God, may I never be a paycheck pastor!
Ok, what do I mean by that? Two thoughts…
1. My hope and desire is that my ministry role or job will never become about a paycheck.
For instance. A few months ago I was speaking on a retreat and I had a great conversation with a youth pastor. Someone whom I admire a ton, but they’re in a very hard season of life. They know without a shadow of doubt that don’t they fit at their current church and that God is calling them elsewhere. Their heart isn’t there and they aren’t in alignment with the leadership of the church. But, there in a tricky spot. They’re afraid that if they let their Pastor know, they could be released from their position. That’s actually quite common.
They’re a Paycheck Pastor. They are there because they need a job.
I mean, we have responsibilities and bills and we can’t just leave a paying job. Right?!? So, some pastors stay. They stay for either two very valid reasons: the sake of either being a long hauler and because they need to take care of their responsibilities.
But, are those the right reasons to stay? Maybe, maybe not. If their heart is not there and they don’t believe in the direction of the church, or they know God is calling them elsewhere, should they stay just for those reasons? Should they try to stick it out and make things better? Can they make them better? Can they help get the leadership in alignment?
One of my biggest regrets in life is that I didn’t stay longer in some of my ministry positions. I have often wondered what it would have been like if I just stayed at my first church…or the second…or the third…etc.
I have TREMENDOUS respect for youth pastors, children pastors and senior pastors that have built ministry careers at the same Church. I so admire their longevity and the impact that comes with that. And, I have often beat myself up that I didn’t stick in there longer at a few of the Churches I had the honor of being apart of.
But, for me personally, there were a few stops along the way that I just knew that I knew that God was calling me elsewhere. And, there was a stop or two that I knew wasn’t the right fit for me and never would be.
And, I’ve met dozens and dozens of ministry staff who wished they would have left years ago, but they feel stuck.
So, the question I asked myself was…was it fair to my family and the church if I stayed and wasn’t really ‘all in’?
2. My hope and desire is that the paycheck wouldn’t drive me to be a Pastor.
Yes, Pastors have to earn a living. Yes, we have to take care of our families. But, my goodness, the work of a Pastor is a special gift from God. It’s an honor and I never want to do it just to receive a paycheck.
I’m basically a volunteer Pastor right now. It’s true. I get to lead a non-profit that helps schools, but wherever I go, I always have my Pastor hat on and I love it.
- I love praying for people around town.
- I love texting people and letting them know I’m praying for them.
- I love sending scripture to people.
- I love teaching from God’s word.
- I love studying scripture and explaining it to others.
- I love connecting with people
After 18 years of being employed by churches, I have spent all last year praying about my next run in ministry.
My dream is that the next 18 years will be at the same place, for a long time.
And that it will never be about a paycheck, but my love for God and my love for others.