Pastor: How Confidential is Your Salary?

by Dave Miller on January 9, 2013 · 62 comments

We have had a fairly lively discussion of the Rev Dr. Plodder’s post on pastor’s salaries. A few pastors shared that they were paid above average, most claimed to be below average in compensation. I have another question that I thought might be an interesting discussion.

Is your salary public information at the church?

In my experience, it is common practice in smaller churches for the pastor’s salary to be public information.  In larger churches, that information is kept private. Often, the budget is presented with a line item that groups all staff and support staff salaries/expenses/benefits into one line item.

It seems to me that there are competing values here. On the one hand, I serve the people of my church and they have some right to know how much they are paying me. On the other hand, most businesses keep salary information confidential and it is a little embarrassing to have my compensation known to the world.

What does your church do? Does everyone know your salary?

Here’s what we do at Southern Hills Baptist Church where we have three full-time pastors (including me, of course). At our budget business meeting in December we put the complete financial support plan package on the PowerPoint for the church to see – one slide for each of the pastors. Salary, housing, benefits, expense account; its all up there. But the printed budget and the monthly financial reports that we distribute list staff compensation as one line item.  We tell our members that if any of them want to know exactly how much one of the pastors makes, they are free to request that information from the church office (generally not in writing).  That is our attempt to balance salary confidentiality with transparency.

What does your church do?

What should your church do?

1 John Wylie January 9, 2013 at 6:15 pm

My compensation is outlined in the monthly treasurer’s report.

2 Dave Miller January 9, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Is that okay with you?

3 John Wylie January 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm

This is going to sound dumb but it depends on the day you ask me. In one sense I believe every member has a right to know what I make. But, anyone who walks in our church can get a copy of our treasurer’s report even non members and I don’t think I like that. Further, I have had members,and I’m sure you have as well, who get on sort of a power trip in so far as church finances is concerned and often those people are not regular contributors to the church so I don’t like that information given to them.

4 Randall Cofield January 9, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Same here.

I’m ok with it. It engenders sympathy…

5 Jim Shaver January 9, 2013 at 6:36 pm

I believe in transparency in any religious organization when it comes to salaries. My salary is there every month in the treasurer’s report for the entire church to see.

Obviously our SBC Agencies don’t practice such transparency.

I think we always lose something when we are afraid to publish the truth.

6 William Thornton January 9, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Dead on target here, Jim. I have had HR academic type people tell me that when members of an organization have such info withheld they tend to think that folks are paid more than they actually are.

When I have asked SBC entities for salary info (an infrequent occurrence), I have generally gotten answers, usually in a salary range form.

7 volfan007 January 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm

My salary is public info. at every month’s business meeting. I believe the members of my Church have a right to know what I get paid.

David

8 Dale Pugh January 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm

My salary is public info. I don’t have a problem with it. They have a right to that kind of transparency. None of them know what I make in my bi-vo job. Only the treasurer could calculate it based on my tithe. I doubt he cares.

9 Les Prouty January 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm

This is a good topic for discussion. Just last week, or maybe earlier this week, someone on another blog linked to the public info on several noted non-profits and their form 990, required for 501c3 orgs. His point was about Piper stepping down and comparing his lack of salary from Desiringgod.org and other such orgs.

Now I do not pastor a church at this time. But I think if i did, I would want the salary, etc. to be public. I’ve not always felt that way. I too used to cringe when mine was published. But in our era, and maybe this always should have been the case, transparency is so needed. There are many, many people making a lot of $$ in the name of God. Many church people and the most of the world think people are in it for $$$, notwithstanding many “too low” pastoral salaries.

Just my $0.02.

10 Doug Hibbard January 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Mine has been clearer to the deacons for the last 2 years than it was to me. Come to find out, if I had been turning in miles driven for church purposes, I would have been getting reimbursed for them! They just thought I wasn’t going anywhere so I wasn’t needing the money.

Otherwise, it’s all right there in the monthly budget report. I think the church has a right to know how much comes to me from what they give and that includes how much is housing allowance (none), insurance, and reimbursements. Our treasurer prints out the list of checks written and distributes it, so if I am reimbursed for convention, it’s there. If I buy the groceries for a fellowship and get reimbursed, it’s there.

