I used to be paid to be a pastor - but now I'm not
this leads to some interesting and often amusing conversations (at least for me)
they usually go something like this:
"oh, so what are you doing now since you left the church?" - polite congregant
"I actually didn't leave the church, I'm just not paid anymore." - post-pro-pastor
(confused look)...."hmmmm, so what are you doing now that you're not a pastor?"
"I actually think I'm still a pastor, but I work a couple jobs to pay the bills."
"Well, good for you...do you ever think you'll get back into the ministry again?"
"If you mean professional pastoring, I doubt it, but I've been wrong before."
"Ok, we just miss having you around."
(now laughing) "I'm right here."
during this post-pro-pastor journey, many assumptions and paradigms have been brought to light
do pastors have to be paid to fulfill the office of pastor?
should pastors consider their role as an office at all?
is there legitimacy to the role of tent-making?
and so forth
returning to the picture of the body of Christ, my desire is to see every body part function wholly in concert together with no part being held as more or less integral
but my concern is that if we attach significance and importance to specific parts through monetary compensation, then we are indeed perpetuating an unnecessary hierarchy and creating a potentially unhealthy body - separating 'clergy' from 'layity'
it becomes a seemingly natural expectation that those who are paid to do a 'job' should do the bulk of the work (after all, that's what they're paid for) and all too often other body parts are mistakenly disempowered to fulfill their own crucial roles in the body
instead, the non-clergy are encouraged to play support roles: teaching sunday school, singing on 'worship teams' and other un-paid duties that have become engrained in what church should look like
*disclaimer: I am not belittling sunday school teachers and worship teams in any way, but calling into question the dichotomy that seems to exists
what if every member, gifted by the Holy Spirit served alongside other parts in unity?
what if each one saw their gift(s) as being just as integral as the next's?
it's difficult to rectify this when one class of Christians is being paid to use their gifts and the other class is expected to use their gifts for free
so the result are many:
- there are pastors who earnestly desire the people of their church to serve wholeheartedly, yet find it difficult to connect them into fulfilling ministry
- there are many people who sacrificially serve day in and day out, yet do not see what they do as integral to the body of Christ
- we, the Church, are not fully being who we are called to be because the vast majority of us are only expected to bring people to the building the church owns (as long as it's not too embarrassing) and volunteer an hour or two at the same building and hopefully give some money (more about that later)
it's time to change