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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, May 27, 2010


This week we have been having a fascinating conversation about church. It began with Tuesday’s post entitled Distinctives, and continued with Marion’s Wednesday’s post, Wisdom.

That conversation continues, and this morning I am thinking about a central figure in this discussion; the pastor. After all, it was the vision, and the passionate sense of calling of the pastor of the congregation described in Distinctives that brought that church to new life.

The stimulus for this morning’s pondering is probably Ann’s comment yesterday about paid pastors. Add to that, the situation of two of our congregations that are having difficulty finding a pastor, and you have the making of a whole lot of questions. Is a full-time, paid pastor the answer? We have that now in one CEM congregation. Is that the way we need to go in others?

Any conversation about paid pastors quickly leads to talking about money. For easy figuring, let’s assume we pay our pastor a modest salary of $50,000 per year. Add in the cost of benefits and pension contributions, then throw in a little expense money, and that quickly brings us to a total cost of $75,000 or more. How would we pay for that?

Fifteen years ago, a young woman of our acquaintance began attending a new church in Waterloo, ON. If memory serves, that congregation was started by eight families, each of whom pledged to give $10,000 a year for five years. Allowing a little for inflation, lets round that figure up to $1,000/month. Would you be willing to give that amount to cover the cost of a pastor?

At the recent World Conference, the Presiding Bishops provided some helpful facts. Eighty percent of church members give 20% of World Mission Tithes, and Twenty percent of members give the other 80%. Further, the average giving by the first eighty percent is $200/year while the twenty percent who carry the load gives $2,200. Of course that is only “World Mission Tithes,” so the total giving by both groups is at least double, but it still doesn’t seem like a lot of money does it?

Paid pastors are not the answer for many of our congregations, but it may be for some. If you think full-time pastors are the way of the future, are you willing to increase your giving to support that?

Please join this fascinating conversation!

Posted by Carman


  1. One of the topics Alfredo and I have explored is setting up a system where congregations could steam their worship services to other congregations who have the internet capacity to handle the band width requirements. Another is to share video disks of the service, albeit a week late, with other congregations. This would give these receiving congregations a break from providing a speaker and music, even if only occasionally. It isn't a substitute for a paid minister, but it certainly would provide a needed resource to having too few speakers and too few musicians. The only inconvenience would be delaying the bulletin one week.

    Mel Mills

  2. Thanks for your comment and for your ideas and leadership in the use of technology in our congregations. Live streaming of shared worship is already working somewhere.

    And we do have technical capability to do much more than we're currently doing. One worship planner just recently asked me how to use the WC hymnfest and the Emma Smith monologue. I passed the question along to Troy Roach in Stratford and zip-zap! they had a dvd in hand ready to serve as the centre piece in next Sunday's worship.

    I know another pastor who has "invited" Dave Schall to give the message this week :-)
    (We're already paying him!)

  3. How is the 'Other Pastor' getting this message, live or via video streaming? I would be interested in piggy-backing unless it is in person, and if it is, I would like a video if that were possible.


  4. They plan to use the WC closing message by Dave Schall from the World Church web site. You are welcome to use it too :-)

  5. What about part-time pastors? Isn't this more doable then full-timers? And it does have some advantages. Try it on for size, maybe a trial run, and then upgrade to full-time when/if time is right.

    [But I guess everyone has already explored this concept fully and I'm just arriving late to the conversation? ;) ]

  6. Matthew, I apologize for being slow to respond to your question; I initially took it as rhetorical. I think the concept of pastors for whom the congregation is a part-time, paid position could be explored, and could be quite viable in some circumstances. Thanks for a good suggestion.

    Are there any congregations or pastors out there who would like to test out this new model?


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