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What Every Pastor Needs (But Won’t Tell You)

what every pastor needs

The general stereotype of the modern-day minister is radically false. The men who lead the 350,000 churches in America usually minister to a congregation that averages about 90 members, only a small percentage of churches are megachurches with thousands of members. They spend their weeks with more to do than they have time for. They long for more time to study and pray, while there seems to be a never-ending parade of demands on their time for other things to do, from visiting the sick, to counseling, to maintenance around the church building. Yes, many of these men wear multiple hats and do far more than what their written job description calls for, and certainly more than the biblical idea of their offices within the church. I’d like to share what every pastor needs, but won’t tell you. Fortunately, the Bible does.

But most of these spiritual leaders do all this with a truly joyful heart, humbled to be used by God for His glory and expanding His Kingdom, and committed to the well-being of the sheep they shepherd.

All this work, often pursued to the point of burn-out, is often done with the minister lacking in two things he really needs to do his job well. Often these men don’t say much about the lack of these two important needs, but the Bible clearly identifies them and instructs us to make sure our ministers are lacking in neither:

“The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” – 1 Timothy 5:17 (NASB).

For the sake of greater clarity, the New Living Translation Bible presents that verse this way:

“Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching,” 1 Timothy 5:17 (NLT).

Let’s take a look at these two things the Bible tells us ministers who do their jobs well are worthy of:

What Every Pastor Needs

First, pay them well.

The average senior pastor in America makes between $33,000 and $70,000 annually. Just like you, many of these men are married with children, and are trying to provide for their families in modern America with pre-tax dollars as low as $33,000 a year, and many sources say that salary is often as low as $24,000 per year.

Simply put, many ministers are under-paid, and we’re seeing more and more of our ordained ministers taking second jobs to adequately provide for their families. To not have a salary sufficient to adequately provide for his family creates a powerful, negative distraction for the minister. He must provide for his family! If his salary (not “salary package,” but actually salary) is insufficient to care for himself and his family, then the minister will have to do something in addition to his ministry work to make ends meet. With some, that means some important ministry work will go undone, but far too often it means these men add a second job on top of their church work and try to do both with excellence. Doing so puts such ministers on the fast-track to burn out.

Scripture tells us ministers who do their ministry work well are worthy of being paid well!


What every pastor needs but will rarely actually say: it’s your respect! Ministers do what they do to honor and please God, but along with that, your respect for their work is a massive blessing to them. It helps to keep them going when their burdens are heavy, and in the quiet of their study, it causes them to believe everything they do is worth the cost to them.

Note that it’s not okay to offer extra doses of respect in lieu of less dollars! What every pastor needs is not an either/or but a both/and — these men are worthy of the double honor of being paid well for their work so finances are not a distraction to ministry, and they should be highly respected for what they do.

That’s what the Bible tells us, even if these men don’t say, “I really need both of these things.” So, if the Bible tells us what every pastor needs, and tells us our ministers are worthy of both these things, how is your local church doing at making sure the ministers who serve you are getting them?


This article about what every pastor needs originally appeared here, and is used by permission.