Now, once it’s in my account, the church does not know exactly how I spend it.

And I think, if I were looking for a church home, I would not commit to a church that was not transparent with salaries. I can understand not putting it in the local paper, but two things I think about “joining” an SBC church: don’t join it until you’ve visited all the services and don’t join it until you’ve attended a business meeting. You don’t know the church until you have seen how they handle business. You might have to wait a quarter, but if you have to wait a year? Or forever? That’s not a good thing.

11 Dean January 9, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Dave, mine is not public info. All salaries are listed in one line item. Any member can call treasurer to find out individual salaries.

12 Dave Miller January 9, 2013 at 11:53 pm

With the exception of our budget business meeting, when the numbers are displayed on the screen, that is what we do.

Since we instituted this some years ago, I’ve not had a single complaint. We aren’t keeping anything a secret, we just aren’t putting it out there in every monthly statement.

13 Donald January 9, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Understanding that “…most businesses keep salary information confidential…” even in that situation the one paying the salary knows how much an employee makes. Since the congregation is paying the salary, they absolutely have a right to know. And that right extends beyond any “barrier” such as having to come by the church office and have the secretary tell them.

Is there any good reason to keep you salary from your congregation? Put it on the budget plain as day.

14 Dean January 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Donald, it’s church policy. I don’t hide it. There reason is simple they don’t want you to know if you visit our church. That is information for our members. There is a mindset that is revealed when you say a congregation pays a pastor’s salary. I’m grateful my congregation does not have that attitude and they honestly know I would not change a thing if they could not give me a dime. I would simply have to be a tent maker again.

15 Donald January 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Dean,
Doesn’t your congregation pay your salary? Also, what mindset has been revealed about me?

16 Dean January 9, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Donald, my church doesn’t see me as an expense. I am grateful for their attitude. They do not feel they have right to make demands as individuals because they “pay my salary.”

17 cb scott January 9, 2013 at 11:48 pm

“. . . they honestly know I would not change a thing if they could not give me a dime. I would simply have to be a tent maker again.”

A written manifestation of the heart of a “called out” man. May your tribe increase.

18 Randall Cofield January 9, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Indeed…

19 John Wylie January 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

What I’m about to relate here is from the other Baptist church in our small town. A particular person in the community started attending the church and so he went to the business meeting one Sunday night. On the financial report was a line item showing a check to the pastor for $400 for salary. The man asked, “No more than the pastor does why are we paying him $400 a month?” Some members of the church informed the man that it was $400 per week, at which point the man went stark raving mad exited the church and never returned. My point? Some people, quite frankly, are too ignorant to be privy to certain information.

20 Ryan Abernathy January 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm

We publish salaries in one lump line item. It is no ones business what an individual staff person makes. I don’t ask each of them what they make why should they know what I am paid.

The attitude that their tithes are “paying” me is sad. Tithes are given to God. To imply that a person who tithes deserves to know how much of that tithe is given in salary implies that it is a payment for services rendered. Which it is not.

Staff salaries are set by our elder council and overseen by our CPA. I have never had anyone in eight years be concerned because they did not know what my exact salary is.

21 William Thornton January 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Ryan, why is it not their business? Is this not a rather arrogant statement?

22 Ryan Abernathy January 9, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Why is it arrogant William? Do you demand to know the salaries of everyone in your church? Finances are a private matter. In every business I have ever been in, salaries are held close to the vest. No one knows how much I make at my full time job. No one asks.

Why does the church have a “right” to know what their pastor or church secretary makes? Can you give me a scriptural precedent for it?

My opinion, and only my opinion, generally the people who want to know how much a pastor makes only want to know because they suspect he is “overpaid” because he only works one day a week.

What’s interesting at the church I pastor, which is made up primarily of the unchurched and dechurched, no one has ever asked for a salary breakdown in eight years of existence. Seems to me the people who get all up in arms about “what the pastor makes” are typically “church” people who think they own the pastor because they tithe.

Doesn’t that sound arrogant?

23 Joe Blackmon January 9, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Yes, it does. Likely, William is not donating money to the places those people work. However, people who donate money to a church most certainly have the right to know exactly how every penny is spent including salary.

