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  1. #41
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    I don't think a preacher being financially successful outside of the church is the problem. I think when a preacher is doing better then even a single member of his congregation and his money is coming from the congregation that's when it becomes morally questionable.

    Being successful outside of the church is not the problem (as long as the preacher doesnt ask the congregation to give more than he would) or accepting help from the church, but to be doing better than his congregation off of their sacrifices seems wrong to me. That's where the problem is in my opinion. Jesus accepted help but I'm sure he wasn't living better then the people that he was accepting help from.

    Again being successful is not the problem it's being successful off of others generocity that is. If you were living better than your congregation then there is a moral problem even if it's just a SINGLE member of your congregation that you're doing better then because that would mean you're accepting help from someone you should be helping.

    Regardless of morality though in the end it seems both possible and acceptable to make a living off of a christian church here in America. Preachers from all over this country do, everyday. It is an option and a choice that is made by someone for whatever reason. And they are able to live off of this choice whether it be wrong or not.

  2. #42
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Church looks different across seas and/or in the third-world countries.
    Because the culture is not greased on money, the church doesn't hinge on money.

    This is why there have been movements to create home churches, so that money is no longer an issue. Church moves out of a large conglomerate that demands buku amount of financial resources into people's living rooms and kitches, where everyone brings potluck meals, contributes their own experiences with God, and singing is free. People avoid all the overhead and instead emulate the original first-century church, gettin back to its roots, focusing on personal relationships with a core group.
    I was surely into that, but found it harder to get off the ground than it sounds. We're all so used to just paying someone to "lead" us. Is this the modern version of 1 Samuel 8? (esp. v. 11-18)
    Is the church a business, or is it a ministry?

    Within the last few months, my son turned 16. This past winter, he wanted badly to go on a missions trip to Swaziland, to help people. Then he went through this torturous period involving money concepts -- was it better for him to not go at all and just send the money, to feed starving people? Why did he need to go at all if he could just use the money directly to help someone?
    I often wonder this too. It's one thing if you're going over there to live among them, but while some do this, many preachers just go over there to "speak", and then quickly return to the states. Or some go for awhile and preach, yet still return. I think of some who do that, and that's their "sacrifice for the Lord", where it was "God" who "told" them to go, and they "obeyed", and they use this both to compare themselves both with those who suffer setbacks and difficulties here and rebut criticism that they have it easy ("People here may have lost their jobs, live in a run down house, etc. but, God sent me over to this place with all these bugs and no running water...", etc), as well as a sort of badge of merit for "what they have done for God", etc.

    They look to me like any other big businessman, statesman/royalty, or celebrity traveling the world like they are super significant. (and let's not forget the plush "conferences" and "retreats" they also fly around to; most of which are about what else, but running a business!) And all this at the expense of the Church corporation or individual givers!

    The apostles traveled, but it was not quite as glorious as what we have today. Paul traveled on cargo ships, and most of these apostle's journeys ended ultimately in death, or at least banishment (for the one who was "fortunate"). Once a church was planted, they moved on. They may have returned to a church that seriously needed some sort of help (including a moral push at times). But none of these periodic celebrity-style "tours" or "speaking engagements", where the primary thing he is bringing that others do not have is his name, and perhaps some sort of "skill" in his preaching or message.
    I don't think religious people have an easy out, though, if they consider their profession another way of serving God. In that case, there is not any real difference between serving God directly in a church, for compensation, vs working in the secular world to "serve God" for compensation, is there? Money is money is power to do things, it doesn't matter where it comes from. So the question remains regardless of whether we are talking church or secular profession, if one is religious.
    Exactly! Pastors often cite the verses saying that leaders are to "serve", but they are basically rendering a service for payment. And they often get into demanding more, like saying people are "giving enough". They then leave for another church, often creating a guilt trip. So again, pretty much just like the modern day "princes of the gentiles". (Matt.20:25)
    I was just thinking; I'm called a "civil servant", and I render service for payment too. But my job is geared as a secular profession from the beginning, not as what the New Testament church, patterned after Jesus' life and example was.
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