Feature: Rural Church Leaders Should Raise Awareness About Paying Pastors

A picture shows a plant growing among a cup of coins.
A picture shows a plant growing among a cup of coins. (photo: unsplash.com)
By Li ShiguangOctober 27th, 2022

Due to some historical reasons, we can see the phenomenon that "churches don’t talk about money, and pastors don't get money". While affirming its positive significance, we also need to see its negative impact on today’s society. 

With three children, Z, a rural middle-aged pastor, received a salary of 1,500 yuan per month, which is not enough to support his family of five.

As he doesn’t know how to do business or go out to make money due to the service in the church, he contracts some more land to cover some daily expenses, besides his own three mu (0.495 acres) land, the income of which is less than 5,000 yuan per year. 

“If church leaders can realize that the future development of the church is inseparable from the increase of the salaries of pastors, church staff will get fair treatment. But if they fail to identify the needs of grassroots pastors, then even in another 10 or 20 years, the problem will still not be solved,” Z said.

A few decades ago, pastors had to support themselves as the church had no money, but now it is not difficult for the church to afford one pastor thanks to China’s economic growth.

With their children growing up and settling down to have families, rural church leaders, who do not have much economic pressure in their 50s or 60s, can’t understand the trouble of young pastors between 30 and 40 years old that have to support 5, 6 persons, including their children and parents.

For these 60-year-old pastors, with the same concept decades ago, they believe that staff members should not get a wage or get little money, as they have gone through hard times when the church didn’t need to pay much money and they relied on God to live.

Under the influence of such a concept, Z once felt preoccupied with a dilemma, as, with little salary, it was not fit for him to earn money since he would be said to “not love Lord or believe in Him but love the world”.

It was not until later that Z was released by the words of a pastor, “I tell you one thing that you have to remember. You just 'do something useful with your own hands.' Just do it boldly as long as you don’t steal or act against conscience."

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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