Question: Should Pastors and Missionaries get a Job?
1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.
2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.
3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.
Paul leaves Athens and comes to the morally-corrupt city of Corinth. He stays with Aquila and Priscilla, Jews from Italy, because they are of the same trade as he, they were tentmakers.
Should ministers receive money?
Paul is clear in the book of Corinthians that ministers of the Gospel should receive pay for their labor in the gospel. This is critical to those ministers serving in areas where there is no work or countries where it is illegal for a foreigner to take a job from a local citizen. First Corinthians chapter 9 says, “5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?
6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?
7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?
8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?
9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.”[fn] Is it oxen God is concerned about?
10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.
11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?
12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.
13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?
14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”
Then why did Paul Work?
See more references below this messages. Paul worked because…
a) He did not want to hinder the gospel.
b) He wanted to provide a good example to work for his food. 2 Thes. 3.
c) He showed by hard work we must help the weak, for it is better to give than to receive. Acts 20.
Paul had a pattern of serving others at his own expense.
What are the advantages of a Pastor or Missionary who works outside of the ministry?
I really respect Paul for serving in this way, and I think this is a good example to ministers in the church today.
In large churches many Pastors are making more money than most of those in the congregation, they are driving very expensive cars, and living in premium neighborhoods. Although this shows the generosity of their congregation, to lost people this looks suspicious.
This is another reason why I like the house church / small church model. The house church / small church is simply too small to provide all the needs of a Pastor. Therefore a house church / small church Pastor needs to work just as Paul. The Pastor who works in addition to his Bible study preparation shows his diligence, and is a great example to the rest of the congregation who should also be providing for their family and serving others as well.
Also when a Pastor works at another job, it gives him more opportunities to be around lost people instead of always being around Christians.
Additionally, a Pastor who works to provide all or part of his living must require help from others in the ministry to get everything accomplished. This naturally provides opportunities for other members to get involved in ministry.
I greatly appreciate our house church Pastor, his wife, and his entire family. Not only does he work outside the home and prepares a lesson for the Sunday meeting, but his whole family is involved to prepare the home to host the church. And when his work interferes with his preparation, this opens up an opportunity for other brothers to prepare a lesson from the Word.
As Paul says, Gospel servants may receive money from the Gospel, and I really respect those gospel laborers who labor at Work and labor at the Word.
God bless all of our Christian workers. Amen.
See some more references to Paul working below.
Acts 20:17From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,a which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
2 Thessalonians. 3:6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”