RICH PASTOR, POOR PASTOR
Lessons from “Church Finance”…
This note is a brief summarized summary of the major lessons I learnt in one of the courses I took in the Executive Leadership Course at Daystar Leadership Academy. The course title is CHURCH FINANCE and it was facilitated by Bolaji Idowu.
Let me start with this excerpt:
“A pastor tells a story of a conference he attended. He got there late and the hall was filled up. He however had a VIP card which he showed to the ushers. As soon as they saw it, they began to look for ways to get him a seat. Around that time, Pastor Adeboye walked in. He had no tag and was not one of the speakers for the day. But as soon as people saw him, they adjusted such that he was seated in no time! This VIP pastor was still standing. Then, it finally occurred to him that YOU DON’T NEED A CARD IF YOU REALLY ARE A VIP…“
Just when I “caught” this title “Rich Pastor, Poor Pastor” in my spirit and went through my jottings from the lecture on Church Finance, I decided to go online and search with that phrase. “Something” told me someone must have thought about it, too and written on it. I was right. I got About 3,530 results (0.34 seconds). I scanned through a couple of the pages and found an interesting article that started with these words:
“I’ve heard of young pastor. I’ve heard of lady pastor. Heck, I’ve even heard ofgay pastor. But rich pastor??? Now, that is something to think about”.
And here is an excerpt from the closing words:
“Anyway, their wealth is their private property. It really isn’t any of my business.In fact, I’d recommend that young people seeking a career path should seriously consider going into ministry. Remember, in church, you have a captive audience who’ll buy anything you sell. And, they’ll feel guilty if they didn’t give you 10% of their income each month! Theoretically, it doesn’t even matter whether you believe in Christ or not. You just have to say the right words, do the right actions, fake it long enough and not get caught. Then you can enjoy all the financial rewards from the church”.
Now, isn’t that what many of us think? It’s much easier to think like that in Nigeria! And it has got me thinking… So I listened with rapt attention to the lecturer on CHURCH FINANCE. So what you will be reading will be what “I” learnt.
I’ve seen both groups. I don’t have to look far. There are practical examples in my neighbourhood! As a matter of fact, my church has a number of interesting perspectives about “pastoring”:
- You are either into full-time pastoring, or you are NOT a pastor at all.
- Your congregation takes care of you, as such, don’t expect any “meaningful salary”.
But even with those perspectives, I still find both groups of pastors in my church—the “Rich” and the “Poor”.
In the olden days, pastors and church-workers lead a simple lifestyle. The church provides them with food, accommodation, transport and a meager salary. They are content with their simple lives as they serve God to build treasures in heaven. That’s why we have the idiom “poor as a church mouse”—because church mice are traditionally poor.
Nowadays, things are a little different. You probably have heard this cliché:
“Anointing without money is annoyance.”
Solomon said it like this:
There was a poor but wise man in that town whose wisdom saved the town, BUT HE WAS PROMPTLY FORGOTTEN. (He was only a poor man, after all.) Ecclesiastes 9:15 MSG
Wealth protects the rich; POVERTY DESTROYS THE POOR. Proverbs 10:15 GNB
The truth is that you hardly can make much impact these days without “money”. As a pastor, once your mind is not balanced, you will find it difficult to pursue your God-given vision! And if we really want to be sincere with ourselves, aren’t the most impactful ministries today the richest ones?
So personally, I don’t have a problem with a pastor being rich…but I have a problem with a pastor being rich from “milking his flock dry”. That’s going into ministry with a wrong motive: GREED! If you see ministry as a means to an end, then the end of the means has come!
Greed is so subtle…and most pastors (and CEOs) are neck deep into its snare before they realize. It comes in many forms. Greed for approval. Greed for applause. Greed for status. Greed for the best office, the most comfortable car or house, and the list goes on and on. Greed has many faces but speaks one language: the language of more. Epicurus stated,
“Nothing is enough for the man for whom enough is too little.”
And what was that observation of John D. Rockefeller?
He was asked. “How much money does it take to satisfy a man?” He answered, “Just a little more.”
Greed has a growling stomach. Feed it, and you risk more than budget-busting debt. You risk losing your purpose, for before you know it, Greed will seduce you out of your sweet spot!
I’ll summarise it in these three points:
Greed wants More (Luke 12:15). Greed hunts your Purpose (Judges 9:7-16). And Greed deserves Nothing (Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:11).
Don’t give it a chance!
There’s a better way—the ONLY way—to being “rich”, as a pastor or a non-pastor. I’ll encode it with the acronym: I-M-A-G-E! [Integrity, Management, Accountability, Giving, and Economies]
(All the scriptures below are from The Message Translation).
Pro 11:3 The integrity of the honest keeps them on track; the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.
***nothing increases your finances as integrity!***
1Tim 6:17-19 Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage— to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.
***it’s not how to RAISE money that matters, but how to MANAGE what you have***
Exo 13:19 …”God will surely hold you accountable,…”
***accountability begins with keeping records…PROPERLY***
Pro 21:26 Sinners are always wanting what they don’t have; the God-loyal are always givin
g what they do have.
***It takes a “giving” minister to raise a “giving” church! Giving must be our lifestyle***
Pro 13:22 A good life gets passed on to the grandchildren; ill-gotten wealth ends up with good people.
***it’s WISDOM to save for the rainy day***
A WORD TO THE CEOs…
How often do we see a wealthy CEO of a major corporation act in arrogant and selfish ways that show us that he is putting himself at the center of attention? Just understand that if you are setting up a business “just” for the sole purpose of “making profit” and getting richer, you are digging your grave!
