Why Should A Church Financially Support A Pastor?
A church should financially support a pastor so he can be fully engaged in ministry. A pastor has the right to be supported by those he ministers to. Thus, the church should be willing to generously give to financially support their pastor if he is worthy of support.
Pastors Should Be Financially Supported
- Paul uses his unique position as an apostle to help illustrate that even though all things are lawful not everything edifies. One of the evidences of Paul’s apostleship was the fact that the church in Corinth existed because of his preaching and work among them. He then goes on asking more rhetorical questions to show that he also has the right to be financially supported (power to eat and to drink) and to be married (power to lead about a sister, a wife). He wanted them to know that he has the right to refrain from working for a living because He is a minister of the gospel and thus has the full right to receive his “living” from the churches he is ministering in. The principle is: you should earn your living from your work.
1 Corinthians 9:1-6; 10:23
- Examples from life: He shows this principle is a normal pattern in life: (1) a soldier who goes to war doesn’t do it at his own expense; (2) a farmer who plants a vineyard also eats of the fruit from it; (3) a shepherd who tends to and feeds a flock also eats of the milk from the flock.
1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Timothy 2:1-7
- Example from the law of Moses: Then he show that a part of the law about “oxen” was actually written for our sakes and not just for the concern of oxen. He says, “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.” An ox would either pull a threshing sledge or trample over stalks of corn and they were not to muzzle its mouth so that it couldn’t eat, but allow it to eat as it worked. Paul continues to apply this saying that it was written to teach us that we should plow and thresh “in hope” so we can be partakers of this hope. Thus, a pastor works in the church “in hope” by sowing spiritual things, hoping to reap material things for his livelihood.
1 Corinthians 9:7-11; Deuteronomy 25:4
- Examples from the temple: Next, he points to those who worked in the temple to “minister about holy things” also lived of the things of the temple and those that served at the altar also partook from the sacrificial offerings of the altar.
1 Corinthians 9:13 (Compare: Genesis 2:15 to Numbers 3:7-8; 18:7 and the words “dress” and “keep”.)
- Example from Jesus: Finally, Paul says that even the Lord Jesus has ordained that, “They which preach the gospel should live of the gospel”—meaning that full-time ministers of the gospel should earn their living or have a right to be financially supported by this “gospel-work” alone.
1 Corinthians 9:14
- But Paul didn’t exercise his right to receive financial support from the church at Corinth (and Thessalonica). Instead he worked as a tentmaker and would minister every sabbath (and most likely other times). He did this because he didn’t want to hinder the gospel of Christ by people thinking he was financially motivated while He was “in the regions of Achaia.” Also, it allowed him to undermine his opponents, the false teachers, who were claiming they had the same authority as Paul and were greedily seeking money for their “false ministries.” But eventually Paul became poor enough to need help from others. Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia giving him money from the church(s) at Philippi or those in the region (even though they weren’t receiving direct ministry from Paul at this time). So while Paul was at Corinth He did receive support from other churches and this allowed him to become fully engaged in testifying that Jesus was the Christ.
1 Corinthians 4:11-12; 9:12; 2 Corinthians 11:7-15; Philippians 4:15-20; Acts 18:1-5; (1 Thessalonians 2:9)
- Paul’s motivation for ministry was because “necessity” was laid upon him and that a “dispensation of the gospel” was committed to him—meaning the task of preaching the gospel was entrusted to him and thus his reward was that he could boast that he preached “the gospel of Christ without charge.” He also exemplified that believers should work hard, help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
1 Corinthians 9:15-18; Acts 20:32-35; (2 Thessalonians 3:6-9)
- In response to what seems to be a charge against Paul, he asked the church at Corinth in what were they inferior or less fortunate than other churches. The only thing was that he himself was not “burdensome”—meaning he did not freeload off of them. He ironically but sincerely asked for their forgiveness if they were offended by this, but continues to stand by his decision not to accept financial support from them because of his original reasons and also affectionally explains He is their spiritual father and was willing to spend and be spend for their souls—he didn’t want what was theirs but he wanted them. He didn’t want money to change their relationship.
2 Corinthians 12:11-18
- After Paul finished teaching the Galatians that we are to help cary the heavy burdens of others as we carry the load of our own personal responsibilities that God has given us individually, he continues to encourage that there is teamwork and fellowship that takes place between believers. One of the areas where there should be sharing is between the “teachers of the word” and the “learners of the word”—all believers should fall into this category because every believer should be in a local church under the guidance of its leadership. The learners should share (communicate) their financial means (all good things) to support the teacher so that he can do his work full-time (help guard against false teaching). This is a fellowship that benefits both sides. The teacher will have adequate time to study and teach the word, while the learner benefits from the teaching. This could also indicate serving where it is needed so that the teachers have enough time to study, pray and teach the Bible. God wants full-time pastors—teachers of the word.
How Much Financial Support Should A Pastor Receive?
- Paul tells timothy the elders—(pastors who oversee an assembly of Christian believers) that rule well—(pastors who fulfill their roles in a good and satisfactory way that meets the high standards of the Bible’s requirements) be counted worthy of double honour—(receive twice as great the compensation), especially they who labour (particularly those who work very hard) in the word (preaching) and doctrine (teaching). Paul then quotes scripture to prove his points:
1 Timothy 5:17-18; (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17)
- First, he applies part of the law from the Old Testament saying, “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.”—meaning a pastor can partake from his ministry.
1 Timothy 5:18a; Deuteronomy 25:4
- Second, he quotes Jesus in the New Testament as saying, “The labourer is worthy of his reward.”—meaning a pastor who ministers is deserving of financial support.
1 Timothy 5:18b; Luke 10:7
- Does a pastor have a right to be financially supported by the church he leads?
- What are the four examples that Paul used?
- Did Paul exercise his right to receive financial support at Corinth? Why?
- What two scriptures does Paul use to prove his points?
- Are you giving to help support your pastor?