I am an unemployed pastor. That sounds so weird. Can you really be a pastor without a church? Can you be a shepherd if you have no sheep? I think that’s a discussion for another blog post, but I had a thought yesterday that I needed to share.
When a minister is without a church, their family still needs to be taken care of. Their children still need to go to school, get braces, and all of the great fun of childhood. So how do you balance the ideals of calling and provision?
There is a great danger for pastors without churches to “settle” and serve a church to whom they do not feel called, but offer a decent salary package. This danger scares me to death. This is the path of Balaam and leads only to a pillaging of the Bride of Christ. This is a sin. There is no way around it. The Bible College tongue-in-cheek mantra (Go where the money is. God’s everywhere) hits too close to home and pollutes integrity.
And so how do you care your family while maintaining your integrity and calling?
Get a job. Not a church. Not a para-church gig. Get a job.
At least that’s what I’m trying to do. And I can’t be picky when it comes to that. There’s not much (except sin) that I’m not willing to do in order to provide for my family. So far, I’ve interviewed for a post office job, and today a moving company. But when it comes to vocation, I will not be picky.
But when it comes to the church whom I will eventually serve because God has called me to serve the local church, I cannot be too picky. I must know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has called me to that particular church, and I am aligned with their theology, mission, vision, and values.
So my advice to unemployed pastors (and in this economic climate, there’s a lot of us), is to not be too picky, but to also be very picky.
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