Preach for a Paycheck?
"Hi Rory, I heard you on The Byte Show.
... you said that pastors shouldn't be paid (hired). I have always agreed, but we read something the other day in scripture that said some should be paid. Thanks for taking time to read my email! Wendy"
Should pastors-ministers get paid for their services? YES and NO.
First of all, Jesus warned about "hirelings" and "wolves". We did not know what a church-wolf is except for a few blatant and infamous examples. But even the rich and famous wolves do very nicely these days as they market their names, meetings, books, DVD's, and ministries.
In the Book of Acts church that began in Acts 2, none of the church elders exchanged their ministry for "filthy lucre".
The typical pastor was a working man who supported himself and the weak and needy, as Paul admonished and role-modeled for the "bishops" in Acts 20:35, and most simply gathered in homes.
Never in God's New Testament was a pastor given sole authority over an assembly, or paid, taking tithes or a salary from God's people. There are no "Senior Pastors", "Associate Pastors" "Assistant Pastor", etc in Scripture. Pastors are one of the gifts of ministry, and never singled out for a hired, or salaried position. They were simply "elders", seasoned men of faith.
ANY elder who dedicates his life to prayer and ministry of the Word, and meeting the physical needs of the brethren has a scriptural expectation to partake of the flock and God will see his needs are met, when they live by faith. (rather than an entitlement mindset looking to God's people as their source).
They will never need to extort tithes, gifts, "faith partners", salaries, or manipulate God's people into "giving".
God put the word "extortion" in scripture to describe those that manipulate people to give.
In Acts 20 Paul told the Ephesian elders-bishops, to work with their hands as Paul did, for an example as he was with them for 3 years.
Pastors were not to be exalted above the other ministry gifts in the church such as the prophets and teachers.
There is no scriptural example or command for a pastor to be the solo church "leader". -which is the "Nicolaitane error" form of church structure Jesus of "THIS I HATE".
Later in Paul's ministry, he was supplied by willing brethren in "the matter of giving and receiving", as he lived in a rented house in Rome, and was under house arrest. The apostles in Jerusalem forsook their nets to minister as they said "we will give ourselves to the ministry of the Word prayer".
7) For yourselves know how ye ought to imitate us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
(disorderly means him not working)
8) neither did we eat bread for nothing at any man`s hand, but in labor and travail, working night and day, that we might not burden any of you:
9) not because we have not the right, but to make ourselves and example unto you,
that ye should imitate us. (pastors were not exempted)
10) For even when we were with you, this we commanded you,
If any will not work, neither let him eat.
What Jesus taught His ministers:
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them, saying,
7) "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely ye received, freely give.
Get you no gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses;
no wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food."
------- and they never took up "offerings" for themselves as they went.
We live in a time where nice buildings organizations, followers and money are perceived as signs of God's blessing.
But Jesus and His disciples never said those outward things were signs of blessing.
The scriptural manifestation of the kingdom of God is when demons are cast out, the sick healed, people receive the Holy Ghost and God's people give to meet the needs of the brethren..
Now let's imagine a different style of church overseer.
He is an elder, he may or may not work at a job or business.
He prays, studies the scriptures diligently, and ministers the Word as it is written.
He has no denominational license, no title or Doctorate Degree.
He trusts God and lives by faith in God's promises to provide, heal, protect, and preserve.
He teaches and walks in those promises for himself, in order for others to do likewise.
He knows how to live the faith he preaches without begging for offerings, fund-raising, and is free from the love of money.
He minister in grace and his ministry confirmed by healing and other signs that follow believers..
He literally lives by faith in trusting the Lord to provide either through his work or through brethren the Lord speaks to regarding his needs.
If you want to read who is qualified to be an "overseer" according to the scriptural qualifications, here is a detailed writing for those of you that "desire the office of a bishop".
But as far as the "Now Hiring" sign in the window of the local church, I am sorry. It is not for us nor was it ever given in scripture. Nor were "evangelists" itinerant ministers church-hopping to preach for a paycheck until they could land in an existing church in need of a pastor.