Take care of your pastors!
The elders who direct the affairs of the Church are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages." - 1st Timothy 5 vs 17-18 (NIV)
A NUMBER of pastors have been criticised by members of their congregation because of the financial care they get from the Church.
While some pastors flourish, members in their churches are struggling to make ends meet.
Some members question the need to give financially to the ministry, with many refusing to comply, resulting in pastors having to seek alternative means of meeting their needs.
Elder Gary Campbell from the Berea Seventh-day Adventist Church in Old Harbour, St Catherine, stressed that it is the duty of members to take care of their pastors.
"The need for the minister to seek alternative employment would present unnecessary and unwarranted distraction to the man of God. He needs quality time to prayerfully meditate and receive instruction from God," he told Family and Religion.
According to Campbell, nothing is too good to give one's pastor who is engaged in seeking eternal salvation. "After all, the Bible says, 'What will a man give in exchange for his soul?'"
For Campbell, the alternative to members failing to ensure their pastors are adequately cared for is the pastor seeking a full-time job to cater to his own needs.
The repercussions from this, he said, is that the pastor would not be able to minister to the different needs of his congregation.
"These needs vary - physical, spiritual, relational, and the list could go on and on," he said.
According to Campbell, a pastor's job does not stop at the pulpit where he delivers the day's message. When members understand that, they will view his care in a more understanding light.
While acknowledging that there are some pastors who push the handle by asking the Church to take care of their wants instead of needs, he said the emphasis is on basic needs.
"Pastor needs food. They don't need the most expensive clothing. Their bills must be paid," he said. While some will argue about the need for a motor vehicle, Campbell said it should not be regarded as a luxury item, but as "something to get them around".
Responding to the complaint that, while pastors are taken care of, there are other struggling members in the Church, some even having to contribute from the little they have, his response was: "Jesus says the poor we have with us always. The ministry must be of paramount importance. You will always have naysayers. Remember Judas criticised when Mary used expensive oil to wash Jesus' feet."
Campbell, however, cautioned that members must be careful not to indulge a pastor's greed. "If he is going overboard, you have to remember it's about his needs, not wants."