Pastors’ Salaries and Ministry – a Reflection on John Piper’s Recent Interview

THIS is what I am talking about when it comes to money in the ministry, especially when compared to “salaries” among our top Evangelical luminaries. Consider with me this honorable example of John Piper of a road to walk when it comes to money and the ministry. Some day some one will finally write the book on the scandal of Evangelical leaders’ enrichment in the Gospel ministry. I am not talking about the prosperity Gospel folk but the ordinary, run of the mill Evangelicals who are pulling in millions in salary, book royalties, speaking fees, mp3 and dvd sales, etc. I had an honorable example in my home church, the Tabernacle Church of Norfolk. At the root of Pastor John Dunlap’s belief was the conviction that a Pastor cannot preach discipleship to “pew guy” who sacrifices so that the Pastor can make more than he does. He received no gifts from the church, all honorarium were turned into the church and the wives of staff who chose to work in the church did not receive an extra salary so that pastors could not enrich their families at church expense. Once a year he would preach a sermon on wasting money on excessive weddings and funerals. Parishioners were just glad if it wasn’t after one of their family weddings or funerals. I still shake my head on what New Englanders will spend on a wedding and can’t reconcile the lavish expenditures with the Gospel priorities of the professing Christian. The church was taught and lived out Faith Promise Giving for missions. This example always stuck with me and I have tried my best to stay with it. There will be differences, for sure, on how this is lived out, and I am not excessively critical. But I have my eyes open when it is clear that a leader has a financial stake in his ministry successes that is beyond his needs.

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