Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Does The Church Treat Their Ministers

I think it is important how a church treats their ministers. It can either help or hinder the future of the church. I have had some rough experiences in ministry (a stalker, elders and staff that didn't support or encourage, congregations who paid bare minimum, no health insurance, elders who didn't lead or Shepherd, slander, typical church politics, hidden agendas, unrealistic expectations, and on and on).

My home congregation treats their ministers wonderfully. I have been blessed by my home congregation as they have supported and prayed for me while going through my illness. I am thankful for them and all the other congregations who have been there for us. I know of ministers who have had a great, wonderful experience in ministry. If so please share your experience with us. I enjoy preaching, teaching, baptizing, weddings and challenging people to grow, change, have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I just had a very difficult time so far in full time ministry. I believe the church needs to be a safe place. A place of love and support. A place of enrichment and fulfillment for them and their families. A place where they are taken care of by physically and spiritually. I think if more ministers had great experiences in ministry we would have less ministers burning out, leaving ministry and discouraging their children from becoming ministers themselves.

Questions for discussion: So, how do should treat their minister ministers? How have you been treated in ministry by the church? How does the way the church treat their ministers play a role in the future of the church? What would you change in how the church treats their ministers?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.


Blogger Royce Ogle said...

I think the answers are as varied as the churches scattered across the country. Some, or perhaps most, treat their ministers very well. I know others where even the elders treat the preachers very badly not even being hospitable.

One of my pet peeves is what congregations expect of preachers. Most expect super human results from a human. All of the various responsibilities preachers get saddled with are shocking to put it mildly. Most are expected to be fantastic administrators, dynamic preachers, great soul winners, counselors, teachers, hospital chaplins, and the list goes on and on and on and on...

Meanwhile they want someone who is "sound"(what ever that means) married with 2.5 kids, yada, yada, graduate of a "brotherhood school" etc.

I'm curious. How many ask applicants for preaching jobs about the spiritual disciplines? Questions like how much do you study the word weekly? Describe your prayer life? Do you have regular answers to prayer? Are you the servant leader of your home? Are you working toward being holy? Not likely.

Forgive the length of my comment.

I hope your health is steadily improving.


7:18 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this topic brother. I always appreciate what you have to say. I am doing better. Still having migraines.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Dale's Spot said...

You and your readers might want to read this post, it seems to have blessed some in ministry:

12:03 AM  
Blogger jel said...

morning Preacherman,& family :)

7:27 AM  
Blogger reborn1995 said...

i had an overall not-so-great experience in full-time ministry. i lasted three years after preaching school before burnout. i experienced people who were after a politician rather than a disciple. What mattered? Image. Reputation. Appearances. i didn't get much encouragement to just focus on what God knows and what He thinks of me, and do what He wants regardless of what people think; rather, the unspoken message was to focus concern on the most recent opinion polls. This phenomenon was the fatal drain on my movitation and desire to continue in the field. After 3 years, i realized that i wasn't really a disciple of Christ anymore. i wasn't a God-pleaser, i was a people-pleaser. And it felt very, very cheapening.

On the other hand, i did meet and work with a few really great people. The pulpit minister at my last full-time job gave me the most helpful hint i ever received. The "80/10/10" rule is what he called it. 80% of the people will evaluate you based on the actual quality of your performance. 10% will love you even if you're Judas. 10% will hate you even if you're Jesus. Ministers are usually tempted to spend virtually all their energy and attention on the last group--a total waste of that energy.

That was all over 6 years ago now. i really don't think i'd ever get back into it again. i've become more skeptical that our modern ministers play the same role as that of 'ministers' in the first century.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Wade Tannehill said...

What Royce said. I think preachers should be allowed to focus on whatever gifts they bribng to the table insteasd of being forced to spread themselves so thin that they don't do anything well. I seem to be currently blessed at a congregation that thinks my gifts are important.

What reborn1995 said also resonates with me since I've also been at least one church where it was all about appearance and image. I am foremost and primarily a Bible teacher, but some churches today care far more about glitz. Sad.

