Reruns: Hiring the Right Preacher

Church Growth: Hiring the Right Preacher, Part 2

Posted on November 29, 2007

churchgrowthl.jpgJust for fun, you know, I thought I’d take a look at the latest Abilene Christian College data on preacher salaries in the Churches of Christ. They gather data each year to help churches know what to pay and preachers know what to expect. It’s interesting stuff.

And the data tells us a lot about ourselves. It may be a step in overcoming some of our problems.

chart-pixia.jpg

This is a chart of 2007 Church of Christ preacher salaries vs. years in ministry. The straight black line is a trend line determined by regression analysis — a statistical method for averaging complex data like this.

The straight trendline shows that salaries do indeed go up with years in ministry, on average. But the increase is $127 per year of service! Work for 50 years and your wages will have gone up $6,000!

Well, this didn’t seem quite right, so I added a trend curve — which you can see. It matches the data pretty well, and shows that salaries top out, on average, at between 25 and 30 years in ministry. Wages start at around $30,000 and then top out at $55,000 or so. And then they decline.

Obviously, there are a lot preachers making more or less than the average. But it’s still very telling.

Now, there’s more than one way to interpret the data. It may be that congregations don’t want preachers older than 55 or so. Or it may be that congregations don’t want preachers who were trained more than 25 years ago — that is, preachers who’ve not kept up with the current trends in how to do church or who represent theology as taught in the 1960s. The curve may just show that the younger preachers are more theologically compatible with the churches willing to pay higher salaries — and I think there’s a lot of truth in this.

The next chart compares total compensation (includes fringe benefits) to weekly contribution rates –

salary-vs-contribution-small.jpg

Now, this tells us a lot about ourselves. There’s a nice, linear correlation between preacher compensation and weekly contributions. In fact, if annual contributions go up $52.00, the preacher’s salary goes up, on average, $1.60. The rate of increase is about 3% of the growth in the total church budget.

Obviously enough, there’s quite a lot of scatter. Some preachers get paid very well for a church with modest contributions. Some of this is due to inaccurate data (some churches double counted the housing allowance, and it’s hard to tell all those that made this mistake in filling out ACU’s ambiguously worded form). Some is due to varying congregational priorities.

Also, the average salary of a preacher for a very small church is in the $50,000 range (including benefits), which is not bad.

Comparing the two charts, it seems that for a preacher to gain a substantial increase in pay, he has to either move to a wealthier church or else grow his current church. We pay based on performance.

Now, this sounds very commercial, even mercenary, until you realize that average weekly contribution is a pretty good proxy for church size. The next chart compares compensation to attendance.

attendance-small.jpg

This is a funny-looking chart. That’s because ACU bunches congregation size into brackets. The x-axis is built on the midpoint within each bracket.

The trend for salary versus attendance is very linear. However, as the curve shows, the trend flattens at the high end.

Nonetheless, on average, a preacher gets a $54 raise for every one person in increased weekly attendance. Get 110 more people there, and compensation goes up, on average, about $6,000.

This means that a 110-person increase in attendance is worth about as much as 50 years in ministry, which suggests that the longterm ministers only generate about that much in church growth. As the average church size in the study is 277, this represents a 40% increase, or an annual rate of growth of about 0.7%, which is reflective of Churches of Christ as a whole.

Again, no church actually pays on commission. Rather, church growth is seen as an indicator of good work and is rewarded.

Now, for one more chart–

years-at-church.jpg

This chart compares salaries to the number of years a preacher has been at a given church. The linear trendline is almost exactly flat, meaning that salaries do not go up based on years at a church.

There was so much scatter, I tried to match a curve instead (second degree polynomial), and it shows that the wages actually decline with tenure! This doesn’t mean preachers get pay cuts. Rather, the preachers who never leave are just not very well paid.

And you can’t help but notice that the highest wages are clumped toward the left of the chart. The highest paid ministers haven’t been at their churches for long! With two exceptions, the preachers making over $100,000 have been at their churches 12 years or less. And these are, of course, the largest, most successful churches.

What the data shows, I think, is that, to get raises, preachers change congregations, moving to larger, wealthier churches. The preachers who never move are the preachers who aren’t in demand.

Preachers seem to have one of three career paths –

* They can build their church, see attendance and contributions rise, and be paid more accordingly.

