Many years ago I was mates with a Brethren Pastor. He was sitting with a paper spreadsheet (I told you it was long ago) checking the household budget. I asked about how the salary he had was set, and he stated it was about the median pay for the congregation. So that he was part of the community, but not over rich, nor over poor.
He, like most good pastors, had worked elsewhere: when he worked in business he made far more.
He did not regret this. However, that congregation got sick of having a pastor whose passion was discipling the students at the university from the next suburb, and wanted someone who was “pastoral”. He was confrontational.
He left. So did I.
One of the faults of the modern pewsitter is that he does not want to be pastored. He does not want to be confronted. He wants to be left in his vices and degeneration. And the pastorate fear more the congregation than the God they should serve.
17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; 18 for the scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves to be paid.” 19 Never accept any accusation against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear. 21 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, I warn you to keep these instructions without prejudice, doing nothing on the basis of partiality. 22 Do not ordain anyone hastily, and do not participate in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.
23 No longer drink only water, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.
24 The sins of some people are conspicuous and precede them to judgment, while the sins of others follow them there. 25 So also good works are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden.
The very fact that the clergy are worth double honour, and us pew sitters should support them, is catnip to the perverse and the baby social justice warriors, who all too often study theology while being a “student leader”. Only the left bother with student politics: the right have instead kids and get a job. They have no skills, they rejoice in their ugliness and unhealthiness, and they want to be paid for without accountability.
At the most degenerate end, you have predators, who will enter the church so they can find children to corrupt. None of this is new.
There is a reason that we should be confronted. That pastors should keep themselves pure. It is so they are worthy of that double honour. That there are no scandals in the church: in these fallen times it is a sign of health that a bishop is found with a mistress, and not a rent boy.
But this should not be so. Our leaders should be above scandal. If a leader sins, he should step down: the reason we have inter congregational networks is for discipline of morals and teaching.
But the congregation has to accept that the pastor is not their servant. He is their leader. He is accountable: he must lead. At times this will involve doing what we need, not what we want. The words of comfort he gives may be lies, and the gospel he preaches may be too comfortable to be of Christ. Such all too often are leading their congregations into convergence with the spirit of this age, and spiritual death.
Do not be them. Do not be like them.