So driving to my Coaching Network yesterday I was pondering the reality that I believe the time is coming when as a Seventh-day Adventist Minister will have to work for free…or at least only at the level my basic needs are provided for. I can’t really lay out for you all the reasons I feel that day is coming, I just believe it is.
Then during our Coaching Network during our Pressure Points time, one pastor discussed providing all his team with cell phones and paying for their bill. There was immediate push back on this issue. The leaders of the Network and other sage folk in the Coaching group showed several ways and examples of how this then becomes an area of entitlement. Where people think they “should” have their phone paid for by the church and become disgruntled if this “privilege”, which they have come to believe is their “right” is taken away or not available to them anymore.
That entire discussion and what I was thinking about on the way to the Network had me pondering on the way home from the Network, how we that work for the church or a religious organization need to be very careful about the condition of our hearts in regards to the “privileges” we have in working for the Kingdom of God. I believe too often our hearts may go astray and begin to see it as our “right” to have insurance, retirement, a salary, our phones paid for, assistance with schooling. None of these in fact our “rights” though, these are simply “privileges” and if they were all to leave us tomorrow if our hearts are in the right place it shouldn’t change at all the way we feel about doing ministry!
This past year the pastors in my conference received a 3% pay cut. Now no one likes to get a pay cut, but as I heard different discussion around the proverbial “water cooler” it made me wonder, “If this is how these folk feel about a 3 % cut, what is going to happen on the day we get a 100% cut?”
The question I believe all who work in ministry must ask ourselves is, “Would I still give all my life for ministry? Would I be broke for the sake of ministry if all the “privileges” were taken away? Do I work for the “privileges” or for the PRIVILEGE of being a full time servant of the Most High God?!” If we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing on the day we will no longer get a pay check, or our cell phones paid for, or insurance, or retirement, or school assistance, then I think it may be time for folk to find a new job! The full time ministry is a LIFE CALLING, not a job!
Just a few thoughts!