There’s no easy way to talk about money for someone in a ministry leadership position. You don’t want to seem ungrateful for what the church pays you, yet you seem to feel the pinch at the end of every paycheck.
Do you ask for more? Do you just try to manage? What is God’s intent for pastor’s, missionaries, and others in full time ministry that aren’t able to make it with what they’re being paid?
We barely made it in our first ministry. We didn’t know whether we should tell the board, mention it to the senior pastor, or just continue silently. We didn’t want to be viewed as foolish spenders, but our needs were not being met. My husband took a second job at night to help. When we finally expressed concern, we were invited to take whatever we needed from the church’s food pantry. We were too late though. Little did we know that it would take us several years to get back on our financial feet.
We had to leave that ministry because my husband had to meet his family’s needs before meeting his church’s needs. We were both discouraged and confused.
Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation. Here are a few suggestions and thoughts for you to consider:
- You were not meant to struggle alone. While discussing finances is awkward, it is necessary. Go sooner rather than later to your leadership team and be willing to make your need known. You are the leader and gentle words expressing your situation may be all they need to refocus on their main priority…you.
- Pray. God often allows us to be in a position of dependency. He loves hearing from us and sometimes He allows things like finances to keep us talking to Him. Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you to wise decisions about your family’s finances.
- Get Perspective. Talk to another ministry family, outside of your own ministry. Call a professor from seminary. Put it all on the table and ask for pointers/insight. Possibly they will be able to suggest ways to cut corners, challenge some of your expenses, or provide resources for you to offset your income.
- Keep Your Priorities Straight. God has called you to a life of ministry, which means He is ready to provide. It might be by giving you courage to have that hard conversation, it may be through lavishing grace and humility on you by allowing others to meet your tangible needs, it may be through wisdom given to you to make hard decisions about how long you stay in your current situation. Either way, God is walking with you!
It has been reported that the two lowest paid positions are teachers and pastors. It’s a sad day when ministry has to be “paused” in order for more pressing financial needs to be met.
Stay focused! Don’t let things go too far. Speak sooner rather than later. Talk to our Jehovah Jirah often!