Specialized Ministry — September 2008
By Cathy Gillum, State Women’s Ministries President, Missouri
"Caring for the Shepherd"
I was recently asked to teach a workshop on how to “adequately” care for your shepherd, and I found some alarming statistics.
90% of pastors work more than 46 hours a week;
80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively;
70% feel they are fairly paid, and 30% feel under paid;
40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
Bill Bright Research:
54% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce;
70% fight depression;
80% of pastors and 84% of spouses feel unqualified;
50% are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry, but have no other way of making a living;
80% of pastors’ spouses feel their spouse is overworked/unrealistic expectations;
80% of adult children of pastors surveyed have had to seek professional help for depression;
70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid;
80% of pastors’ wives feel left out and unappreciated by members;
Less than 10% of ministers worldwide have ever had formal Bible/Seminary training.
Considering these MASSIVE challenges facing YOUR pastor, we can appreciate what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13:
And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves (NKJV).
Hebrews 13:17: Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you (NKJV).
Just like in days of old with David, pastors need people. Most sheep do not understand the incredible demands or expectations that are upon the shepherds.
Read 1 Chronicles 12:16-18; 21, 22: Then some of the children of Benjamin and Judah came to David at the stronghold. And David went out to meet them, and answered and said to them, ‘If you have come peaceable to me to help me, my heart will be united with you; but if to betray me to my enemies, since there is no wrong in my hands, may the God of our fathers look and bring judgment.’ Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the captains, and he said:
‘We are yours, O David;
We are on your side, O son of Jesse!
Peace, peace to you,
And peace to your helpers!
For your God helps you.’
So David received them, and made them captains of the troop. And they helped David against the bands of raiders, for they were all mighty men of valor, and they were captains in the army. For at that time they came to David day by day to help him, until it was a great army, like the army of God (NKJV).
What are some of the things you can do for your pastor?
- PRAY FERVENTLY
- BE RESPECTFUL AND COURTEOUS
- GIVE GENEROUSLY
- SERVE JOYFULLY
COMPENSATE APPROPRIATELY (1 Timothy 5:17, 18)
You may choose to use the pay scale provided by the Church of God International Offices or search the Internet to find a similar structure.
Remember anniversaries, birthdays and holidays.
- Provide paid seminars and retreats when available.
- Provide continuing education where funds are available.
- Pastors are human beings and err occasionally.
- Their spouses and children are human beings—be merciful as you would for your own children and grandchildren.
How can a church begin to care for the shepherd?
- Set up a committee or board
Their sole responsibility is to care for the shepherd and spouse and their children’s spiritual, emotional and financial needs
How can a church that is financially unstable help compensate the pastor’s wages?
- Present the need to the church
- As the church grows, so should his income and benefits
(Set up a board to oversee the care of a pastor and family)
Provide insurance when possible
Savings account for medical expense (if insurance is not affordable)
Provide life insurance and pension plan
- Parsonage vs. housing allowance
A housing allowance allows a pastor to have equity when he retires
NO-COST WAYS TO INCREASE PASTOR’S PAY:
- Add a week of vacation
- Grant a study leave
- Offer a sabbatical
- Offer housing equity
- Offer a getaway place
- Donate air miles
- Loan a vehicle (RV, boat, plane)
- Share tickets (Six Flags, professional sport games, etc.)
- Offer free babysitting
- Extend guest memberships (athletic club, gym)
- Volunteer expertise (start with a one-time donor as not to abuse)
- Prepare tax returns
- Fix car
- Mow lawns
- Iron clothing
- Program computers
- Remember to honor the man of God (and his family) and celebrate ministry!
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”