The truth is this: You can get too high in life… too high for your own good. Granted, height has its charms. Frosty air. Breathtaking views. Who doesn’t enjoy feeling higher than others? Yet, the air that is frosty is also thin. Linger too long at high altitudes and two of your senses will suffer—yourhearing and your vision. Your hearing will dull. It’s hard to hear people when you are higher than they are. And, when you are up there, it’s hard to see people. They appear so small. They all look alike. You don’t hear them. You don’t see them. You are above them.
My advise? Come down before you fall. You have to have an honest assessment of yourself. Ponder your fame and count your money in a cemetery. But it pays better to celebrate the significance of others, even your clients…and your staff! And if I were you, in a feast, I’ll take the lowest place.
Perhaps Colossians 3:17 will be a good point to tie it all together for you:
“Whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus.”
The reason for your work is to represent Christ. God works through your work. Knowing that can give meaning to the job and power when the going gets financially tough. Your job matters to God because your job belongs to God.
1. Your jets are His. (Luke 5:1-3)
2. Your (financial) problems are His. (Luke 5:4-7)
3. His power at your work results in wonder. (Luke 5:8)
Let me end it all with more excerpt from that article I started with about Pastor E.A. Adeboye.
…Pastor Adeboye is rich because he is great. He is great because his name is associated withsolutions to problems! In simpler terms, PASTOR ADEBOYE IS RICH BECAUSE HE SOLVES PROBLEMS! He is responsible—directly or indirectly—for the jobs of thousands of people. Think about the number of staff in Redeemer’s University. Add those of the primary and secondary schools scattered across Nigeria. How about those who work in Redemption Camp, a town with estates, a clinic, mini markets… How about those who sell his tapes and books (which sell in thousands every day)?…The long and short of it—Pastor Adeboye is solving the problems of millions of people. He doesn’t have to touch their tithes or offerings. His name alone attracts value such that anything that is associated with him sells. Of course, it is also normal that he would be the beneficiary of generous offerings without having to solicit for them.
My advice to you is this: before you sit with a computer and criticize him for “using a jet while many of his church members are suffering”, ask yourself the following questions:
- How many people have I employed?
- How many schools have I started?
- Have I built a university?
- What is the human value of my name (or how many people will respond when they hear my name)?
- My company (or product): is it everywhere? (The Redeemed Christian Church of God is in almost every street in Nigeria and is probably the largest church network in the world.
- What have I sacrificed to achieve my dreams? (Pastor Adeboye graduated with first class honours in Mathematics and has a PhD. He however left lecturing and started Redemption Camp when the whole area was a forest. Because of him, that entire area is developed now.)
My suggestion? If you can’t meet up, shut up and get to work! There are indeed pastors that are ripping their congregations off. But WEALTH IS NOT NECESSARILY A TESTIMONY OF FRAUD. Stop “beefing” rich people. If you keep envying them, you will never be rich.
By the way, I don’t attend RCCG”.
And neither do I!
Pro 2:21 It’s the men who walk straight who will settle this land, the women with integrity who will last here.
Pro 14:32 The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold; the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.
Pro 11:20 GOD can’t stand deceivers, but oh how he relishes integrity.
Lucky David Nkumah I heard frm Arcbishop Idahosa teachin just yestaday that THE ONLY PERSON THAT CRITIZE YOU AND YOU SHOULD LISTEN IS SOMEONE WHO HAS DONE AT LEAST TWICE WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO ONCE
i think pastor sud get busy with their CALL and stop bein lazy. Their is always a reward 4 hard work in the right direction. God bles u sir. More grace
Oyeleke Mary Oluwadunsin Sista Wumi, dnt close it wide, stuffs are abt 2 enta…*winks*
Pastor Joseph, thanks for d lecture… I’m also on a 1 wk lecture, today is church finance anchord by Kola Ola.
Lookin 4wrd 2 Lecture 3 2mor.
Get busy wt God’s buisness, & He’l fix urs….See More
Gen Joshua Heirbygrace Money and gospel,a bidimensional relatnship,i was in a village in osun state 4 missions last weekend, a friend saw a church thr and z “Jesus cant be Lord here” poverty was written even on d church biuldin, am a citizen of Heaven and i enjoy the common …See More
Ola Joseph Kolawole Adewumi Bolanle: tell them o
Oyeleke Mary Oluwadunsin: So when is your one week supposed to end?…lol
Avwerosuo Okpako: You are welcome, my dear. Thanks for the converstion *winks*
Gen Joshua Heirbygrace: Amen! And I like that phrase “I can’t be poor”. My friend once stretched that and said “If you are poor, you are a sinner” (how true!)…lol
Emmanuel Abimbola Goodwill Thank God i met you. Finally i read this and am blessed as ever. I met Brother sam that plays bass guiter. He told me u were in that bus together(Soji). We attract our kind.. Have a blessed weekkkkkk. I love you bro. Greeting to mum and dad for their warm hospitality during my last trip to OAU…
Ola Joseph Kolawole Emmanuel Abimbola Goodwill: Thank God for everything, Big Brother! I’m gladder I met you, too! So you metOlarinde Samuel Adeyinka? That’s great! He’s a great music minister! You are soooo right sir: WE ATTRACT OUR KIND! I’ll deliver your message to Dad and Mum. Enjoy!