* They can minister to a plateaued church and find their salaries plateaued.

* They can move to a bigger, more prosperous church and be paid more.

Some do a bit of all the above.

So what’s the point? Consider these –

* Elderships generally credit the preacher with growth in attendance and contributions. As these go up, the preacher is rewarded.

* Bigger, wealthier churches compete intensely to hire the most talented preachers. These tend to be younger (mid-50s or less). The competition bids wages up among these churches.

* Smaller churches with excellent preachers will lose their preachers to a larger church unless they grow and are able to pay him what he’s worth.

* Not many preachers are able to stay at a church and build it. Rather, churches either grow by hiring a new, better preacher (often getting a one-time bump in attendance) or they just grow. But it seems unusual for the growth to be preacher-driven.

You see, if growth were truly preacher driven, then the growth would continue over the long term with the same preacher in the same congregation, and we’d see preachers making more money as a result of long tenure with their church. And we just don’t.

Now, the first and last bullet points seem to contradict. Here’s what I think happens most of the time. A church grows. It outgrows its preacher. The preacher moves on. And the church hires a better preacher.

The new preacher gets paid more than the old preacher. After all, the church had to lure the new preacher away from his old church.

Now, this sounds terribly cynical, but it corresponds to my observation. And there are a couple of ways of looking at all this that might be true.

It may be that the new preacher really does create growth, but that he eventually tops out. As the church grows, it outgrows his skill set, and so he moves to another, smaller church to start over.

If this is so (and there is some truth to it), then it tells us that our preachers just don’t know how to grow big churches. As the churches grow, either they don’t know how to organize a bigger church, and so it plateaus, or else they fail to mature the eldership to oversee a larger church (or the elders refuse to mature). Either way, they top out.

Or it means that churches typically grow for reasons independent of the preacher — often due to population growth in the surrounding community. The church attracts more people and, again, the preacher fails to keep up and so the elders hire someone who can handle the bigger church.

Now, this should be of great concern to us in the Churches of Christ. We have only one megachurch — Richland Hills in Ft. Worth. We have a handful of other churches in the 1000+ range. (The survey includes 9 churches over 1,000 members, which is likely close to comprehensive.) We don’t have a single church that’s a threat to hit 10,000 in the next 10 years, with the possible exception of Richland Hills. None are growing at that kind of pace — although there are scores of Protestant churches in the US growing that fast and faster.

Worse yet, we just don’t have much growth where the preacher has been responsible for growth for year after year. I mean, where’s the high-paid preacher on the right end of the chart? I count only 3 with 20 or more years at the same church making $60,000 or more — and $50,000 is about average pay for preachers at the smallest churches in the survey!

But then, we just don’t have that much growth at all. The Churches of Christ are not, on the whole, growing. The 0.7% per annum rate means we aren’t even keeping our own kids in church, as explained here. And one very real reason is the absence of very large churches that drive growth and set an example and prove methods for other churches.

When Churches of Christ go looking for help on how to grow, we turn to Saddleback and Willow Creek, not sister congregations in the Churches of Christ!

There is something missing, something holding us back. We aren’t growing, we aren’t producing very large churches, and we aren’t producing preachers who can help churches grow at high levels.

What’s wrong?

I don’t know that I have the answers, but I have some ideas. We’ll talk about them as the posts continue.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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20 Responses to Reruns: Hiring the Right Preacher

  1. Bob Harry says:

    Jay

    my yougest son is a Federal prison guard and his compensation is over $ 60,000 annually, not counting overtime and other amenities. I must admit, a good preacher and a good school teacher are worth more than a prison guard as far as their contribution to the well being of society.
    I don't want to blow the wind out of your sails about a preacher. They go through a lot and much more is demanded from them than a prison gaurd. But a congregation will grow because of the friendly outreach of the members both to the visitor and the friends we bring to a friendly congregation. By friendly I mean they love each other and they love the stranger that comes into their presents. They follow up and greet the new person in their midst with phone calls, visits, cards and making friends. They don't wait and hope the newcommer returns. They are very pro-active.
    A good preacher helps set the tone and should be friendly to each member and the stranger. No doubt a good sermon helps but the public in a whole consider a good musical presentation over a good sermon because most preachers talk too long. Elders also should be friendly to the stranger and not huddle in little groups.
    We have to rely on outside sources like Bill Hybels and others who are more experiencd at winning people by frienship evangelism than any COC Phd I've seen.
    The perception of the new person is how I am treated during my first exposure to you is a snapshot of how you will treat me in the future.
    I the late 90's and early 2000's the CARE ministry taufgt congregations how to grow by a harvest of newcommers. It still works today.
    We visited a congregation where we moved that was very friendly while we were at the service but after two times not a call or a card.
    In conclusion, yes a good preacher nakes a dramatic difference as do good elders. But a friendly, spirit filled loving congregation will work miracles. This is not a greeters program but a way of live. If you have it you will grow, if not you will not grow. Most people who visit are convinced after 15 minutes from the time they hit the front door whethor or not they will return, even with a good preacher