1:54 PM  
Blogger cwinwc said...

I’m an elder and a middle school teacher by trade. Our minister went to school to be a minister. I work a full time job that has plenty of after work hours in of itself. Our minister has the time during the day (and some nights) to focus his undivided attention on our church.

I say all of that to say that at our church, we need, trust, and encourage our minister to foster a vision for our church. We like to think that at our church the vision is ministered fostered, ministered driven, and elder protected. Our minister is not “him” or “they” but rather “us” as in part of the Leadership Team.

We are not “suspicious” of our minister and if you don’t think that’s a problem in our fellowship, just Google one of our “well known” minister’s name. We encourage our minister to have a family life and take care of his spiritual walk so that he can minister to others.

Those were the first few thoughts that jumped in my head. Now I have to go “fire” our minister. Just kidding! 
Oh yeah, its great if your minister is also a friend.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

I think that a church will respond differently depending on their community paradigm.

..if their paradigm is a corporate one they will treat the minister as an employee.

..if they view the church as a family they will care for the minister as a brother or sister.

..if they see the church as Christ's body they will treasure the minister as a gifted and essential member of the body.

I do wonder though if the answer might be found in this question:

How does the minister treat church members?

1:36 PM  
Blogger Franklin Wood said...

I've been on both sides. I've been ill-treated at a church where they just wanted me to perform and weren't willing to let me learn. They were very law-driven instead of grace-oriented. Elders prayers were in meeting format: opening and closing. When members came with concerns, i was pulled into elders' meetings.
One of the first experiences at my current church was a lady that had a problem and said, "One of the elders said I should talk to you." (i don't think I've ever been happier to face conflict!)You mean, the elders don't fight those battles?
They also pray WITH me (in my office.)
They trust my training in youth ministry and let me do what I need to do.
They are encouragers.

11:39 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I totally understand where you are comming from and have been apart of churches where image and show was everything. I had also become a people pleaser and came to the conclusion that even Jesus Himself couldn't please everyone nor did he try. When the minister is expected please everyone it leads to an empty spiritual life and burnout.
Thank you brother for your comments. I greatly appreciate it.

I am glad that you are an elder who care about your ministers family and spiritual life. I want to challenge you to make a difference in his life by encouraging and being the shepherd for him and his family. It is wonderful that you can make a difference. I think you have a great view of ministry. It is wonderful that you aren't "Suspicious" of your minister and allow him do his ministry. I believe there are so many elderships that limit and hinder the gifts, abilities and talents of their ministers and that also leads a minister to burnout and quit ministry all together. I believe if there were more elders who cared about their ministers, their families, both physically and spiritually then we would have less men leaving ministry and would have less problems facing the church today. Alway remember that ministers are apart of the flock as well and need the spiritual care of sphepherds.

Kansas Bob,
Thanks for your thoughts and comments I appreciate what you say. The questions I have do even churches that view themselves as a family or body see their ministers as such or do they see them as hired servants? I have had friends in grace-oreinted churches that saw themselves as a "family of God" that didn't see the minister as such. I have had friends in "body of Christ" churches that didn't see their minister as part of the body just a hired man to serve them. So, is it just hit and miss? Or is there really churches out there that care, truely care for their ministers in both ways?

What needs to change to keep ministers in full time ministry? How they are treated by the churches that they minister!!!

5:33 PM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Thx for the response Kinney.

Why do you think ministers take positions in churches where they are considered as just the hired help?

The answer to that question might help you get to the root of the issue.

Possibly professional ministers and professional denominational leaders contribute to the problem?

7:38 PM  
Blogger Dusty Chris said...

Usually the church treats their ministers the way they treat their members. If they judge their own members, God help the minister. IF they encourage and nurture their members then usually they will do the same with the minister.

12:57 AM  
Blogger cwinwc said...

preacherman - Thanks brother and your points are well taken. :)

3:11 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I appreciate all of your thoughts and comments on this topic.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous dell kimberly said...

The problem with so many congregations is they don't believe the preacher is called by God to his work. As a result there is never enough respect for the man nor the work he does.

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