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Unread 06-20-2017, 09:41 PM   #1
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Clergy/pastors with secular jobs

Hey y'all,

How common is it in your tradition to have your pastor/priest/clergy/elder/whatever-your-ecclesiology-calls-them working a secular job (broadly speaking: a job outside of his calling of leading your congregation).

In North America (and especially in my little section of the Orthodox Church in America), it's quite common for Orthodox clergymen to hold secular jobs outside of their work with the parish. If they don't have secular jobs and are engaged in full time ministry, often their wife will work to support the family. It's not an ideal situation, but the reality is that especially in the OCA we've got a lot of small mission parishes (church plants, basically) that couldn't afford to pay a full-time priest.

My priest works near-full time as the IT guy for a homeschooling/distance-learning organization, Traditional Learning Academy. His wife is a doula/birth coach and does bookkeeping for the homeschooling group.

My deacon is a practising physician and professor of medicine.

My godmother's husband is also a priest and he's a full-time labour and delivery nurse (and they travel super long distances to go to the mission parishes they serve! They're pretty hardcore people), and she's a graduate student, writing tutor and teaching assistant.

All in all, at least in the OCA it's very common for clergy and their family to make massive sacrifices to their personal economic comfort for the flocks they serve.

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Unread 06-20-2017, 10:53 PM   #2
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My dad's been Pastor full-time for longer than I've been alive, even in the times when we were well and truly without. I've never really considered a second job as an option until recently.

While I don't know anyone around where I live with another occupation, I don't see anything wrong with it as long as it's not interfering with their time with God or for the congregation.
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Unread 06-21-2017, 06:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Giga Hertz View Post
... as long as it's not interfering with their time with God or for the congregation.
I can tell you that if a lot of working priests (and/or their wives) in the OCA had their dithers, they'd quit or scale back their secular jobs, as there's so much more they could get done in the ministry of the Kingdom. So what constitutes 'interfering' is a bit of a matter of perspective .
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Unread 06-21-2017, 06:35 AM   #4
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I have just taken on another job (Walmart) out of financial necessity. They have agreed to work me around my church responsibilities.

I consider myself one of the four elders even though I am paid to preach. I don't see how me having a secular job is any different than the other three guys. They have responsibilities to the congregation as well. Two of them teach Sunday School classes every week. They also have responsibilities to their families. So do I.

I don't think anyone (church leader or not) should allow a job to interfere with "God time" or their commitment to the local body of Christ.
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Unread 06-21-2017, 07:16 AM   #5
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Just my opinion: In an ideal world the pastor/priest/whatever should be able to respond at the drop of a hat to a sudden and emergent need like a major accident, house fire, death in the family of a congregant. An outside job interferes with that. I've been to churches where the pastor had to have a second job and have seen those guys do their best, but it's not ideal. I've seen those guys quit their second job as soon as the church can afford to pay them full time. If the church is paying slightly above the median income for the area the pastor should not have to work outside the church.

I don't think pastors should be getting rich, but they shouldn't be living in the poor house either.

Lee, has the church lowered your wages or where they never paying a living wage and you were just trying to scrape by? Just curious.
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Unread 06-21-2017, 07:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jthomas1600 View Post
Just my opinion: In an ideal world the pastor/priest/whatever should be able to respond at the drop of a hat to a sudden and emergent need like a major accident, house fire, death in the family of a congregant. An outside job interferes with that. I've been to churches where the pastor had to have a second job and have seen those guys do their best, but it's not ideal. I've seen those guys quit their second job as soon as the church can afford to pay them full time. If the church is paying slightly above the median income for the area the pastor should not have to work outside the church.

I don't think pastors should be getting rich, but they shouldn't be living in the poor house either.

Lee, has the church lowered your wages or where they never paying a living wage and you were just trying to scrape by? Just curious.
We have a house to live in and the utilities are provided. I also receive a check every week. When I took this position Robin had a job that paid well. She lost that one due to state budget problems. Her most recent job paid well and provided benefits. She is currently on leave so the only income we have is that weekly check that is WELL below a living wage. Like I said, we don't have rent/mortgage or utilities so it's not hopeless.

I don't think the modern version of a paid minister is found in the New Testament. It seems (as I study) that a plurality of elders oversaw the local church. Some of those seemed to devote more time and were deemed worthy of "double honor" (I Timothy 5:7) but even that doesn't mean they didn't have another job. It is also important to remember that even Paul supported himself when the situation required it.