    Love one another……Bob.

  2. mark says:

    Preacher pay is an oddity that doesn't have a lot of meaning. I'm all for supporting men who do preach and minister but the model is very worldly. I see many theological challenges that make the practice of hiring and firing seem to close to business standards rather than Christian standards. For one is the role elders play in setting policy and procedures. Another is the role academia plays in attempting to qualify people in the service of the church. Last is the societal undertones that reflect an attempt to make ministers middle to upper class citizens regardless of the congregations social class. The results of such thinking do not compare to what Christ did in ministry.

    What was Jesus worth? How much did he get paid? Even more would a church hire a man like Jesus?
    Now Jesus did have support and lived an average lifestyle for his time but he didn't do ministry out of a condition of church polity. There is another problem and that is volunteerism is often devalued or viewed as rogue in the church because of the lack of control church organization has over such members. Often it is deemed as competitive to paid ministry especially when volunteerism gets better results.

    There is one more thing I think is most of down fall of the whole preacher career concept and that is preaching as we know it today is disconnected from evangelism. A preachers audience should not be the congregation on Sunday morning. The gospel needs to be preached in a venue where the major of the people are seekers or non believers. This is the Biblical model preachers should be creating disciples.

  3. Bob Harry says:

    mark

    Amen on all counts.

    The retirees in the Church have more experience and more to offer. So why don't we use more retirees in the service. Some of have preached without pay and have built things all over the world. But age seems to be discredited.

    You make some excellant points. Forgive my spelling. I'm an engineer

  4. Jay Guin says:

    Bob,

    I agree that it takes much more than a capable preacher to grow, and I've seen churches grow with no preacher at all. However, I also think that leadership is the key to long-term growth.

    Most churches are small. 50% have 75 or fewer members. Few have the native knowledge and talents to change into the kinds of churches that God needs in today's world.

    Few elderships have the training or knowledge base either.

    Therefore, we need preachers to be trained on how to lead churches to be the churches God calls us to be. I don't think many preachers receive leadership training. I know elders receive essentially none.

    Some efforts are being made to do a better job of training elders via ElderLink — but it's not nearly enough. My impression is that we largely train preachers on theology and not on leadership — the theory being that they are hired to preach and counsel, not to lead. This model is out of date and will lead to continued decline.

    The Churches of Christ need radical change, and we need someone in each congregation to know how to bring needed change and lead the Churches toward greater missionality and effectiveness. If not the preacher, who do we plan to train and how?

    Personally, I'd like to see concerted efforts at training (or re-training) both elders and preachers. But we can most easily start by revamping our preacher training programs. That's easy and we know how.

  5. Nic says:

    Ran across this today. Maybe it fits this topic maybe not, but it does fit way too much sutff.

    The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best
    strategy is to dismount.

    However, in modern business, government, Dr.'s offices and some churches because of the heavy investment factors to be taken into consideration, often other strategies have to be tried with dead horses, including the following:

    1. Buying a stronger whip.

    2. Changing riders.

    3. Threatening the horse with termination.

    4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

    5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.

    6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

    7. Appointing an intervention team to reanimate the dead horse.

    8. Creating a training session to increase the riders load share.

    9. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

    10. Change the form so that it reads: "This horse is not dead."

    11. Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

    12. Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.