24 William Thornton January 10, 2013 at 7:53 am

Yes, it does, but please, keep going.

The more you write here, the more you present your congregation as consumers or as customers than as partners in common ministry, i.e., they are giving units to an enterprise where they have no rights whatsoever to know or even to inquire as to the use of their donations, and I suspect no rights to do the same for any other decision made by pastors or elders. The concept appears thus far to consider that the infantilization of the membership is both an unstated goal and a desired outcome.

The best that could be said is that these people, for whatever reason, have voluntarily agreed to such a system. Fine by me. Let’s just call that for what it is, a breathtakingly arrogant. The pastor and elders own the enterprise. Those who support it are neither members nor shareholders but customers.

Please, don’t embarrass yourself by demanding a scriptural reference for being open and transparent. That is just silly.

Please, don’t embarrass yourself by disparaging the motivation of all who might wish to know how donations are utilized. That is disrespectful.

Please, don’t embarrass yourself by making the ridiculuous comparison between the salary that they pay you and the salary that you do not pay them.

If you were a public employee your compensation was available to all. If you were an officer in a public corporation your compensation would have been regularly published. I suspect that you already know this but conveniently ignore it and hope no one notices.

It is arrogant not because you have explained why such information should be witheld from those who are a part of your organization (you haven’t, nor will you, because you claim this as a birthright, not something that must be justified and because if someone ever did ask you would not even attempt to answer but rather would blame and disparage them for asking) but because you have stated that “it is not their business” and you have implied that for them to ask that of you is an affront to God and a violation of God’s Word. You have added an additional note of arrogance by disparaging the “typically ‘church’ people” elsewhere.

I would let this lie save for the fact that you volunteered what your organization’s policy is and have justified it as you have. You are certainly free to organize and control your group as you do and it is not the business of any of us outsiders but if you offer it for public consideration here, you should have no expectation that it will not be criticized.

25 cb scott January 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

William Thornton,

I tip my hat to you as you have spoken well to the core essence of congregational governance The true NT model) and healthy church life.

26 Ryan Abernathy January 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

William,
I have always enjoyed your writings and found you to be a fairly reasonable man. So I want to respond to your words here and let this be my final take on the subject.

1. “you present your congregation as consumers or as customers than as partners in common ministry”- nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, every member at our church sees themselves as a partner in ministry- serving in every area from teaching, to music, to outreach, to cleaning. We are a completely bi-vo/volunteer operation. Everyone who is a member serves somewhere. Please compare that to the average SBC church where 20% of the people typically do 80% of the work.

2. “they have no rights whatsoever to know or even to inquire as to the use of their donations, and I suspect no rights to do the same for any other decision made by pastors or elders.”- That’s actually not even close to true. Our elder council has three paid staff members on it and 4 unpaid elders. The salary packages for staff are set by the non-paid elders and not all paid staff are on the elder council. The budget is presented to the membership every December- with staff salaries as a lump sum line item- and the overall budget is approved by members. We retain a CPA outside our congregation who oversees expenditures and anyone who wants to can ask anything they want about the budget including staff salaries- as I have indicated no one has ever chosen to do so. Further, our elder council meetings are open to anyone- even non-members- and guests to these meetings are allowed to ask questions, share info, etc. Part of our elder responsibilities include regular contact with church members in the elder’s area of oversight/leadership so that issues, concerns , and questions can be brought to the elder council and dealt with. The elders are accountable to the church and I am accountable to our council.

3. “The concept appears thus far to consider that the infantilization of the membership is both an unstated goal and a desired outcome.”- I fail to see how not making individual salaries general knowledge makes anyone into an infant. We have individuals in our church who are gifted with finances who work with our finances. We have others who are not gifted with finances but who are gifted in construction working on our building. Why would we want to take someone’s gifts and talents and take them off of Kingdom to work to be burdened with budgeting issues? It makes no sense. We want people to grow and use their skills and talents and gifts that God has given to them in the best manner for the Kingdom. That’s biblical as far as I can tell. It builds maturity, not infantilization.

