Photo by Albert Bonaparte Biaginni
For most pastors ministry is not financially lucrative. (If you are headed into full-time Christian service with plans to get rich, I’m sorry to burst your bubble.) In fact, many pastors––at least those that I know (and especially those with families)––struggle to make ends meet. To get by many make sacrifices; take second jobs (or third and fourth jobs); forgo vacations; eschew unnecessary medical expenses;1 clip coupons and eat rather poorly;2; et cetera.
Crystal and I aren’t broke––although it looked like we might be headed that way earlier this year when our rental property was trashed by a tenant and we went months without collecting a rent check. Neither are we rich. Actually, we are quite far from it. We do, however, live a fairly comfortable life. We’ve scrimped and saved and have made our fair of sacrifices to get where we are; to own what we do; and to be able to live with open hands rather than closed fists when it comes our resources. And we’ve benefited from the sagacious advice of veteran pastors, as well as some lessons that we’ve learned along the way via the school of hard-knocks.
All of that to say, at the request of some friends and a few readers, I’m going to be launching a new blog series entitled ‘The Broke Pastor.’ In reality, it’s not about being broke, but how to provide for one’s family and stretch one’s financial resources as a pastor. In the end, I have high hopes for the series. I hope that it will:
- Generate discussion with peers and colleagues in ministry.
- Become a useful resource for those who are either entering into ministry or at the beginning of their ministry.
- End up being an opportunity for me to learn from peers who have been scrimping, saving, and creatively managing their finances so that they might minister unencumbered by ongoing financial woes.
- Lead to a conversation that other pastors will lend their voices to by way of guest posts (and who knows what else).
- Provide some simple ideas that might help a pastor or two cut back on expenses so that they can pay down debt.
Of course, these are just a few of the many hopes that I have for the series. More than anything, I hope you will stop back to read the upcoming posts and lend your voice to the discussion!
- Often in the form of routine checkups and other preventive measures. I, myself, am guilty of this. With the total cost of checkups coming out of pocket I haven’t had a physical in almost ten years. Similarly, I haven’t visited the dentist apart from an appointment to have a tooth extracted. Eye appointments––because I wear contacts and glasses––are a necessity, but I hold off as long as possible. ↩
- When I say ‘poorly,’ I’m not necessarily talking about the quantity of food. Rather, I’m referencing the quality of the foods consumed. Most coupons are for pre-packaged meals, which are high in sodium, fats, carbs, etc. Coupons for fresh fruits, vegetables, and non-processed foods are rare, which means these foods tend to have a higher sticker price. ↩