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“God expects us to give not as an afterthought, but as our top financial priority.”, – Alex Cook

When a pastor works part-time (Part 1)

Jan 13, 2016 | MINISTRY | 0 comments

pastor work part time

To fully understand why a pastor works part-time, we need to look at the root cause… the church he was called to serve. At some critical point, the church has missed God’s counsel, His instruction, to fully provide for His servant. The clear understanding of the work that God has given His minister to do is often the crux of the issue.

God’s work is full-time work… but

In his article entitled the Pastor’s Week, Evangelist Dan Woltmann details a pastor’s weekly workload, which we are simplifying here.

Sunday is the beginning and end of his week. It ends a long week of preparation and prayer for the message he will share on the pulpit. Woltmann says preaching a 30-minute sermon is exhausting and is the equivalent of an eight-hour work. If the church has two services plus Sunday School, that is then equivalent to a 24-hour workload.

Monday is usually the pastor’s “day-off.” What it actually means is that he has a little time for rest, some for bonding with the family, and a little extra to attend to personal errands. However, when the phone rings or when he receives a text message from a member asking for help, he can’t do anything but oblige. So much for the day off!

Tuesday to Saturday are spent in more prayer and preparation for next Sunday’s message. The research, study, and practice for these messages take hours, even days. This time is interspersed with member visitations, Bible Studies, prayer meetings, counselling sessions, ministry meetings, officiating weddings, dedications and funerals, and speaking invitations.

He is an excellent, dedicated worker

In a poll conducted by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, they found out that pastors work an average of 50 hours a week. For most, this does not account for the time spent in sermon preparation (rarely would you find a pastor who actually counts the hours!) Already, this is 10 hours more than the required 40-hours for those secularly employed.

It is clear that church work is always full-time work. There is no such thing as a part-time church. The demands of ministry, even in the smallest of churches, typically require a full-time commitment from its ministers.

Pastors give more than 100% of their time, talents and resources because they work not simply to earn a living but because they are doing it as unto the Lord. Ministering to the church because of their love for God and his flock is a responsibility they embrace fully and whole-heartedly.

But the fact remains that pastors, just like regular employees, have financial responsibilities. When a pastor works part-time,  the compensation package offered by churches, especially by small ones, is not enough to cover the work rendered or the needs of his family.

This forces the minister to find alternative sources of income, paving the way for the concept of “part-time work.” The proper term, however, for someone who has an alternative source of income is not a part-time pastor but a partially-funded one, and one who receives all of his income from a church is fully-funded, not full-time.

Should he, must he?

Now we come to the crux of the matter: Is it wrong for a pastor to try to find other sources of income? Is it ok for the minister to do secular work part of the time alongside church responsibilities?

For Tom Stultz, founder of Worldwide Tentmakers, it is a definite yes. He says, “God doesn’t call any of us to part-time Christian service. We all—lay people and vocational ministers alike—have an obligation to be a witness and to reach the most people with His message.”

A newspaper professional, Stultz was inspired by the account of Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila in Acts 18, to put up an organization for bi-vocational ministers. Paul was by trade a tentmaker and so were Priscilla and Aquila. Working together and living together, these three also ministered together.

In Acts 18:3-4, we read, “and because he was a tentmaker, as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.”

If Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles and the most prolific of the Gospel writers can successfully combine ministry with his trade, so what then if the pastor works part-time?

We have a free eBook offer to guide and help you understand the financial needs of your pastor. You can download this today by clicking the link below:



The Pastor’s Salary Guide

It is true that the decision to become a pastor depends primarily on whether one has been called into the Lord’s service for that specific purpose. It is an act of obedience to a direct command and is often heeded without thought of compensation. That said, it is also true that the Lord made sure that his priests are provided for and their needs are taken care of so that they can give themselves wholly into His service.

In fact, He gave specific directions to set aside part of the people’s offerings for the use of the priests and their families. Priests are given the choice part of animals and sufficient quantity of bread, grain and other produce brought into the Lord’s temple.

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