4. “If you were a public employee your compensation was available to all. If you were an officer in a public corporation your compensation would have been regularly published.”- had to check with my CPA on this one. The ED of a not for profit typically has his/her compensation published in the yearly corporate filings. No other employee’s salary is required to be publicly revealed. Different corporations may have different internal rules, but that is what is required. Public, government employees are different and I guess you are comparing the offerings given to a church to the taxes paid to a government when you make that statement. I don’t see the church’s offering that way and I don’t think the Bible sees it that way either. I’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

5. “Please, don’t embarrass yourself by demanding a scriptural reference for being open and transparent. That is just silly.”- There is a difference between being open and transparent and letting everyone know your financial business. I asked for the biblical references because there are none and you know there are none. The interest in what a pastor makes is an American phenomenon and is a result of the professionalization of the ministry- which I despise. Can you see someone asking Paul or James or Peter- “So how much are we paying you again?” It’s truthfully just rude to ask someone how much money they make. You would not do it to anyone else. Why should someone who works for a church be subject to that?

6. “Please, don’t embarrass yourself by disparaging the motivation of all who might wish to know how donations are utilized. That is disrespectful.”- I might agree with you if I had not seen this first hand on too many occasions. I’m strident on this issue because of personal experience. When I started in church work fresh out of college, I took a youth ministry job at a low wage, thinking that if I did well and served well that my salary would increase proportionally. The church I served published each pastor’s salary, housing, insurance, etc as an individual line item. Over the course of the first year, through God’s grace I know now, the student ministry exploded. My raise the following year was 2.5%. I was devastated. My wife and I were barely making it. I went to the budget chairman and asked what I had done wrong. His response. Nothing. Everyone was very pleased and they wanted to give me a larger raise, but could not because if they gave me a higher percentage raise than other staff member it would give the appearance of favoritism- even though the 2.5% raise in my salary amounted to less than $2000 a year and the $2000 raise in other. Long tenured staff members salaries resulted in raises of $4000-$6000 a year. All because individual salaries were public. Two years later, my publicly published salary was questioned- I was being paid too much- because my wife worked and why did they need to pay me more if she was working?

Anyhow, all this happened 15+ years ago, but it stayed in my mind as we began to plant a church. How do we protect our pastor’s privacy, pay them for their time, and not subject them to what I endured? And truthfully, others endure.
I know my personal story sounds like a business guy who wanted to be paid what he was worth. That was me then, and now I see it was not a correct attitude for someone called to ministry. I’ve repented of that attitude of being “paid what I’m worth” because I know it’s God who gives the increase and He and He alone determines my “worth.” That still does not mean that a person who is in ministry should not be able to keep their finances private or make them public just like any other person.

I agree with a lot of what you write William and I know we are going to disagree on this one. I’m not opposed to criticism and I hope I’ve responded to your questions in a way that at least absolves some of the criticisms you have had of me and the church I am blessed to serve. I don’t want to reply any further in this forum, because I don’t think anything else I say is going to change anyone’s mind, but if you have further questions or critiques I’ll be happy to respond to any and all emails, and via email I’d happily pass on my phone number if you’d like to talk. My email is ryan@westmetro.org.

27 Dave Miller January 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I’m not sure this discussion needs be nearly as pointed as it has become.

One thing I’ve learned in dealing with lots of churches is that there are a lot of ways to do church. Each makes some sense and has some problems.

After a lot of thought and biblical consideration, I’ve not come to join the “we need elders” movement that so many think is important. I see the biblical evidence differently.

So, my church will operate the way we believe and other churches can operate as they believe. Unless the church is fully elder ruled (and I think that is rare among the SBC) then it still qualifies as a congregational church.

By the way, the most elder-run church I’ve ever been in was my first pastorate in Virginia. We just called them deacons!

28 William Thornton January 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Ryan gets a gold star for managing to push every button, pull every trigger, and utilize every irritant that I have in the area of churches, ministers, and money…and SBC VPs cannot be wrong so I will attempt to ameliorate my brusque statements to Ryan. I do not withdraw any of them, however.

I object to the attitude that church members do not have a right to know anything about their church. Ryan’s presentation perhaps was overly colored by his previous unfortunate experience as a paid minister; nonetheless, I see nothing much in the way he approached it that could not be utilized by any level of SBC life – church, association, state convention, SBC entities.

