Have you come across folks trying to convince you on why Pastors should earn more than doctors and other secular careers? As much as some of those opinions come from very innocent motive, a whole lot of them come from the wrong motive. The problem is not about earning more or less, every labourer, who labours in teaching the word deserves double honour, but the problem is that we reduce ministry to a mere race for fame and cash when we begin to make and entertain those unhealthy comparisons.
Yes, a footballer earns so much money, people earn as much as 85 million naira for staying locked up in a house called “Big Brother House”, doctors and nurses earn well in developed countries but they are not a yardstick to measure what a Pastor should be or not be earning. The comparison shouldn’t exist in the first place because we make ministry about money by doing so.
Another problem is when we begin to copy secular ideas of leadership into a system where it not compatible. Yes, we can be running a business and doing ministry at the same time without trying to mix the principles of business and that of ministry together. There are principles that applies generally but there are cultures that can’t be imported into ministry and there are ministry cultures that can’t be imported into a secular business.
For example, every business must engage in competition and sometimes they may even drive on the wheels of propaganda just to sell. To make sells and grow your brand, you must know who you are competing with and you must find ways to outsmart them.
But in the body of Christ, regardless of diverse congregations, we shouldn’t be competing but rather motivating one another unto good works. In my business office, I am ready to compete and tell you why you should patronize me instead of the other person but in ministry, we rather build a synergy to achieve our soul-winning goals.
Competition usually comes when the motive is to get what is in people’s pockets and to win their hearts to ourselves but not necessarily to God. Haven’t you seem Pastors quarrel with fellow pastors because a member jumped ship? Haven’t you seen Pastors try to put so many restrictions on how much you are allowed to explore the word of God for yourself? Haven’t you seen Pastors trying to blackmail another just to make them appear bad especially when that person is a threat to their fame?
Some folks have read 48 laws of power and several other laws and they brought it into ministry. Yeah, these things may actually appear successful because of the increasing fame, money and number of grounds we are able to conquer not merely with the gospel but with our own ministry brands. However, is that what God defines as a success for ministry? Having the largest number of members doesn’t mean we are doing the will of God, hope you know?
I can easily mention a lot of organisations that have thousands and millions of members, yet, they aren’t doing what we believe to be God’s will. This is just to prove to you, that numbers aren’t solely the indication of success in ministry. Because something is working the way you want doesn’t mean it is working the way God wants or the way it should.
In the ministry of the kingdom, it is not every business or leadership quote you should copy. Some things are ideal in the secular world but are not ideal when it comes to the work of the ministry.
You see stuff like “scratch my back, I scratch your back”? It isn’t our culture in ministry. The same way God makes the rain to fall for everyone, we must labour to minister and do good to anyone we come across. We are told to do good to all men.
Yes, sometimes we get angry that we aren’t being appreciated but the moment we realise that we are serving God and not men, our priorities will change.
We do good to all men regardless of how we were treated by them. Yes, the human in us may often make us want to pay people back in their own coins but we must always remind ourselves of who we are.
We do not pay evil for evil, we do good at all times. When we veer off in the flesh, we repent and retrace our steps.
Another thing is leadership.
Our leadership style must reflect who we are and what we profess. While we may be “boss” in the secular field, there is no place for such in ministry. The highest position you can attain to is a servant-leader, yes, a leader who serves.
Don’t mistake it. A servant-leader is a servant who leads other servants or a leader who serves. Whichever way, it’s pointing to the same culture on which our faith was found.
When we talk about a servant leader, we aren’t talking about a leader who isn’t firm in convictions, a leader who can settle for any opinion as long as the people are happy or a leader who lacks authority and can’t make decisions. We aren’t talking about a leader who doesn’t know when to say yes or no.
A servant-leader in ministry understands his position as a leader, he is strong in convictions, he is able to lead and command respect in a godly way but he also understands that whatever power vested on him or she is to be channelled towards serving the body of Christ.
So, while a boss seats in his office, waits to be served tea in the morning, commanding workers about but relaxing in the ambience of his or her five-star office, a servant leader understands there is work to do, he doesn’t just command people to work, he leads workers into the field.
This is why we have “Church leaders” who talk so much about prayer but don’t train people by being a living example, we talk so much about evangelism but the only time our followers get to see us evangelize is when we arrange ourselves with heavy media behind us to take pictures for the new magazine or social media publicity.
We talk so much about sacrificial giving; giving our all, but we ourselves live in affluence, have thousands of servants at our service, have so many resources to waste in the name of ministry and yet blackmail members emotionally with “giving all”.
A servant leader doesn’t say “do this…”, he says “let’s do this!” He leads the way, he doesn’t point the way and retire into his home. The call to ministry as long as this earth is concerned is a call to missions, a call to denying oneself of certain things, a call to desiring to live less “celebrity” life and live more for missions!
Unfortunately, we have more and more people who are running ministry based on the template they copied from a secular business organisation. Just in case we have forgotten, every believer is called to ministry and if we seem to be having a ‘bigger’ responsibility like overseeing the work, we aren’t any bigger, it’s just our own share of responsibilities.
By the end, we all, the big, small, mighty and too little to have been noticed will be accountable to God and not to man. We must stop trying to compete with secular businesses, the kingdom business remains what it is, a kingdom business.
When I see folks making comparisons about ministry and secular career, I feel it’s very sick! It’s abnormal to say things like “if a doctor earns so much for saving lives, a Pastor should earn so much more”. Such comparisons simply reduce ministry to a mere career alternative. The issue of “earning” shouldn’t even be compared or brought up at all.
The day you signed up to become a “full time” preacher, Pastor, missionary or evangelist, you signed up for the sacrifice that follows it. Sorry to say, but there was never a promise of wealth attached, there was never a promise of convenience. So, when we seem to experience hard times in ministry, it shouldn’t seem abnormal, that’s part of what we signed up for.
Doctors work for the people, Pastors, evangelists and so on work for God. These are two different things! Trying to compete with people who are in the secular field reduces what we profess, it puts our ministry to ridicule and makes our intention suspicious.
Yeah, some are in ministry to secure the money bag, Paul talked about it too and regardless of it all, “the gospel is spreading”. But those who have made their stomach their God will stop at nothing to keep serving their stomach at the expense of the gospel.
Think about this.