    13. Donate the dead horse to a recognized charity, thereby deducting its full original cost.

    14. Providing additional funding to increase the horse's performance.

    15. Do a time management study to see if the lighter riders would improve productivity.

    16. Purchase an after-market product to make dead horses run faster.

    17. Declare that a dead horse has lower overhead and therefore performs better.

    18. Form a quality focus group to find profitable uses for dead horses.

    19. Rewrite the expected performance requirements for horses.

    20. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

  6. Jay Guin says:

    Nic,

    How about —

    21. Make the dead horse the editor of a church periodical.

  7. Bob Harry says:

    To you all

    This has been a great post. I agree we need to train both elders and preachers to do a better job in leadership. I hope we can. But my premise is that good leaders are born not trained. It is a great gift. Jesus was the best of all and I hope and pray that we will have the faith in or of Jesus to do a better job.

    It is so hard to go into a congregation that both the eldership and preacher lack leadership and really do not know that they do. It requires much more of a persons efforts to swing them around to be friendly and understand the need to really reach out to a lost and dying world. On his last trip to Galilee Jesus saw the lost as a wheat field ready for harvest. You can feel his frustration when he proclaimed the harvest is ready and the workers are few.
    I pray that we have the strength for one more effort in our advanced age to do a turn around again.
    I still maintain that it starts with a friendly congregation.

    Grace and peace to all of you…Bob

  8. John Grant says:

    In General Contracting, a superintendent in order to earn his pay is required to fill out a report of what got accomplished each day.

    An attorney keeps a time journal of everyone he talks to in order to bill as agreed on a charge per time worked basis.

    So do engineers.

    I know of no other profession or business where the one getting paid sets his own hours and amount he works but preachers.

    I see nothing wrong at all, even see it as required to expect a daily report from those in the preaching business. post it on the bulletin board.

    Time spent selling personal papers, books, amway, bibles,
    vitamins, study books, anything other than working for the pay received should be deducted voluntarily.

    No employer of ours expects any less from any of us!

    Why not preachers? I've never understood this. Would you keep a $60,000,00 or $10,000.00 yearly employee that works only 4 hours at most a week? Don't tell me he needs all that time to study and prepare as many others, men and women in that same church hold down full time jobs and some work more than one job and they study and prepare to teach just as many classes and neither expect nor get any pay at all.

    Maybe we should take our eyes off what the members need to be doing just for a while and look at what we're getting for what we are paying. How about some leadership!

  9. John Grant says:

    Bob. We poisted about the same time.

    I know there are preachers that work very hard, keep a running schedule.

    Most, in the average church of Christ in my opinion do not.

  10. Bob Harry says:

    In my job as a petroleum engineer I spent many 10-12 hour days for six days a week on wells and 168 hour weeks on a derick barge in the middle of the south china sea or offshore indonesia building offshore facilities. We worked very hard trying to unravel the mysteries of some oil and gas reservoir to increase peformance. I have spent hours in many remote locations dodging bullets from civil wars in Armenia.

    I love preachers but I just wish they had the same work pattern as I did when I worked full time. I am sure some do but I have not seen many that do. Jay seems to be the exception with the volume of material he posts.

    I hope for the best but am not disapointed when reality sets in. I remain to be impressed

  11. Jay Guin says:

    Bob,

    I'm not a preacher. Just a Sunday school teacher and elder.

    Sent from my iPhone

  12. Guy says:

    John,

    there are scores of things i did because i was the hired minister that i frankly would not have done otherwise. But they were things that few or no one ever saw, that would've been very difficult to measure in terms of time and impact, and frankly, would've felt well…un-humble for lack of a better term to write it down or check it off as though i should get some sort of job credit for it.

    it may seem so terribly obvious to you that preachers should be treated the same as any other professional. But it's precisely that sort of treatment that nearly ruined my faith while i was in ministry. People no longer loved me as brothers, they simply held me under a microscope to see how much per penny they were extracting from me. And of course, no two people had the same ideas about what counted toward my job performance and what didn't. i wasn't related to as family–not with encouragement or compassion or partnership. But i was a hireling and constantly under review, sometimes by the hour.

    There is a tremendous difference between ministry and the secular professional. The meter maid probably doesn't think or fret about her eternal fate being deeply wrapped up in her issuing of tickets–just her paycheck. The guy working AT&T's customer service calling center probably doesn't feel that every move he makes on the phone is a reflection of his deepest and most essential identifying factor. As a minister however, it's virtually impossible to keep the two relatively separate. Review a minister's job performance, and it's nearly impossible not to be reviewing his personal discipleship. Are you ready for your faith to be under that kind of constant scrutiny?

