The Business of Church: Is Your Tithe Making Your Pastor’s Pockets Fat?

The Business of Church: Is Your Tithe Making Your Pastor’s Pockets Fat?

*I don’t know if it’s a fair question to ask the public how much salary a pastor should receive. Its a complicated position. I mean, on the one hand, not only does a pastor preach the sermon on Sunday; but all during the week they are on-call: giving advice, visiting the sick, encouraging families, consulting.

Its easy to take this for granted. Some even feel men of the cloth should not be compensated for doing “Gods work.” But they’ve got to eat too, don’t they? They have families to feed, right?

How can you put a price on what they do? It a 24/7 job.

Which make those clergymen who choose to live large stand out even more. How can one help scratching their head and stroking their chin when they see pastor rolling up to church in a Bentley fresh off his Alpharetta-based estate.

Tithes, mainly cash money, can easily be mismanaged. So the question remains: What is the going rate for a pastor’s salary?

Or better yet: Is your tithe making your pastor’s pockets fat?

“Most churches set their own guidelines and standards on how they are going to deal with compensating their pastor,” says Morris Tipton of the National Baptist Convention who adds that churches across all denominations put in a system of checks and balances (often in the form of a board of trustees) that should foster an atmosphere of financial integrity.

Still, he admits, like any other field, there are unscrupulous people who lack integrity, living lavishly and mismanaging money.

“The problem comes in when a pastor seeks to live a lavish lifestyle off the congregation.”

Archbishop Wilton Gregory certainly got more attention than he wanted this month when he was thrust into the spotlight after being criticized for moving into a lavish Buckhead Atlanta property.

The 66-year-old Catholic leader is in hot water for his wealthy lifestyle; which critics note is far from the notoriously frugal example set forth by Pope Francis.

Gregory apologized, calling it a lapse in judgment, and vowed to move out of the new Tutor-style estate, which was constructed with money left by a wealthy parishioner who died in 2011.

A gift we presume?

While Gregory’s issue may be extreme, it does bring to light something of a historic “pink elephant in the room” where pastoral compensation and tithes, gifts and offerings flowing into the church are concerned.

“Tithes and offerings should be a storehouse for those that have fallen through the cracks,” said Rev. Samuel Mosteller, president of the SCLC Georgia Chapter. “The problem is in some churches pastors have stopped being pastors and turned themselves into CEOs.

Thanks to The Grio for excerpts used in this story. Visit the website to read more.