Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pastors, Salaries, Parsonages

Pastor needed. Parsonage provided.

Parsonage (pastor’s housing):
“A small cottage or, more properly, a hut for the minister and his wife. It contained several pieces of ageing and broken furniture: a table, two chairs and a bed that had to be supported by stone slabs. Some of the floorboards had rotted away and in their place lay a pile of bare stones. The door through which the couple entered the cottage was old and decayed, and afforded little shelter from the wind and rain, and the frugal congregation saved the expense of a new door by nailing a tin plate across the bottom of it for added protection against the elements. The roof was so low that the master of the house, who was of commanding stature, could barely stand upright and he often knocked his head.”

Pastoral field “made up of only a few scattered houses, each consisting of just one room, where the members of the family lived and died. In this one room ‘all the washing, cooking, baking, weaving, spinning, and dyeing were done. Hidden away in corners were the few belongings necessary to live, while under the rafters hung dried fish, salted meat and bacon, and the herbs so necessary to flavour the meals.”

17 £ per year. Roughly $75 per year, or $6.25 per month.

Pastor’s Transportation:
A horse with a broken down stable next to the parsonage. Therefore, pastor often exposed to bad weather. Horse not always available. On one occasion, this minister was scheduled to preach at an Associational meeting some 200 miles away. “He set out on foot, preaching at various places along the way, and duly arrived on time.”

At this meeting, as he preached on the Prodigal Son, “a strong wave of emotion passed over the congregation; and there were tears and great joy, and loud praise; and these expressions of feeling continued for a long time after the preacher had finished his sermon.”

The above applies to one of the greatest Baptist preachers of all time, Christmas Evans of Wales. A preacher highly praised by B. H. Carroll, founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Evans (AD 1766-1838) was compared to John Knox and Charles H. Spurgeon.

The above financial situation was true of Evans in the prime of his life. God used him mightily; he preached with uncommon power. But his income was very low. This all probably speaks even more highly of Evan’s wife, Catherine.

Something to consider the next time you feel you are not making nearly as much as you are worth. I’m all for pastors making a good salary and living in a comfortable home. Some churches should be ashamed of the low wage they give their pastors (1 Corinthians 9:7-14; Galatians 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:17-18). But on the other hand, too many seminary students seem to be called to pastor only affluent congregations. The affluent need good preaching, the underprivileged do as well.

Like the great one-eyed preacher Christmas Evans, God may have called you to preach salvation to the poor. That is no small calling. Your salary is not a measure of the value God places on your ministry.

The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. -Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1-3.

(Above quotes from Christmas Evans - No Ordinary Preacher by Tim Shenton, Day One Publications, 2008.)

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 3, AD 2009.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful reminder of God's call not being about us, but about Him and His purpose. Thanks, David. selahV


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