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Church Office discuss How Much is "Too Much" to Pay a Pastor? in the The Church forums; A friend of mine posted the following on his blog . Ben Broxton just received a call to Riverside Church in New York City. Get ...

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    Marrow Man's Avatar
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    How Much is "Too Much" to Pay a Pastor?

    A friend of mine posted the following on his blog. Ben Broxton just received a call to Riverside Church in New York City. Get a load of his compensation for accepting the call:

    * $250,000 in salary.
    * $11,500 monthly housing allowance ($138K/yr).
    * Private school tuition for their children.
    * A full-time maid.
    * "Entertainment," travel and professional development allowances.
    * Pension and life insurance benefits.
    * An equity allowance for the future purchase of a home.
    And here I thought we were in a tough economy...

    Wait a minute -- no health insurance?!? How do they expect him to survive?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marrow Man View Post
    A friend of mine posted the following on his blog. Ben Broxton just received a call to Riverside Church in New York City. Get a load of his compensation for accepting the call:

    * $250,000 in salary.
    * $11,500 monthly housing allowance ($138K/yr).
    * Private school tuition for their children.
    * A full-time maid.
    * "Entertainment," travel and professional development allowances.
    * Pension and life insurance benefits.
    * An equity allowance for the future purchase of a home.
    And here I thought we were in a tough economy...

    Wait a minute -- no health insurance?!? How do they expect him to survive?

    Just look at the upcoming speaker:

    Dr. Ann Holmes Redding, Preaching

    On Sunday, April 19th, Ann Holmes Redding will be our guest preacher in morning worship. Dr. Redding, an Episcopal priest from Seattle, was recently defrocked by the Episcopal Church after announcing in 2007 that she is both Christian and Muslim. Dr. Redding formerly served as the Director of Faith Formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle.


    I really don't think we're talking about a real gospel church here
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    New York City is a very expensive place to live. My bet is that he won't live very high on the hog on that salary. Probably better than many, but not real high.
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    * $250,000 in salary.
    * $11,500 monthly housing allowance ($138K/yr).
    * Private school tuition for their children.
    * A full-time maid.
    * "Entertainment," travel and professional development allowances.
    * Pension and life insurance benefits.
    * An equity allowance for the future purchase of a home
    what no bonus?

    -----Added 4/23/2009 at 12:51:28 EST-----

    New York City is a very expensive place to live. My bet is that he won't live very high on the hog on that salary. Probably better than many, but not real high.
    It doesn't cost 11,500 a month rent. Average apartment is around 1,500-2,000.
    Aaron Josh Wright
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    DMcFadden's Avatar
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    Ah yes . . . Riverside . . . home of Fosdick and an unholy alliance between the UCC and the ABC (my old denomination).
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    LawrenceU's Avatar
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    It doesn't cost 11,500 a month rent. Average apartment is around 1,500-2,000.


    Hmmm... missed that.

    I'm a little preoccupied right now. One of my customers, a military contractor is missing a VERY expensive spool of com wire. They think it my have ended up in our landfill. This might be 'fun'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueridge Believer View Post
    I really don't think we're talking about a real gospel church here


    What an awfully judgmental thing to say. I should give a mod ding just for that...

    J/K, of course. You are right on target. Why in the world would they advertise that their upcoming "speaker" was defrocked?!? It's like putting out a sign that says "Apostates R Us."

    They are getting what they paid for. If they have no discernment with the gospel, why should we expect them to have any discernment with their dollars.
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    I think we all agree that the compensation posted in the OP is excessive.

    However I'm curious if you were wanting to discuss the title of the thread in general.
    Daniel
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    It doesn't cost 11,500 a month rent. Average apartment is around 1,500-2,000.
    Really? I planned to move to Boston or New York last year, and studios in New York were at least 1500 - most more than that. Boston seemed a bit less, but still a one room studio ran about 1200.

    250,000/yr for NYC actually doesn't seem excessive to me. The additional housing allowance does seem a bit much though.
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    Daniel,
    Aren't there too many variables? It's sort of like what the judge famously said--I know it when I see it. For example, what Tim was paid in MS wouldn't begin to cut it here w/out me working full-time.
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    I'm a free market capitalist. I don't think his salary is intrinsically any of our concern. I see some in his congregation are outraged over the amount and have even filed suit! Ok, well, since their tithes are paying his salary they DO have a vested interest in the compensation package (not that they should be suing - they should just leave the church - standard liberal fare: rather than bowing out in protest, they'd try to sue to impose their obviously minority position on the majority).

