Tuesday, May 15, 2007

No longer a professional

Sitting outside early this morning listening to the final drops of rain make their splattering noises on the leaves of the ash tree that guards my back yard, this thought knocked on the door, seeking entrance into my queue of musings: I am no longer a professional. This may not make sense to those of you who have never made your living doing church work, so I will try and explain. In vocational ministry, you have two sometimes conflicting needs; your faith and your salary. Both serve important purposes, but when one is dependent on the other, they can create a little cognitive dissonance. I raised my own finances through individual donors and interested churches for 18 years. We all were taught to say that we are trusting God for our needs, but it wasn’t always that easy, especially when you know that God is providing through people who may not be too happy with the directional risk you feel strongly about needing to take the ministry. If I decide we need to go that direction, and my salary donors don’t like the idea, what will I choose? Do I lean toward keeping people happy, or do I forge ahead with what seems to be the right thing? Such is the dilemma of the professional, one that I don’t experience right now. This is more of the freedom my soul clamors for. Faith and salary are much easier for me to maintain now that they are not dependent on each other. I still believe I am dependent on the Hand of God and His grace to provide my daily bread. I can gladly receive blessing and good fortune without having to hide what I really believe and am actually wrestling with concerning my faith. This is where I pity the pastor who has to stand in front of a congregation upon whom he is dependent for tithes and offerings. He can’t really be honest about his thoughts on prayer, especially when he is launching into a 5 week suppository preaching series on the Present Power of Purposeful People in Prayer.

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