I honestly cannot personally give a strong theological dispute to people who say that pastors should not be paid a decent wage. I just have not studied it enough. So, this is my disclaimer: I am not in anyway saying that my husband and I should be paid more or less when I discuss this topic. I am not even referring to how much we get paid and whether it is enough or not. We are blessed by God continually and are always able to pay what is necessary. Please do not take this post as my being upset about our pay. I am not upset about our pay! The only reason I am even talking about this is because I have come across many people lately who do not feel that pastors should be paid a living wage. There are some who feel that, like Paul, every minister should be a tent maker. This post is my small attempt at giving you, my readers, what little information I have on the subject.

First of all, I believe that while Paul did not accept a regular payment for his services, he never told us that others shouldn’t. In fact he says the opposite. Russell Earl Kelley (REK) quoted Acts 20:19-35. I think the really key verses he is referring to here are verses 33-35:

“I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

I don’t believe Paul is saying what REK believes he is saying. Paul has provided for himself, but I cannot find where he ever condemned other Godly ministers for not providing completely for themselves. Here he is saying by hard work for God we will spread the gospel and be blessed. He doesn’t seem to say that if you receive payment you won’t be blessed. He says we must do what we can to help God’s cause with as little material things as possible. I am really not trying to make myself look good when I say that we don’t get paid a lot, but we make it with God’s provision and we are still able to tithe and give more than 10% to missions as well. So, through what others have given to the church, which has then been paid to us as salary, we have blessed others. We have also blessed others by living as frugally as we can and not demanding a high wage.

A second passage that I would like to highlight is Luke 10:1-16.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.

“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Here, Jesus himself, tells the 72 that they should be paid for their ministry. How can you believe otherwise? Really, do I need to say anything more? Jesus has told us to pay our ministers. Sure, it was in food and shelter, but isn’t that what our salary pays for? I am not proposing that ministers be rich, but that they are in fact, worthy of their wages: the wages that anyone else would make for a comparable job.

In my other post I said that I think that the district officials should be paid well. As one who helps to pay them, through my tithes, I am allowed to say that. I am allowed to say, I want to bless them. Just like when the people in my own church choose to pay my husband and I a wage in order to bless us. How can that be wrong? I know that the district also uses what they receive to give to missions and provide all of us in this district with more opportunities to give and more opportunities that we can share with our congregations so that they can be blessed by blessing others.

The Assemblies of God position paper on ordination (please do read it in its entirety by clicking the link) states,

Responsibilities of Those Ministered To (by an ordained person)
It is the responsibility of those to whom one ministers to:

    1. Accept him as God’s messenger (Luke 10:16; 1 Corinthians 4:1; Galatians 4:14).
    2. Pray for him (Romans 15:30; 2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 6:18, 19; Hebrews 13:18).
    3. Love and respect him (2 Corinthians 8:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 5:12, 13).
    4. Follow and obey him (1 Corinthians 11:1, 16:16; Philippians 3:17; Hebrews 13:7, 17).
    5. Support him generously financially (1 Corinthians 9:7-14; Galatians 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:17, 18).

Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. Paul is pointing out here that we must eat and survive just like the oxen. While we are out fighting for God’s kingdom to come more fully down among us, there are things which we need. If we can work as a tent maker, than we can by all means support ourselves, but we also need to realize that the more that the ministers can focus on ministering the better God’s kingdom wile fare.
1 Corinthians 9: 7-14 (NIV)

Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Galatians 6:6 (NIV)

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:17-18 (NIV)

If you don’t feel that it is right to bless a minister of God’s Word with a living wage, then I am sad for you because you are missing out on the blessings that come from being obedient and from blessing others. I, for one, will continue to happily give my tithe to the district officials so that they can live without constantly worrying about paying the bills. I would rather have them working to do God’s work; whether that be making sure the ministers under them are healthy and able to do their work or going overseas to help a missionary for a week or preaching in another pastor’s pulpit OR even just doing the paperwork involved their jobs. Even the paperwork is necessary to the running of our district.

Here are some other quotes I found on the internet:

Paul used an interesting analogy while writing to Timothy. “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain” (1 Timothy 5:18, NIV). Paul was referring to the practice of allowing an ox to eat the grain that fell on the ground as the ox was treading around a millstone. In the surrounding verses, we see that Paul wanted Timothy to know that it is very appropriate for church members to take care of the financial needs of their pastor. Your pastor focuses his energy on the spiritual needs of your church. It is very proper for church members to tangibly show appreciation for this and take care of him financially. According to Leadership magazine, the average pastor’s total gross pay (salary, housing, employment tax) is about $35,000. The typical man does not enter the ministry to get rich. The call of God on his life and the desire to advance the kingdom of Christ are his banner. Church members who want to financially take care of their pastor must understand the two important points described below. Diligence in these areas can lead to providing more tax-free money to your pastor and better supplying his family’s needs.
How Should You Pay Your Pastor? by Mark Robbins, CPA

Steve Paul, president and founder of ChurchPayroll.com is quoted on Christianity Today as saying, “A church that is unwilling to pay its pastor reasonable compensation is dooming itself to mediocrity.”

Those are the things that have been running around in my head since I wrote the first tithing post and especially since yesterday afternoon. Please do not take my word for anything. Do your own research. I may be a pastor, but I am fallible and I am definitely not a theologian.