    If his church wants to pay him that much, then fine.


    But what I do find ironic - as the blogger does - is the amount of this salary in light of this church's reputation for preaching against the rich, etc. It shows the hypocritical nature of those who buy into the class warfare of the Left.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tripel View Post
    I think we all agree that the compensation posted in the OP is excessive.

    However I'm curious if you were wanting to discuss the title of the thread in general.
    The title was more of a rhetorical question, but if you would like to go that route, then fire away. No one can accuse of hijacking a thread if the question was asked in the first place!
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    What is sad is the members are taking this to court, if they disagree with the amount of $'s that has been agreed upon, they can merely leave and take their money else where, I'm sure they could find another group of like minded individuals to gather with on Sunday's or who knows, they may actually find themselves in a church where they actually PREACH the Gospel!!

    Many of his parishioners agree that - in light of the former pastor, the eminent preacher Dr. James Forbes - only had around $300K in compensation (and that was after nearly two decades of service). They were so upset that they took their case all the way up to the Manhattan Supreme Court!
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    Maybe the members who are upset should find a form of church government that allows members to vote on such issues. I can think of a few...
    Anna
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    Hmmm, I just had a thought. Perhaps the reason there is no health insurance mentioned is because ... he's not going to need it once we all have socialized medicine! Maybe I should just read between the lines here...
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    Pastor salary

    To the uninitiated the Riverside offer sounds almost presidential--quarter mill a year, private school, maids; just no Secret Service! If we are approaching an era when churches become fodder for federal "oversight" (stemming no doubt from lawsuits of one type or another), then such salaries are going to cause problems for MANY pastors, I suspect. Perhaps the love, devotion, and care of a dedicated, warm, bible-reading, prayer service attending congregation would substitute? For those of us hoping for calls in the future, where are those congregations, please?
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    That would be excessive for a man of my caliber, but I know a few who would be a bargain at that price. They wouldn't require it of course. But I think the notion of double honor is lost on our culture. If you look at the salary of any profession requiring a minimum of 7 years education, and then double it. Where would you be?
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    I know this denomination and church appear to have their problems, but for a good Reformed pastor I don't think any salary is too high. I am grateful for all the pastors of my churches over the years. I know many of them live on meager income and give back a substantial portion of that - I would increase their salaries 10-fold if I could.

    And $250,000 is reasonable by NYC standards, but not great. Sure, a crummy, tiny studio in the Village may be $1500 a month, but any decent lodging appropriate for a family will run at least $3500/month in Manhattan.
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    This is somewhat derailing the thread but Im just wondering how you can be a member of both UCC and ABC?

    BTW Riverside Church is a pile of heresy...what the heck man with

    Dr. Ann Holmes Redding, Preaching

    On Sunday, April 19th, Ann Holmes Redding will be our guest preacher in morning worship. Dr. Redding, an Episcopal priest from Seattle, was recently defrocked by the Episcopal Church after announcing in 2007 that she is both Christian and Muslim. Dr. Redding formerly served as the Director of Faith Formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle.
    Julio Perez
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReformedChapin View Post
    This is somewhat derailing the thread but Im just wondering how you can be a member of both UCC and ABC?

    BTW Riverside Church is a pile of heresey...what the heck man with

    Dr. Ann Holmes Redding, Preaching

    On Sunday, April 19th, Ann Holmes Redding will be our guest preacher in morning worship. Dr. Redding, an Episcopal priest from Seattle, was recently defrocked by the Episcopal Church after announcing in 2007 that she is both Christian and Muslim. Dr. Redding formerly served as the Director of Faith Formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle.
    In some Protestant communions, dual alignment between denominations is quite popular. The ABC, in particular, has a notable number of its 5,500 congregations that are dually aligned with a Black Baptist denomination or with the liberal UCC (a "kissing cousin" to the ABC in many ways).
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    I know several smaller PC(USA) churches that are "dually-aligned" with ELCA, UCC, UMC, and/or other denominations.
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    ReformedChapin is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Presbyterian View Post
    I know several smaller PC(USA) churches that are "dually-aligned" with ELCA, UCC, UMC, and/or other denominations.
    I've heard of churches such as PCUSA and ECLA having a partnership but not dual denomination membership.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawrenceU View Post
    New York City is a very expensive place to live. My bet is that he won't live very high on the hog on that salary. Probably better than many, but not real high.
    These are my initial thoughts. I actually could maybe understand $250k for being in NYC, but the additional aspects seemed a little much...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montanablue View Post
    It doesn't cost 11,500 a month rent. Average apartment is around 1,500-2,000.
    Really? I planned to move to Boston or New York last year, and studios in New York were at least 1500 - most more than that. Boston seemed a bit less, but still a one room studio ran about 1200.