    It's torture frankly. Every unhappy congregant seems to imply that you're not merely a bad hireling, but you're a bad Christian. People can pay lip service all they want to the idea that the two are separate. But when you're the one in the slot, they don't feel separate at all.

    Why? Because i didn't want to teach teens the gospel for money. i didn't want to pray with people to build wealth. i never wanted to baptize people to turn a profit. i never opted to serve Christ in order to gain riches. i did it because i wanted nothing more than to follow Christ all day every day. And yet my performance was measured by monetary reward. Every dollar in my pocket needed justificaiton. i decided if that's what people think, then they can keep their precious money. Being a paid minister was the most cheapening experience i've ever been through. It's the only time in my life that i felt like i knew precisely how much my faith in Christ was worth–it was typed right on the check i was handed every week. Sick, sick, sick.

    And frankly, i think that viewing the church and its ministers as a business with professionals cheapens the Lord's body. if you view it just like a J-O-B then people will treat it like a J-O-B whether they're good at it or not. But Christianity is not a J-O-B. It's the deepest fiber of who we are. And we ought to follow Christ to the best of our ability–full-time minister or otherwise–whether we're ever paid one red cent or not.

    As long as people in the pews will "hire" "professionals," then they can justify leaving the work to the professionals. As long as people in the pews "hire" "professionals," they can be the customers and review the services provided and decide whether or not to take their "business" elsewhere. That's a fine example of consumerism. But it's not family.

    When leaders at your church are being jerks, does that mean it's okay to withhold money from the congregation's missionary basket to be sent to those doing the Lord's work in foreign fields? When widows are unpleasant or crotchety, does that make it okay to stop mowing their lawn or visiting them? When orphans are ungrateful, does that mean it's okay to stop supporting them? When God isn't blessing you sufficiently to your liking or is letting you suffer more than you think you should, does that make it okay to stop putting money in the plate on Sunday or to stop thanking Him or praising Him? Yet as soon as the preacher isn't to our liking, we can rip up his check and send him away.

    "Well, we have to be wise with the Lord's money."

    (1) That's no excuse to place a higher value on money than Christ does. If God wants us to have more money, then the God of providence is perfectly capable of making it rain more money into our churches than our silver trays can carry. The fact that He doesn't downpour pennies from heaven into our plates on Sunday suggests we don't need money as much as we think we do in order to be a spiritual success. Stewardship should never be a cover for hoarding, materialism, or worship of the almighty dollar.

    (2) It baffles me how when the dollar is in my pocket, it's mine, but as soon as it touches the plate, it magically transforms into the "Lord's money." As in it wasn't God's when it was in my pocket? Keep your precious "Lord's money"! Why not teach men to sacrifice for the cause of Christ? To let ministry be its own reward? To choose poverty in serving Christ over riches in serving an investment firm? But no, we "attract" high-performers into ministry by dangling a professional salary from a stick. There are plenty of religious groups who pay their leaders little or nothing who are not hurting for attendance nor performance. Take a look at the Mormons, for instance. Virtually all their "dirty" work is done by volunteers. Yet they are not hurting for attendance or member-commitment or volunteer base. Wow. who'd've though you could be a spiritual success without imitating the world's methodology? i mean, where are the John-the-Baptists of this generation?

    Sorry, John, but i must vehemently disagree with you. i hope we reject the deviant concept of the "professional" minister sooner rather than later. As long as we imitate the world's methodology in this regard, we won't have any leaders who are any more extraordinary on average than any other "professional" out in the world.

    –Guy

  13. John Grant says:

    Guy

    I appreciate your post. I do think you misunderstood me in some aspects. I probably didn't make my self clear.

    In the real world, any small or average sized church of Christ will want a full time preacher and will spend all it collects in the plate and request help from others to support us with their money so we can have a preacher full time.

    That being the case. how much is being done in the areas you mentioned needing done? None! If $60,000.00 is going to the preacher and if there is any extra that comes in, it should reduce the amount coming in from those good enough to be supporting us.

    What good works could that $60,000.00 do in a community to further the gospel and save the souls of our neighbors which should be our prime objective?

    If the members are doing all that the preacher is doing, praying for needs, visiting the sick, then why have one? Let the members or a part time preacher preach Sunday morning and Sunday night. Thank God for old retired preachers.

    Where does the bible say we must have a full time preacher for each group of christians meeting?

