Kelly Jones, DMin, Pastor, First Baptist Harrisburg
Growing up in the Arkansas Delta of Helena, I, like many kids, played every sport the local athletic association offered. One aspect of my pee-wee football career I remember well (besides the time I was penalized on my very first touchdown because I spiked the ball!) was the cheerleaders. Yes, I was obviously drawn to them because they were cheerleaders, however, one particular cheer they would chant has stuck with me all these years: “Two, four, six, eight! Who do we appreciate?” As corny as that cheer is, it was special because the players knew someone “appreciated” them and was cheering for them.
Pastor/Staff Appreciation Month (October) is just a little over a month away. Pastors, by virtue of being in leadership, get their fair share of criticism. Therefore, they need to be encouraged regularly and they need to know they are appreciated. One of the ways our churches can show their appreciation to their pastors and other ministry staff is by how they take care of them financially.
Paul, in writing to Timothy about “how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God” (1 Timothy 3:15) gave instructions regarding the compensation of God’s servants. In 1 Timothy 5:17, he writes, “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (NASB). “Elders,” or pastors, are given a great responsibility of presiding over the ministry of God’s church. Those who do well at that task are worthy of “double honor.” Warren Wiersbe says this term means “generous pay,” with “honor” being used in the sense of an honorarium.
When a church determines what level of compensation it can afford to pay to its staff, it is best to err on the side of generosity. I’m not saying a church needs to make its pastor the richest man in town, but to make sure he is adequately compensated. Sadly, many churches have adopted some pretty poor (pardon the pun) attitudes regarding how staff are compensated. Some have the mentality of “Lord, you keep him humble and we’ll keep him poor,” or, “Preachers only work two days a week anyway!” I’m convinced many churches have absolutely no idea the amount of work is involved in ministry. They have no idea of the hours spent preparing sermons/lessons, visiting hospitals, responding to calls/text messages, or the hours they lay awake at night praying for those to whom they minister or worrying about a situation they are dealing with at the church.
I know a pastor who had to track down the church treasurer each week in order to get his paycheck. Sometimes this meant even having to go by the treasurer’s house. Before the treasurer would give him the check, he would ask the pastor if he felt like he had earned it. 1 Timothy 5:18b says, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” Church, your pastor is worthy of his wages. Please do not be the church that falls short in appreciating your pastor, especially financially. Two, four, six, eight! Who do we appreciate? PASTORS AND CHURCH STAFF!