China Chiristian Daily

- November 25, 2017 -

Church

Reasons Why Preachers Are Poor and the Solution

By Yi Yang
on April 27, 2017 02:04 AM

pastor-ordination
Pastor ordination: Pastor Feng Min (right) receives the Bible as the gift after the ordination. (credit: GospelTimes.cn)

Editor's note: In the recent years, the topic on the financial difficulty of preachers has received considerable concern in the Chinese church. The Gospel Times has interviewed many preachers and churches who talked about the causes of the financial struggle of the church, viewed from the system for church volunteers, preachers' dedication, church talent development and the economic problems stemming from the structure of church members.

Pastor Wu Bing from a church of Dalian shares four reasons leading to this problem in an interview with the Gospel Times:

First of all, these preachers with financial struggles have insufficient faith in the Lord and love for believers, which is their own problem. 

We have to admit that some full-time preachers have no choice; but, to become preachers because they are incompetent at work and they can't fit in society. There are groups varying in comprehensive quality in any industry, the same can be said with preachers. 

The pastor holds that a preacher should follow the rule of the industry, otherwise, he can choose other jobs if he can't meet all the standards.  The feature of a preacher lies in the fact that he is called by God. Since God calls him to do this, who will be responsible to supply him, preachers who believe this can survive. 

Secondly, it is related to some irrational systems.

It's improper for the church not to provide a payment system for preachers.  A portion of preachers do live by faith, like George Muller. In the Old Testament, God sent ravens, which brought bread and meat, to the prophet Elijah.

The flock will never treat a preacher unfairly if he loves them to the utmost. However, just a few preachers have great faith. So the church needs to take this general case into account, as the Old Testament ordered that priests and the Levites should be paid because the worker deserves his wages.

It is unrealistic that a church refuses to pay its preachers, who are commanded to "live by faith". Living by faith should be the personal resolution made by a preacher rather than be included into a church system or what the church asks of a preacher.

What's more, the problem also has something to do with internal dissension and a wrong attitude in the church.

Some leaders and elders of local churches who are part-time workers, fear that their status and authority in the church will be seized by all-time preachers. Under this circumstance, they discourage or exclude them intentionally or unintentionally, accusing that paid preachers are hired hands while they receive no payment from the church as volunteers. This wrong attitude and thought affect the church and believers, consciously or unconsciously. As a result, the church doesn't want to support preachers and love them.

Finally, the system for church volunteers affects the church's payment system.

A volunteer is defined as a worker who serves the church without payment. In the Chinese church, volunteers are involved in many aspects of church affairs. The tradition in many churches is that preachers serve the church with the identity of "volunteers" for the older generation, who suffered a lot and worked hard for the Lord without salary.

The preachers, who lead the church, would then need to consider their livelihood. Some are supported by their families, while some have to do part-time jobs in their leisure time. 

The payment system of a healthy church 

"The financial system of a healthy church should first ensure that a preacher can enjoy the standard of living for an ordinary individual. On the basis of their work, extra compensation can be appropriately granted to them according to their gifts, capacities, characters and prestige in the church. The Bible says, 'The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. ' (1 Timothy 5:17) This is called to pay according to his contribution or capacity. But a man serves out of love, while the church manages with fairness. A good payment system can be established with both love and fairness." he concluded.

Translated by Karen Luo

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