“Trust the Lord and tell the people” may not have a chapter and verse but it is a sound principle, much to be preferred over “you don’t need to know that.”

I would hope that in time he might understand how an attitude that tells a church member he or she has certain rights and is denied others by a ruling board is unhealthy.

…like I said, I’ve passed the age of irascibility.

29 Dave Miller January 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

“…and SBC VPs cannot be wrong”

William gets the gold star here!

30 Dave Miller January 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I put some of my thoughts on this subject into a post on elder leadership and congregationalism.

31 Donald January 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm

“Staff salaries are set by our elder council”

’nuff said.

32 Ryan Abernathy January 9, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Your point?

33 Donald January 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm

“The attitude that their tithes are “paying” me is sad.”

And yet…accurate. Do you think that they don’t know that their tithes (not a NT concept, BTW) are paying church expenses?

34 Ryan Abernathy January 9, 2013 at 11:24 pm

They are not buying shares of stock Donald.

Big difference.

And you’re right, the NT example is giving sacrificially not the OT tithe concept. I used the word b/c I believe it had been used previously and didn’t want to confuse the issue.

The concept remains the same. Church members are not shareholders. They are not looking for an ROI or paying for a seat on the board. They are supposed to be giving in response to what God has done for them and in obedience to His command. To take the position of, “I gave this money so I have a right to know what’s being paid to Pastor So and So” is not in keeping with Paul’s command to give cheerfully and not reluctantly. (See 2 Corinthians 9)

35 Donald January 10, 2013 at 11:54 pm

I do not disagree. Mostly, I said what I said because the OP made reference to “On the other hand, most businesses keep salary information confidential…” We can’t have it where we hide salaries because they do it in business, and then expect our members to be spiritual enough to not care what we make.

There is no wrong in being open, transparent even, with those people who cheerfully give of their blessings so that we can draw a salary. There is something, somehow wrong if we try to hide it, or put barriers to that information from the members of the church.

36 Joe Blackmon January 9, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Very, VERY accurate.

37 William Thornton January 9, 2013 at 8:27 pm

I favor openness and transparency. I always saw to it that any member who had a financial question got an answer. The idea of making members call and ask is offensive to many in that it is an expression of power and indirect intimidation. One church I know requires a member to physically come to the office where they must sign a non disclosure statement before being shown the info in the presence of a staff member – clearly this is intimidation.

I do recognize that large and megachurches do not wish for members to know who makes what nor in many cases for staff members to know what each other makes.

Local churches may do what their members allow but I’m with Doug in this.

As an aside all officers in public corporations have their compensation published, and all public employees do so as well. Charities must file the IRS forms that disclose financial info (such as that one prominent female SBC speaker is sitting on $6 mil cash, but never mind that and enjoy your $60k salary pittance).

My church used to report all checks written but I dropped that because it was unnecessary and excessive. I did have done search committee request my 1040s but I told them to take a hike.

38 Johnathon Powell January 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm

My salary is printed every month and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Since I also give to the church I have no problem with church members wanting to know how the money they sacrificialy give (and these people do give sacrificialy) is spent. I believe being open and transparent in the beginning avoids many more problems than it creates.

39 Frank L. January 9, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Post: “How Confidential is your salary?”

Answer: I don’t even know what it is for sure. I never see the checks. They go straight to my wife (who is also the Director of our preschool).

That’s pretty confidential when I don’t even know what it is.

40 Jess Alford January 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm

frank L.

Amen on not seeing your check. I haven’t seen one in 30 years.
My wife told me the Bible says, we are more than conquerers.
She said I was the conquerer, and she was more than a conquerer
so she gets the checks.

41 Adam G. in NC January 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm

best. answer. ever.

42 Jess Alford January 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm

I have always been a bi-vo pastor. In our monthly business meetings, every check that was written the previous month is read in the treasures report. Nothing private, I was always the only one that received a salary except for the one that cleaned the church.

I have never had anyone complain about my salary, If someone ever
complained, I would have asked if they wanted me to leave and if they did I knew where the door was. That’s one of the benefits of being a bi-vo pastor. I have never been fired I have always been wanted.

