewed it is giving a higher avg. salary than is actually true, which is in the minister’s favor if the church uses the resource.

      • says

        That’s true—but that’s a big “if” in these parts. I know I have never made as much as the average in my 15 years of ministry. Of course, most of us don’t talk specifics so maybe the guy down the road is making more than I realize.

        Although in some ways, the “parsonage” issue may drag the average down. Think about it: technically, those of us who live in parsonages are supposed to report that rental value on taxes (at least, state income tax in Arkansas requires it). So, what happens? The church undervalues that to the tax advantage of the minister.

  19. Louis says

    There is also a survey by the national association of church administrators, or something like that.

    That other survey breaks down the data by denomination, attendance numbers, budget, and years of service.

    This kind of data is very helpful, I believe, to boards and committees that work on these issues. Every church and church culture is different. The salary should fit the culture of the church and performance.

    Surveys like this should only be a tool, not a rule!

          • Dale Pugh says

            I have a 60″. Got it on sale by my wife and I saving cash gifts one Christmas. I also use it for home Bible studies by hooking up my laptop to it with an HDMI cable. That sanctifies the purchase, I believe.

    • Dave Miller says

      We are professionals, in that sense. Professional just means that it is my profession, my source of income. I have no other source of income than as pastor, so I am professional.

      I hope that I am also amateur – a word built off the Latin word for love. I do what I do out of love, but I also get paid.

      Brothers, we are amateur professionals.

      • says

        I love it, Dave! Sounds like a good book idea.

        Adam, G., my neighbor in NC,
        Since I have a “non-ministry” gig for providing for my family and partially financing our mission habit, I don’t ask people for money for doing ministry things (itinerate preaching, music, sound and video production, etc). However, gifts are always welcome, and those typically go directly into the missions account.

  20. Jess Alford says

    It looks as though we had better pray that folks would receive the gift of healing in the church. We would never have to worry about insurance anymore.

  21. cb scott says

    I have now read the post and comments in the thread.

    I must confess that the churches of which I served as pastor took good care of me — they did the best they could do and that was very good in most all cases.

    I want to state that I agree with David R. Brumbelow in his advice to young pastors. Get into the Guidestone annuity plan now. Do not delay. If you have to do without some things you would like to own so you can get into the annuity plan, do without those things. Also, put some money into other retirement plans. Diversify.

    One thing I have noticed through they years is that a lot of pastors are fearful to negotiate their salaries and benefits when they are in the “call” process with a church.

    That is an error. If you have a family, your family is your first priority. BTW, pastor search committees lie. They lie with willful intent. Get all financial agreements in print. Also, many, many preachers lie. Don’t be one of those preachers. Be honest. Tell the truth about your needs. Lastly, don’t be a money hungry, greedy dog.

    • cb scott says

      Another thing. Work for your pay, earn it.

      BTW, if you do the work of a pastor, you will baptize some people. If you never baptize anybody, maybe you need to think about another vocation.

      • Dean says

        CB, how many should we baptize before we get out of ministry. Is one a year or two a year or ten a year the quota?

        • cb scott says

          Dean,

          As did God add to the church at Jerusalem those who were saved, baptize those He adds to the church wherein He has assigned you as you fulfill the Great Commission in a biblical pattern as prescribed plainly in the New Testament.

          God will save people. You baptize them. Don’t worry about the numbers.

          However, if you baptize no one on a continual basis, may you allow me to be so bold to remind you as did Paul remind Timothy:

          Stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

          Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began . . .

          Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

          But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

          Dean, if we are faithful in those things and allow God to use us in accord with His purposes, He will save people in our presence. Baptize those people He saves, and do not worry about how large or small the number may be.

          Your accountability and mine is to be faithful to the mandates of God. The consequences of our faithfulness is in the hands of God. And we know God is faithful. God will save people. Baptize those He saves.

