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25 December 2009

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Barefootmeg

"Churches need to become fully self supporting once again"

I'm confused about what you mean by that. Our church (body of believers) is fully supporting in that it (that body of believers) pays (through donations given generally during the service) for all of its expenses (our building is fully paid for at this point, but we do pay our pastor $50K/yr, there's utilities, missionaries, insurance, etc.). So would you say that that's a self supporting church? Or do you see the money as coming from somewhere else and the congregants giving to para-church organizations instead?

Malana Ganz

Dear Stephen,
It has been hard for me to read these postings and not regard them as an encouragement in our own community to strive to do better. It is good to hear your thoughts on this, as I really don't want to be reactive and defensive. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these subjects as there is much to think about. I'll work on being more objective.
The model for pastors working part time is an interesting one, but it is good for us all to be open to doing whatever God call us to do....it should be and will be different for each person at stages of their lives. We should temper our philosophical approach with the words of Jesus to Peter after the resurrection, when Peter asked about John's future: What is that to you? Follow me.
That is my stance when I don't understand other people's or other church's choices: I follow Jesus and trust the Holy Spirit to show others how to follow Him. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive to understand the principles that scriptures teach about moral judgment and wisdom in how to follow. Hopefully we are all learning.
Peace out, dude.

Stephen Grant

Malana,

Please do not read these posts as being written in response to TOL. TOL is a remarkable little community that is making its way clearly led by the Spirit. We learn from our mistakes and our successes. TOL doesn't follow the traditions. I don't think they ever will. But I have no complaints either. It is possible for there to be more than one great way to do church. As I am studying the traditions I am suggesting what the church can take from them.

Stephen Grant

Malana, If I said pastors shouldn't be paid I said more than I think is true. I do think we should be careful paying pastors, but I think pastors should be reimbursed to some degree. In the best of all possible scenarios, I am still a believer that pastors need to pastor in teams. In this model of a plurality of leadership all of the pastors could work part time and take responsibility for their own livings and then be reimbursed as needed for necessary time off from jobs etc... that they needed to pastor.

Malana Ganz

One of the goals we had for Tree of Life was to see if we could "do church" without money. We manage to do that pretty well, spending only for the meeting area and liability insurance. The other monies all go to missionaries, benevolence giving and the pastor's car payment. We never ask for money, and use all we are given. We depend on the Holy Spirit to remind people to be generous.

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