43 cb scott January 10, 2013 at 7:31 am

“I have never had anyone complain about my salary, If someone ever
complained, I would have asked if they wanted me to leave and if they did I knew where the door was. That’s one of the benefits of being a bi-vo pastor. I have never been fired I have always been wanted.”

Wise statement. Yes, a wise statement indeed, Jess Alford.

44 peter lumpkins January 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm

CB,

Don’t you have anything more important to do in raising money for your school than piddle-diddle on this blog and hurt people’s feelings, you cantankerous old crank? You ought to be ashamed. By the way, how much do you make at your new job? As a Georgia Baptist, I have a right to know. I may raise that as a question at the next GBC.

With that, I am…
Peter

45 cb scott January 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Peter Lumpkins,

As has always been the case, I make more than I am worth, but I smile when they give me my check and then laugh all the way to the bank.

46 Dave Miller January 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Hey, CB, get a smart phone. Then you can make your bank deposit by internet! And you can just sit at your desk snickering.

47 Dave Miller January 10, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Wise comment, Peter.

I always support anything that could possibly get under CB’s skin!

48 Bruce H. January 10, 2013 at 4:32 am

Does a pastor accept a call to a church before he knows his salary? How much does the salary determine God’s calling? I don’t think I would want to know my salary before I proved God’s will in the calling.

49 cb scott January 10, 2013 at 7:24 am

Many people think it is a sign of tremendous faith or spiritual maturity to say they never want to know the compensation they will receive before taking an assignment as pastor to a church.

However, that is not really the case. That is simply pseudo-spirituality and a lack of wisdom in how to seek the will of God. It can also be a revelation of the sin haughtiness and pride masquerading as spirituality. . . and most often is the case.

There is a principle revealed in Luke 14:28-35 that deserves consideration when a man is seeking to know God’s will about taking the role of pastor of a local church.

To serve as a pastor of a church and be a “tent maker” to enable oneself to serve can often be the right thing to do and should never be avoided if God’s revealed will is to do so.

However, to take the role of pastor of a church not knowing how one will be able to feed his family and provide adequate leadership and ministry is a grave error on the part of many.

It is my opinion that a man who takes the position of pastor of a church without proper knowledge as to how provision will be made to care for his family and his ministry to the church is in violation of the principles of righteous living as revealed 1Timothy 5:8.

Such a man does harm to his family, the local church to which he has become pastor, and reflects poorly on the high calling of the ministry of the gospel of Christ. The call and assignment to shepherd the flocks of God is serious business and should be entered into as such.

How shall a man build a house if he does not first count the cost?

50 Bruce H. January 10, 2013 at 8:36 am

I do not disagree with anything you have said, cb. The point I would make is that the salary should be presented last so there is no means for the flesh to get into the decision making process. I think the church and the pastor would be able to determine God’s will prior to the salary offer. I would certainly want to know the financial health of the church to see if they could pay me what they offer, too.

Regarding the publishing of salaries, I never did like that. There is a level of trust that must be there.

51 cb scott January 11, 2013 at 8:08 am

Bruce H.,

I am going to take something you stated in your comment and make another point about negotiating with men who may become the pastor of the local church to which you belong.

Be careful. If a guy allows the “flesh get into the decision making process” about his compensation for his pastoral ministries to your church, he may also be strongly inclined to let the “flesh get into the decisions” about other things in his personal life and his ministry to the church.

Bruce H., the manner in which a pastoral candidate approaches the issue of church finances and his personal compensation reveals much about his spiritual maturity and his fitness to shepherd a local church.

Therefore, bring the subject up early in negotiation and discuss it at length.

BTW, do credit and criminal background checks on any man you get serious about as a candidate to serve as pastor to your local church. If he balks about allowing a credit and criminal background check, drop him from consideration like you would a cotton-mouth moccasin. He may very well be one.

52 Bruce H. January 11, 2013 at 8:27 pm

cb, agreed completely.

Finances of both a church and its leadership are critical. Ruling your own house from a financial standpoint will produce and/or exercise faith. The borrower is servant to the lender. Our Muslim friends are taking over our country through hotels and convenience stores by paying as they go. If our churches taught the principles of finance and lived them, I think the church would have greater influence in our nation. Unfortunately, we have borrowed and proclaimed that we are living by faith when we are only living from tithe to tithe (paycheck to paycheck) and we are suffering from it. What we do with money speaks volumes.