While there are benefits to the concept of a paid eldership it brings problems as well.
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Unread 06-21-2017, 12:30 PM   #7
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Our pastor is paid full time. We also have a youth pastor who is paid full time. We're very blessed to have them, and I actually wish we were able to pay them more. We also have an elder board with 4 or 5 men on it who are not paid, but spend a great deal of time dedicating themselves to wisdom and the health of our church.

I agree with Lee that the idea of a paid full time pastor doesn't really seem to be found in the bible, but I am not opposed to it either. Like jthomas said, the benefit is that you've got someone devoting themselves full-time to their congregation and to studying scripture. On the other hand, I think it's really easy to become overly-reliant on that one person to serve and preach and be the head of a congregation, and not to rely enough on the other elders and members to fill leadership roles.

I think bravesfan is a pastor who also works a regular day job, if I'm not mistaken.
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Unread 06-21-2017, 03:32 PM   #8
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Lee, seeing your Facebook post about working at Walmart prompted this, in part
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Unread 06-21-2017, 03:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mara View Post
Our pastor is paid full time. We also have a youth pastor who is paid full time. We're very blessed to have them, and I actually wish we were able to pay them more. We also have an elder board with 4 or 5 men on it who are not paid, but spend a great deal of time dedicating themselves to wisdom and the health of our church.

I agree with Lee that the idea of a paid full time pastor doesn't really seem to be found in the bible, but I am not opposed to it either. Like jthomas said, the benefit is that you've got someone devoting themselves full-time to their congregation and to studying scripture. On the other hand, I think it's really easy to become overly-reliant on that one person to serve and preach and be the head of a congregation, and not to rely enough on the other elders and members to fill leadership roles.

I think bravesfan is a pastor who also works a regular day job, if I'm not mistaken.
Doesn't our pastor also drive bus during the school year though?

OT: Most of my friends who are pastors also hold down full-time jobs outside of preaching. I'd say it's pretty normal.
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Unread 06-21-2017, 04:14 PM   #10
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Doesn't our pastor also drive bus during the school year though?

OT: Most of my friends who are pastors also hold down full-time jobs outside of preaching. I'd say it's pretty normal.
Yep, that's true, as does his wife. He also shovels snow in the winter and cleans gutters and other odd jobs here and there.
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Unread 06-21-2017, 04:39 PM   #11
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I guess the other thing to consider is our economy and culture is way different to how it was when the NT was written.
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Unread 06-21-2017, 10:52 PM   #12
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I guess the other thing to consider is our economy and culture is way different to how it was when the NT was written.
QFT. A lot of churches can't afford to pay a full time preacher.
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Unread 06-22-2017, 04:21 AM   #13
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I guess the other thing to consider is our economy and culture is way different to how it was when the NT was written.
I understand what Lee is saying about the full time paid pastor not really being depicted in the NT church, but jobs own now. I think Paul was a tent maker and based on how much time he spent writing letters and traveling he was either the worst employee ever, or he was self employed. That's a lot different than working an hourly job for someone else.

Lee, sorry about the wifes job. Hope everything works out.
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Unread 06-22-2017, 06:40 AM   #14
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I think bravesfan is a pastor who also works a regular day job, if I'm not mistaken.
Yes he is.

I am not opposed to paid ministers...I am one. There are definitely benefits to having them but there are also pitfalls. It creates a "clergy" versus "laity" mentality that I don't believe should be there. We are ALL priests of the New Covenant. We are all ministers. When there is one person (or several people) being paid to oversee certain aspects of kingdom life then the temptation is to think, "Oh, that's THEIR job." It can discourage some people from using their gifts and talents and can make others lazy.
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Unread 06-22-2017, 06:45 AM   #15
and you were wondering??
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I wonder how things will go, especially as church membership numbers continue to fall (Southern Baptists, one of the largest denominations in the US, have lost 1 million members in the last decade).

If the trend follows what it has in Europe, it may end up that if a church isn't a part of a strong denominational structure (so, non-denoms, Pentecostals, Baptists, etc) then the pastor will most likely have to work a 'secular' job.

Or, there will just be fewer pastors as churches join together to strengthen their base.
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