Should a Full-Time Pastor Work?

Many a church leader is of the opinion that a full-time Pastor or any other ministry gift, should not work or engage in any personal business. These include those just starting up a church, with very few members and those who are called to public evangelism.

I have discussed and debated this issue with a few church leaders, called into “full-time” ministry; and most of them argue that someone called to be a full-time gospel minister shouldn’t work…

But after a while, these same leaders, after going through some financial challenges, eventually bend to my position and start doing some business to take care of their families.

While others that hold on strongly to the notion that God doesn’t want them to work at all, eventually end-up engaging in some dishonest practices to take care of themselves and families.

They go about pressurizing their members and other people to give to them. Some use unscriptural tactics to get money from people…

Some others begin to use church funds for personal needs without accountability. Some borrow from church funds in their possession without paying back. Then some escalate project costs to make undue profit. This is just to name but a few.

As a result of these errors by church leaders, we want to find out from scriptures, if a full-time Pastor or any other ministry gift should engage in secular work /business or not.

And if they are to work, how are they to combine it with ministry work and remain effective…?

Who is a Full-Time Pastor or Minister?

The concept, Full-Time and Part-Time Pastor or minister, is actually a human concept. There is no such distinction in scriptures. Every called minister of the gospel is a full-time minister.

Be him an Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher or Evangelist—they are all Full-Time Ministers. All are supposed to make their ministerial calling number one on their priority. All are to make a full proof of their ministries.

Hence scripturally, everyone called to be a minister of God in any capacity is a Full-Time minister. There was no one referred to in the scriptures as a Full-Time or Part-Time Pastor or minister.

So Should Every Full-Time Minister Work?

A minister of the gospel should primarily feed from the Tithe and offering from the members he ministers to. And also from wilful seeds from members to them. But Tithe and Offering is not only for the minister’s needs.

The church also uses part of the Tithe and Offering for other ministry expenditures; such as: paying of bills, Pastors’ Transfer, Church Renovation, etc. And by the time all these have been handled, what is left for the ministers’ honorarium, many a time, is not enough to really get by with their family needs.

Added to this, is the fact that many members with needs in the church, are apt to run to the Pastor for financial support, of which a conscientious Pastor must have to do something.

And with little or no money left with the Minister, he is bound to fall into diverse temptations. Especially if he already has a wife and children…

In short, many Full-Time ministers of the gospel actually have serious marital and family crisis; and sometime, even marital break-up; majorly for financial reasons.

And this is the reason I believe the Apostle Paul worked as a tent-maker where ever he found himself. And even sometimes, farmed; then he admonished us to work as well (See Acts 18:1-3; Acts 20:33-35).

For instance, I am called into Full-Time teaching ministry. And I was led into the city I currently reside by God to start up a church for my ministry. And by God’s grace, since we came to this city, the ministry has been growing from strength to strength.

Even though, when we first came to the city, it was very challenging financially. But barely some months– less than a year– everything normalized and even got better than we lived, before we came here…

Because while we were about moving to this town, God told me in my heart, that he was going to increase me. And of course, I knew the increase the Lord meant was not only financial, but also spiritual and otherwise.

And since we came here, that has been the case. We have been increasing spiritually, ministerially and financially on daily basis…

But I do work. Coupled with my ministerial work, I am also into freelance Software/Web Development and Internet Marketing Consulting. God has been (and still) supplying for my family through these trades and my wife’s job.

And as such, I am able to care for my family (a wife and a child), then I am also able to help those in need as the Lord leads. And most importantly, I don’t get to pressure anyone into giving to me.

The ones that do give do so willingly; and I even sometimes reject some of the gifts when I don’t deem them fit.

Hence, my counsel is that, a Full-Time Pastor that is just starting a church or ministry, with little member base, should use his spare time to work, instead of sleeping and moving about.

Then for those with large congregation already, they can invest their personal money into business (or businesses) and delegate people to manage the business. Then their only responsibility should be overseeing. This is never a sin.

This will enable the minister, carry out his ministry with more integrity and dignity.

I once read the book of a popular man of God with one of the largest church congregation in the world. And somewhere in the book, he mentioned that he is the C.E.O of four companies.

And yet he is still very effective in ministry. God still uses him mightily in word and manifestation of his power.

Hence, from scriptural authority, a full-time Pastor or minister should work to take care of his needs and that of his family and others effectively– even if he receives honorarium. But he must ensure his secular work does not deter or encroach into his ministerial work.

Remain Blessed!

Emeke Odili

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Emeke Odili