3) By supporting himself, Paul was free from men’s judgments and opinions; this made him a more effective servant to all, that he might win more to Christ (1Cor 9:19-22).
What is the correct balance between receiving support for ministry and paying for your own needs through another job?
In some cases, the church leader does not have a choice in the matter, as he must labor to support himself. Or the responsibilities of the church may not require his full-time attention; he can then give his extra time to work at a job so as not to burden the church with his support. This is a way, as with Paul, to show love and a commitment to serve others. This is also a powerful testimony to a community that you are there to give and serve, not to take from them.
In other cases, a church is large enough to support the pastor with finances. But is it wrong or less “spiritual” to receive wages from a church? No, it is not. It is acceptable to receive a wage as a fulltime pastor or church leader.
Each church leader must often examine his own heart to insure that it is set on the right priorities (Col 3:1-7). For instance, would you continue to serve as the elder or pastor if you were receiving no financial support from the church at all? Or do you have extra time to work at another job, so as not to burden the church with your full support?
Paul strongly declared and applied self-discipline in order to obtain the “imperishable crown” of God’s approval rather than be disqualified (1Cor 9:24-27).
In Peter’s first letter to the churches, he, too, addressed a leader’s attitude in church service:
“The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1Pet 5:1-4).
The role of every church leader is to serve the flock God has given them. The flock is not there to serve the leader! The people you lead are NOT there to meet your needs or help you “succeed” in ministry. They are there so that you may love them, serve them, shepherd them in God’s Word and ways – and see them matured and trained to do the work of ministry! (Eph 4:12)
THE LEADER’S ATTITUDE TOWARD WEALTH
Some in the Church today use ministry for material gain. Jesus revealed that such “shepherds” are not committed to the well-being of the flock (John 10:12,13).
Others think that wealth is a sign of God’s blessing and approval on their ministry. This is not true (Luke 12:15; Jas 2:5) – and leads us to put our affections on material, earthly things rather than on incorruptible spiritual things (Matt 6:19,20; 1Pet 1:4).