          • says

            CB, I know a man who did all of those things and more for over 16 years in one place without any response to his labor. He worked, he served, he preached, he taught, he evangelized, he prayed, he agonized–all for naught, it would seem. He questioned his value in that church and ministry. The Home Mission Board helped support him through your Cooperative Program gifts. For years his monthly reports looked meager and useless. Others standing on the outside looking in told him he was wasting his time. He was faithful, but the lack of response was a pretty glaring testimonial to his failure as a pastor.
            Then, one day, someone responded. Before he retired from that ministry, some more responded. It was never a deluge of baptisms, but there was a depth to the commitments made which I see lacking on the part of so many responses to the Gospel. After 33 years in that place, he moved on to associational work, and he has now retired. He was and is one of the most respected individuals in the Northwest Baptist Convention. The respect is there because he didn’t give up on his call and sense of purpose in that place.
            People in that community still call on him to be a help to them in times of need. He turned that ministry over to a succession of men who for the past 20 years have driven it into the ground and made that church a mockery in the community. Oh yeah, they were all about the responses to what they did, but they never invested themselves in people’s lives. They wanted the baptisms, but they were unfaithful, ungodly, and unproductive in their work.
            That man is my father-in-law, and there is no one in ministry I would rather emulate more than him. I guess that just isn’t enough, though……

          • cb scott says

            Duckman Dale,

            Great story. I think that story is played out in many places — Men being faithful to the mandates of God, trusting God with the consequences of their faithfulness.

            Your father-in-law was faithful to fulfill the Great Commission in a biblical pattern. God saved people. Obviously, your father-in-law baptized the people God saved.

            Duckman Dale, I realize you did not state what I am about to regarding those who followed him. Let me know if I am way off the mark.

            Maybe those men who followed your father-in-law were like so many in our ranks who are numbers conscience and are willing to take short-cuts and abandon the biblical principles for fulfillment of the Great Commission. Therefore, they did things in the flesh and baptized some people that God had not saved.

            The baptism numbers rose. The membership grew. However, the wolf count increased and the sheep count dwindled. The biblical principles of fulfilling the Great Commission were abandoned and the spiritual health of the flock became one of sickness and death.

            Another possibility is that those who followed did not stay with the flock and patiently and faithfully practice the principles for fulfillment of the Great Commission. They moved on to another place and declared that being faithful does not mean God will save people in their presence and they will then be able to baptize those people God has saved.

            They make those claims, but the truth is that they did not stay where God had assigned them and patiently and faithfully fulfill the Great Commission long enough to see the faithfulness of God.

            Duckman Dale, I think some guys become so obsessed with the numbers they develop false theological excuses for the high number of false baptisms they have and some develop false theological excuses for the lack of baptisms they have.

            Again I state, our job is to be faithful and leave the consequences of our faithfulness to God. Maybe that sounds too simple. Yet, stories like that of your father-in-law continue to be told. Thank God for his faithfulness and let’s pray that another of such faithfulness replaces those who have done harm due to their lack of faithfulness.

          • says

            Well, we are far afield from the original post here, CB, but let me add my personal agreement to your statement. I would, however, caution that we cannot always base what God is doing on a visible result to our own labor. At times, the response may not come for quite some time, and at other times it may not come until we are long gone. We need to take care in how we assess someone else’s “false theological excuses”. God will deal with each of us at our own points of hypocrisy and disobedience.
            By the way, my father-in-law gave me the best advice for ministry I ever received: Be yourself and love people. I try to do that every day. Some days I’m better at it than other days.

          • cb scott says

            Duckman Dale,

            Consider this: You stated, ” We need to take care in how we assess someone else’s “false theological excuses”.

            I agree. We must take care in such an assessment. However, when a person verbalizes or writes that which reveals such a false theological excuse, the assessment is easy to make.

            There are a couple of additional things of which were should be careful.

            1). We should not allow the number of baptisms we have (large or small) to dictate our theology about the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

            2). We should be careful to fulfill the assignment God has given us among the people He has placed us before we move to what we think are “greener pastures.”

            3). We should be careful to obey God, be faithful to fulfill the Great Commission, and baptize those who God saves.

            In addition, there are situations wherein someone else will see the results of our faithfulness to obey God in our ministries. However, those situations are not as frequent as some people declare.