Supporting your Pastor:
Suggestions for churches and members
By David Cox
[G18] v1 ©2008
This tract can be freely reproduced for non-profit use
And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour 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. And be at peace among yourselves. 1Th 5:12-13
Why should you support your pastor?
First we should observe that the ministry in which he works is the work of God. It is the commandment of God that every believer attends, supports, and participates in a good local church. This is simply essential to your Christian life. People who do not want to be a part of a local church with an exemplary man of God (the pastor) leading it, are very disoriented in their Christian life and in what the work of God is. A good biblical local church is central and essential in the life of every successful Christian.
Every church is defined by its ministers and the ministry that they perform there. The minister is the key, and the most important minister is the leader, the pastor. A good man of God as leader and administrator of a church makes all the difference in the world, and makes that church either a great blessing to all or makes it into a cult.
The ministry is something very difficult. First, the job of all pastors is to spiritually minister to his people. The minister is always going to deal with the spiritual problems of the members; therefore the pastor has to orientate the church about the problems, exhort or rebuke them when necessary, and console them when necessary. Any animal will bite when someone tries to free an entangled animal. Sometimes church members bite and attack the pastor that tries to spiritually help them.
Psa 109:5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
The Psalmist encountered exactly what happens to many pastors in the ministry. We serve God through serving the brethren, but in the end, our sheep return evil for our love, sacrifice, and patience.
What does God command about this?
Heb 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
The job of pastor first and above all is to have an exemplary life for those that follow you. We should honor our pastors for their work and sacrifice when they have done a good job. Actually the best you can give to your pastor is to follow his spiritual example. There is no better gift to give him. When there are problems, conflicts, tension, there is nothing sweeter that some kind words of support from one of your members. When the sermons are hard and cause many to get angry and leave the church, there is nothing more encouraging than somebody telling you, “Pastor, keep on preaching hard.”
1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
There is a spiritual obligation for every Christian to recognize their leaders (those that preside over them). Also we should recompense our ministers with the respect that their work and office warrant. We simply do ourselves harm when we make fun of or insult them. Our own children take the same attitude towards us that we show towards our ministers, and this causes spiritual harm in their lives as well as ours. We should always call him, “Pastor” or “Brother”, and not get so familiar with him as to call him by his first name.
How can we honor and help him?
Luke 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
1Cor 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
God’s principle is that His workers should be economically supported by the free will offerings of the people of God where they labor. The ministers should live of the same gospel that they work in. They are not beggars, nor should they have to work a secular job on the side to support their family. The economic priority of churches is first in supporting their ministers, and not in buildings, missionaries, nor in other expenses before your church’s own ministers.
1Co 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
Mat 10:10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Gal 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Rom 15:27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
God commanded that His work function by means of men of God who by faith, believing that God will provide for their necessities and that faithful and mature Christians will recognize this as the will of God and that they will sacrifice to sustain their ministers. This does not speak of a response only in cases of a dire need on the part of the ministers, but it speaks of a responsibility of every member of the church to faithfully and regularly give to their ministers for the work that they do on a week by week basis, whether they are broke or not. It is a beggar mentality to never give anything unless the pastor is broke or has financial problems.
We are not just talking about tithing, but covering the financial obligation of the ministry through economic support. He should receive a just and fair salary, adequate for a person to live normally. Beside his necessities, we ought to give extra to them even though they may have their very basic-most expenses covered. God sees how we treat our ministers and returns what we have sown.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
How much should we give him?
It is interesting that the Jews had a rule that they could not make a new synagogue if they didn’t have at least 10 income producing families to start with. If each family gave a tithe, then they would give what was an average salary of the group, which went to the rabbi. The rabbi’s tithe went to pay for building expenses. Everybody pitched in to actually build the building. Any church with 10 income earning families should be able to give a pastor a fair salary, which would reflect the incomes of the people of that church.
Other recommendations would be to give them something special in difficult and special times in their life, and to try to give them extra when they have extra ministry related expenses. Paul thanked the Philippians when they helped support him (Phil 4:6). For example, many churches give their pastors extra money for gasoline when he has visits to make, or an expense account for buying ministry related books, or even pay for a typewriter or computer. At times they will help him pay for his vehicle, or help him with rent or medical expenses.
1Ti 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
The members should remember that any worker will not work at his best if he has a lot of need and does not receive the just recompense for his labors. If a ministry shows extra effort and excellent quality in his work, he should receive extra. God demands just recompense of all that receive services and benefits from these workers, and God condemns those “employers” who are not giving a just salary to their workers (Mal 3:5; Jer 22:13; Deu 24:14; Lev 19:13).
Jas 5:2-4 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.