After the response to my blog “Why ‘Preachers of LA’ Won’t Turn Out Well for Rock-Star Pastors” I wanted to continue the discussion about our perception and mindset in regards to preachers and wealth.
First, let’s establish that being a pastor is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week job. You never know when the phone will ring and you are faced with another crisis that you must minister a church member through.
In Luke 10 the Bible says a “laborer is worthy of his wages” and I believe a pastor should have a good salary that allows him to provide for his family including retirement so that not any of his energy is spent worrying about finances but rather on the ministry he is called to.
There has been a mindset in some church circles that a pastor should be just above the poverty line. I have also seen the pendulum swung the other direction to the extreme. I don’t have a problem with anyone in ministry who takes a portion of their salary and through investments or other business deals creates more income for them and their family. If they can do this and it doesn’t take away from the ministry they are called to than I say go for it. I have a very good pastor friend who makes a good enough living through other business ventures that he doesn’t even receive a salary from his church. He is able to pastor freely with no concerns.
Jesus modeled for us how ministry and money go together. The ministry of Jesus had money. There were things that needed to be paid for and people sowed into His ministry. What you didn’t see was an attitude that said, “Well the rich of that day don’t need to be the only ones walking around with expensive clothes, or a fancy ride.”Jesus wasn’t dressed to impress and he didn’t have the best looking stallion. He chose a donkey and you know his sandals weren’t Ferragamo or even Stacy Adams.
What Jesus modeled for us is whether we are in full-time ministry or church folks that minister in the marketplace, is that if you bring the good news and the power of the Holy Spirit you will shift the atmosphere everywhere you go; that you don’t need the bling to access and impact the lives of people because when you’re preaching the Word and ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit whether people are down and out or up and out they will seek you out.
Bishop McClendon made the statement that he can’t go minister in some churches because they can’t afford to bring his team. “Because of how God uses me in miracles I travel with four or five people. My men know how I flow and someone’s healing depends on it.”
As a speaker I have to admit, there are worship leaders and support staff in churches I have spoken in that I felt it was easier to minister with because they seemed to not only understand my style but had the sensitivity to be Spirit led in those moments. At other places I might have to give minor direction but that in no way hindered my ability to minister and it sure didn’t hinder God from being faithful to heal the hearts, minds and bodies of the people.
One of the most powerful ministry moments in my life wasn’t in a church with a worship team behind me and handpicked ushers; it was on the sidewalk outside of the Anaheim Convention Center at a Benny Hinn crusade where God instructed me to go outside and pray for the people who didn’t get in due to the building capacity. I obeyed and when God started to move in that crowd outside I had to quickly grab four men from the crowd to help me. There was no church setting, no crew that knew how I flowed. It was raw ministry and God moved in a mighty way!
We are not blessed to impress but we are blessed to be a blessing. Jesus showed us it is about influence not affluence. May all of us called to preach, teach and lead remember that.
Sean Abbananto is a speaker and entrepreneur from Oklahoma City, Okla., who started a fast-growing nutritional company called “EFL Nutritionals” and he is a certified speaker/trainer/coach with the John Maxwell Team. You can reach Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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