    Take that salary money, sell the preachers house owned by the church in many cases and do the good work you listed. I'm sure all for that.

    I'll wager, yes, I gamble, that if you called everyone in the community most by far wouldn't even know the name of the
    supported full-time preacher. If so, we are wasting The Lord's money is my whole point.

    We've been brainwashed in my opinion.

  14. Bob Harry says:

    This is getting hot. One solution to the dillema is to do away with a "hired staff" and let the volutneers do all the work of teaching and preaching. When I was in the non class group we did just that. We did not have a preacher or youth minister. We taught our kids at home. Most of us who are retired have enough bible knowledge to be able to talk for twenty minutes without much preparation.

    When I had a full time job I preached two or three times monthly, did visitation and evangelism. Today we hire a staff of preachers and ministers to do what we should be doing anyway. Most do not do that good of a job. We don't put down preachers or try to measure their progress or work. The preachers I know don't communicate that well with the flock. They usually have one or two elders as their sole friends and hide from the rest of us.

    Guy I don't know what your experiene was but true you are under a micro scope and much is disproporionately expected of you. But my friend those of us in the high tech world simply get terminated if we don't perform.

    We do nnd more volunteers and a staff that will use them.

    Love you all. Hope 2010 is better for all of you.

    Bob

  15. Aaron says:

    One comment above said "Most of us who are retired have enough bible knowledge to be able to talk for twenty minutes without much preparation."

    How does one respond to such a comment? Do we note how frequently we have experienced these sermons? how edified and encouraged we were by them? suggest a more substantial sermon? do away with sermons of that type entirely? suggest adult bible study on a level that we experienced in our university studies? God help us all.

  16. Bob Harry says:

    Aaron

    1Peter 3:15 and Col. 4:6.

    This principle works in the Church out in the world when talking to those with problems or those who do not know Jesus. It works in our problem solving where one needs an answer very quick.

    I always have several lessons mentally prepared.

    We have gotton off the point, that is about hiring prachers. A preacher is a small cog in a complex system that works closley with ALL people in the congregation . If this happens and the congregation is friendly and open to guests and with each other it will produce a synergism that is more effective than several acting alone. I have seen too many congregations that, perhaps not by intention ,do not interface with all those willing to serve.
    Any preacher should spend at least twent hours or more preparing a sermon that is designed to meet a certain problem or goal.

    Happy New Year

    Bob

  17. Larry Short says:

    Wow, some of this is awful! A few points.
    By the hour professionals do keep logs of time, meetings, etc. Major executives, generals, captians, etc. usually do not. Most leadership executives are judged by performance not work. In many cases the preacher is like this.
    If the congregation is growing, the sick are visited, etc. whatever the congregation expects of the job. I doubt that anyone cares to read Saban's log sheets, if he wins his bowl game. I doubt that Rick Warren is judged by a timesheet.
    The only difference between a full time hired preacher and every member of the church is that the salary should free up time for work. I have seen some retired people serve long hours in church work. I have also seen some very talented evangelists do a significant job in lessor hours. Let God judge.
    I know the error in thinking that we hire someone to do God's work, so we don't.. Members or preachers should be humble.

  18. Frank B. says:

    Regarding the original post: I wonder how much of the salary and growth thing is related to the fact that most culturally-white Churches of Christ are really led and controlled by elders. Many preachers in Churches of Christ get the feeling that they are responsible, but not authorized. Not fathers; more like step-fathers.

    Related: Seems like we need more church planters. Most of our preachers (self included) know a little about building on another man's foundation, but don't know much at all about starting from scratch.

    Related: What about sacred celibacy as a value (if not the norm or requirement) in church life and ministry? What about a cadre of widows ala 1 Timothy 5? I bet they'd work circles around the typical church staff.

  19. guy says:

    So i suppose that after the one sermon where Jesus went from a huge crowd of followers down to probably no more than the twelve (John 6:66), it would've been justified to fire Jesus since he failed to perform in terms of growth?

  20. Jay Guin says:

    All,

    I think the main post pretty accurately describes reality. And I agree that reality isn't that great.

    We don't have a well-thought through understanding of what the preacher should do or where he fits into the leadership structure of the church.

    We are due for some serious re-thinking of what we want out of that position and the kind of men we should hire for the job and how they should be trained.

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