53 Dale Pugh January 11, 2013 at 10:16 am

Bruce H.,
In speaking with pastor search committees in the past, I have always made a point of talking openly about the finances as soon as they say, “If you have any questions, please let us know.” I ask for a copy of the most recent budget and monthly financial reports. I think it’s fair and proper to do so.
If they are serious about the process, then we should ask serious questions of them. They will ask serious questions of us. We will be scrutinized. Our wives will be “interviewed”. Our children will be given the “once over”. Our backgrounds will be checked. Our credit reports will be requested. Should we not hold that local church accountable as well? Should we not point out their own inconsistencies and weaknesses as they would ours? I’m not talking about a tit-for-tat approach at all. Churches need to be challenged in how they provide for their staff members. If they can do better, then they should. It is, in my opinion, a matter of proper stewardship to do so.
The prospective pastor is in a unique position to help provide some clarity in the church assessing itself and it’s future ministry. This applies to many different areas, some less “fleshly” than others, but it applies no less to the finances of the church. There may be some very clear indicators of the spiritual health of the church to be found within the line items of that church’s budget and financial reports.

54 cb scott January 11, 2013 at 10:50 am

Excellent comment.

I think I have found my twin brother. I got lost when I fell out of the back of the Pick-up on the way home from the hospital where we were born . . . or maybe . . .Duckman Dale pushed me out.

55 Dale Pugh January 11, 2013 at 10:52 am

You got all the hair.

56 Dave Miller January 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Please, o, please. Please tell me that CB Scott does not have a twin!!

57 Bruce H. January 11, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Dale,

I wish the church could get away from the way the world interviews. I think you have made some very good points. We should be raising up men who could take over the pastorate at any time within our churches. We should have an Associate Pastor who could step in as Senior Pastor at any time even if he is not full time or part time. I think part of a pastor’s job is to equip the people or a person to be able to stand alone for a lengthy period of time until a new pastor is found or someone is selected from the existing congregation. At least attempt it. The church should be prepared at all times for change. We need to break the mold and stay away from nepotism as much as possible, too. Much can be said and needs to be said. This would be a great Bible Conference topic. Churches need to be awakened to this.

58 Dale Pugh January 12, 2013 at 12:14 am

I believe we should expect pastor search committees to do their jobs thoroughly and with due diligence. The prospective pastor should put as much effort into the process as is possible. He is, after all, going to be the one uprooting his family to make the move. All parties involved should be open, honest, and forthright with information. Any church that refuses to “face the music”, so to speak, should be avoided by any serious pastoral candidate. Maybe too often he is just looking for a way out of a bad situation and the opportunity presented is all he has available. That’s a terrible reason to accept a pastoral call. It happens too many times, though. It’s bad for the pastor, his family, and the church.

59 William Thornton January 10, 2013 at 8:01 am

Please, take CB’s wise counsel here. He is right.

I would add only that a pastor or prospective pastor who thinks it unspiritual to discuss such things is withholding from his congregation or prospective congregation an important part of his pastoral leadership.

60 Bruce H. January 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Agreed.

61 Doug Hibbard January 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm

My question on the “You can have the information if you come to the church office and ask for it” method is this:

What happens to those church members whose work hours overrun when the office is open? You know, the people working shifts, having commutes, etc…that do not have the luxury to come by when you are there? Are you not setting up that those with free time during the day are granted more insight to the church than those without it?

62 Jon Estes January 23, 2013 at 11:40 am

Where I pastor, transparency is key. Everyone who wants to know knows. Now, we have not had a budget in 3 years and, due to not meeting quorum, we have not had to pass out a financial statement. They are available through the church office and no one has yet to ask for one.

We are meeting expenses most weeks. We are spending little but trusting greatly. God is asking big things and the people are stepping up to the table to help, give and go.

As a side note,my salary package was voted on at the first of the year to line up with IRS. We did this immediately following the AM service with no questions, no comments just 100% vote. And I make above the average that was listed in Williams post over on the plodder site. That’s even after I took a 10% cut two years ago to help income vs expenditures.

God is good, whether we agree or not.

jle

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