    250,000/yr for NYC actually doesn't seem excessive to me. The additional housing allowance does seem a bit much though.
    This is what I thought, too. I haven't lived in New York, but many, many people have told me it's much more expensive than Boston/Cambridge. And in Cambridge, a one-bedroom apartment runs from $1100 (studio) to $1400-$1800 (one-bedroom). And these are not large, luxurious places. It would be significantly more expensive for a family, obviously. I was also (not very seriously) looking at NYU Law School at one point, and it would have been more expensive than $1500/month just for me to live in Hoboken or Brooklyn, much less Manhattan.

    With all that said, I would be more concerned about the (apparently excessive) perks if this were an otherwise orthodox church. As it is, it confirms what we know about the hypocrisy of the left.
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    According to the benchmarks of the left, $250K is entry into the "rich" eschalon. This guy will pull down somewhere in the neighborhood of $500-600K once all the perks are factored it.
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    I'm just a country preacher. Yes, I do have more education than everyone in my congregation. I believe that my compensation should be enough for me to live in this economy and put a little aside for sanity (vacation), education, and old age (not retirement - thats another thread, or two).

    That being said, it seems to me that the compensation at Riverside is probably not excessive. That is not to argue that it is an actual church. Nor does it imply that I would ever wish to candidate at such a place.
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    I never cease to be amazed at how Americans (and even folks in the church) love to discuss other folk's business, and then ask for others to pass judgment on something that doesn't really bear any weight on their own lives.

    DTK

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    puritanpilgrim's Avatar
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    And $250,000 is reasonable by NYC standards, but not great. Sure, a crummy, tiny studio in the Village may be $1500 a month, but any decent lodging appropriate for a family will run at least $3500/month in Manhattan.
    What does $11,500 a month buy?

    -----Added 4/23/2009 at 03:53:33 EST-----

    I'm a free market capitalist. I don't think his salary is intrinsically any of our concern. I see some in his congregation are outraged over the amount and have even filed suit! Ok, well, since their tithes are paying his salary they DO have a vested interest in the compensation package (not that they should be suing - they should just leave the church - standard liberal fare: rather than bowing out in protest, they'd try to sue to impose their obviously minority position on the majority).

    If his church wants to pay him that much, then fine.
    I like free market too. Can't we still judge that a church is spending it's money poorly? Or perhaps that they have poor motives. This isn't the CEO of GE. This is a pastor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTK View Post
    I never cease to be amazed at how Americans (and even folks in the church) love to discuss other folk's business, and then ask for others to pass judgment on something that doesn't really bear any weight on their own lives.

    DTK
    You've just made a really good point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTK View Post
    I never cease to be amazed at how Americans (and even folks in the church) love to discuss other folk's business, and then ask for others to pass judgment on something that doesn't really bear any weight on their own lives.

    DTK
    It is right that these things be discussed by any in the church, because it has bearing on the reputation of the kingdom, which affects us all. Ministers' salaries are not private business in as much as every facet of a minister's life should set an example to the flock, and yes, even the flock at large.
    Archlute

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archlute View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DTK View Post
    I never cease to be amazed at how Americans (and even folks in the church) love to discuss other folk's business, and then ask for others to pass judgment on something that doesn't really bear any weight on their own lives.

    DTK
    It is right that these things be discussed by any in the church, because it has bearing on the reputation of the kingdom, which affects us all. Ministers' salaries are not private business in as much as every facet of a minister's life should set an example to the flock, and yes, even the flock at large.
    Well, then, we do disagree, and if that excuse suffices for what is going on here, then every aspect of every Christian's life is subject to your judgment.

    4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. Rom*14:4
    If this text doesn't apply to what's going on here, then I am at a loss to find an application for it today.

    DTK

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    Quote Originally Posted by DTK View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Archlute View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DTK View Post
    I never cease to be amazed at how Americans (and even folks in the church) love to discuss other folk's business, and then ask for others to pass judgment on something that doesn't really bear any weight on their own lives.

    DTK
    It is right that these things be discussed by any in the church, because it has bearing on the reputation of the kingdom, which affects us all. Ministers' salaries are not private business in as much as every facet of a minister's life should set an example to the flock, and yes, even the flock at large.
    Well, then, we do disagree, and if that excuse suffices for what is going on here, then every aspect of every Christian's life is subject to your judgment.

