Monday, December 19, 2005

Being a Prostitute for God

I had an interesting comment on my previous post: Lorna heard it said in her church, "I don't serve as we emply our pastor and secretary to do that."

Ideally, the paid staff should be here to help the volunteers in their service of God -- we are not paid to do the work of God for them.

In my first church, I struggled with this issue. My elders wanted me to visit the people of the church. I grew up in the church and the pastor was always a big part of our family. The pastor was invited to parties, and even a few that were mostly family gatherings. We would give the pastor gifts at Christmas and on birthdays. Occasionally the pastor was invited to join us for dinner, or we'd take the pastor and family out to a restaurant. But I don't remember any of our pastors coming to our house unannounced for a visit.

I suppose it is a cultural thing. I was willing to do it, but I hadn't really prepared for it.

"Who will go with me," I asked.

"Pastor, we don't visit. That's what we pay you to do."

What about praying for the people, visiting them in hospitals, helping them get to the doctor -- what about loving the people?

Am I paid to love the people so the members don't have to?

Sounds a bit like a prostitute.

Give me some cash and I'll make the members feel good and loved, and then I'll go home.

Paid clergy can be a problem in a church, if the church doesn't understand that paid staff are there to help the church be the church -- not be the church for them.


Blogger Katharine said...

I've seen this in some churches where I've attended services. People are always forgetting that the pastor is not the church—they are. I think it's part of the whole Sunday-morning Christian syndrome: talk the talk on Sunday, but don't walk the walk the rest of the week.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Lorna said...

Strong words, great post.

Wish I could say something more profound. Maybe later ?

3:19 AM  

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