    4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. Rom*14:4
    If this text doesn't apply to what's going on here, then I am at a loss to find an application for it today.

    DTK
    David, that verse is found in the context of Paul discussing the relationship of faith, the tender conscience, and liberty from man made laws regarding food and days of observance. If we took it to restrict against the making of any and all judgments as you do here (much in the same that many in evangelical churches will interpret Matt. 7:1) we would be unable even to assert the rights of a presbytery to oversee and evaluate the life of a minister within her bounds.
    Archlute

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archlute View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DTK View Post
    I never cease to be amazed at how Americans (and even folks in the church) love to discuss other folk's business, and then ask for others to pass judgment on something that doesn't really bear any weight on their own lives.

    DTK
    It is right that these things be discussed by any in the church, because it has bearing on the reputation of the kingdom, which affects us all. Ministers' salaries are not private business in as much as every facet of a minister's life should set an example to the flock, and yes, even the flock at large.
    I would agree with this statement if it was limited to one's own church. Its absolutely right for me to be concerned with the salary my church pays our minister, or, if I was in a Presbyterian church for instance,with the salary paid to other churches in our presbtery or denomination. However, I'm not sure that discussing a pastor's salary in another church or denomination is right or helpful, especially if I'm being critical. Its at least not right or helpful for me, and with that I think I'll be bowing out of this thread.

    Thanks DTK
    Kathleen M
    nondenominational
    Montana

  34. #34
    DonP's Avatar
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    I would think a minister should earn in the upper half of the congregations avg. income

    The only limit on too much would be that which would tempt him to sin.

    If he is to care for our eternal soul should he not be paid more than a doctor who only cares for our temporal bodies?

    He is certainly a teacher, + more, and has the education of a lawyer, or should have. He will settle disputes that would confuse most lawyers.

    I think a church who wants a to pay only little for a preacher does not think too highly of the word, of God, of the ministry for sure and of their own souls.

    I do think it would be wise to only pay him $249k with the new tax rule coming at $250k he would get less income.

    But at $250k - 45% tax it would only be $162k

    If it is a church with a lot of wealthy business people who make in excess of this he may be a lower paid person at that.

    No limits on pay for pastors except where it would cause him sin. Look how many are broke, have to leave a denomination and lose pensions when the church goes bad, etc. etc.
    Pay as much as you can so hopefully he will be able to save for his own future and not have to sell out to a corrupt denomination to keep a pension and provide for their family

    And if it is a large church and this expense is not a burden on the families then no problem. The pastor has more work to do in a large church. Hopefully they will have an assistant and associate pastors too.

    They are as valuable as a CEO of a worldly business.

    And if the church is large and it is not a burden on the families no problem.
    And if there are a lot of families there is more work for the pastor. And hopefully they will also have enough money left to pay for assistants and associate pastors and maybe even full time elders to support and care for the church
    DonP

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archlute View Post

    David, that verse is found in the context of Paul discussing the relationship of faith, the tender conscience, and liberty from man made laws regarding food and days of observance. If we took it to restrict against the making of any and all judgments as you do here (much in the same that many in evangelical churches will interpret Matt. 7:1) we would be unable even to assert the rights of a presbytery to oversee and evaluate the life of a minister within her bounds.
    Yes, I am very much aware of the context, and its application is not restricted to the same; the principle enunciated there stands.

    Moreover, it is a non sequitur to introduce the suggestion that I am restricting "the making of any and all judgments as [I did] here." I never said that, and much to the contrary I am conscious that my own words were the result of a judgment.

    But the fact of the matter is, unless you are a member of that presbytery, and unless you can prove sin has been committed, it is my judgment that this man's salary is none of your business. So I do recognize the validity of judgments when it is appropriate.

    DTK

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTK View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Archlute View Post

    David, that verse is found in the context of Paul discussing the relationship of faith, the tender conscience, and liberty from man made laws regarding food and days of observance. If we took it to restrict against the making of any and all judgments as you do here (much in the same that many in evangelical churches will interpret Matt. 7:1) we would be unable even to assert the rights of a presbytery to oversee and evaluate the life of a minister within her bounds.
    Yes, I am very much aware of the context, and its application is not restricted to the same; the principle enunciated there stands.

    Moreover, it is a non sequitur to introduce the suggestion that I am restricting "the making of any and all judgments as [I did] here." I never said that, and much to the contrary I am conscious that my own words were the result of a judgment.

    But the fact of the matter is, unless you are a member of that presbytery, and unless you can prove sin has been committed, it is my judgment that this man's salary is none of your business. So I do recognize the validity of judgments when it is appropriate.

    DTK
    a) Your application is unconvincing. Exactly how would you defend making that leap in a homiletics class? The principle must be taken in context otherwise all you get is gross proof-texting, which of course is not unknown even in Reformed pulpits.

    b) The kingdom of God is larger than a presbytery, or even a denomination for that matter.
    Archlute

  37. #37
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    I think there have been a number of good points made.

    A good preacher can hardly be paid too much.

    It does look bad though if they preach against wealth and then accumulate a lot of it themselves.

    But I hate to say it folks but money is relative.

    What is moderate income in a New York church that services bankers, managers and the social elite, is an exuberant income to preacher from a small farming community in Kansas.

    I think, as people have said, there are so many factors involved here. It is one of these issues where in some way we shouldn't talk about it all the time because so often it ends up being used against us, i.e. "that is too much," or "all those people care about is money," when in actual fact the salary is moderate for their area. I think, for example, it is important that the pastor be able to at least socialize and/or minister to his congregation. If this involves the need for a car in New York then think of the cost. If not then he needs a taxi allowance (or an appropriate salary) or the cost of public transport factored in. If he has a large family and it is a middle-upper class congregation perhaps he will also have to dress in a moderate manner, or drink coffee with them when meeting a member during their lunch break, or send his children to the same private school as the other members etc...

    There are simply so many reasons.

    Although I will add, a guy from my school in New Zealand just graduated and left in February to start a $250,000 job in New York. If a recent graduate from a backwater like New Zealand can earn that, then a minister can also.

    -----Added 4/23/2009 at 04:49:21 EST-----

    Quote Originally Posted by DTK View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Archlute View Post

    David, that verse is found in the context of Paul discussing the relationship of faith, the tender conscience, and liberty from man made laws regarding food and days of observance. If we took it to restrict against the making of any and all judgments as you do here (much in the same that many in evangelical churches will interpret Matt. 7:1) we would be unable even to assert the rights of a presbytery to oversee and evaluate the life of a minister within her bounds.
    Yes, I am very much aware of the context, and its application is not restricted to the same; the principle enunciated there stands.

    Moreover, it is a non sequitur to introduce the suggestion that I am restricting "the making of any and all judgments as [I did] here." I never said that, and much to the contrary I am conscious that my own words were the result of a judgment.

    But the fact of the matter is, unless you are a member of that presbytery, and unless you can prove sin has been committed, it is my judgment that this man's salary is none of your business. So I do recognize the validity of judgments when it is appropriate.

    DTK
    Can we look at it though as a case study? A story to get the discussion going? I understood the question to be exactly what the title said, "How much is too much for a pastor?"
    Fraser,
    Trinity Reformed Baptist Church
    Hamilton, New Zealand.
    1 member(s) found this post helpful.

  38. #38
    Rich Koster's Avatar
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    If a man is actually laboring to preach the truth amidst the people, he is worth his keep. However at this rate of pay, I'd be curious to see how much he lives on, how much is wasted and how much gets put back into the ministry.
    Rich Koster
    Browns Mills NJ USA
    Member of Covenant Baptist, Lumberton NJ (1689ers)
    http://cbclumberton.wordpress.com/

    Thankful that I'm not saved by merit badges
    Romans 7:14-25

  39. #39
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    Can we look at it though as a case study? A story to get the discussion going? I understood the question to be exactly what the title said, "How much is too much for a pastor?"
    Well, my own statements constitute something of a case study. Why limit it to a pastor? Do you want to post how much you make, and ask for everyone's opinion here whether it's too little or too much? I see that egalitarianism (so denounced on this board) is nonetheless alive and well, and its adherents are among *us*. We have met the terrible enemy of egalitarianism, and he is WE.

    DTK

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceMaker View Post
    The only limit on too much would be that which would tempt him to sin.


    I think a church who wants a to pay only little for a preacher does not think too highly of the word, of God, of the ministry for sure and of their own souls.
    I agree that it is up to the congregation to determine the pastor's salary, but it seems that more often than not it doesn't happen that way (at least in mainline evangelical denominations).

    I don't agree that a pastor's salary is tied to the congregations level of commitment to the word of God etc., the bottom line is that money is a resource that we have and we are expected to be good stewards of what we have, both in personal finance and church finance.
    R. Roy Martin
    Westminster PCA
    Vancouver, WA

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