Some time back I listened to the audio book The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard. He’s authored two New York Times Bestsellers, speaks to thousands, and offers a plethora of training materials. He became a multi-millionaire before he turned 30. His inspiring book (even for pastors) challengers its readers to become experts in their field and become millionaires in the process. Unlike other self-promoting gurus, Burchard comes across with a servant’s heart. I don’t believe he’s in it for the money. I thoroughly enjoyed his book yet it raised this question in my mind. Should pastors aspire for material wealth?
One of Burchard’s theses is, the more money you make, the more you can help people, which raises these questions.
- Is it true that the more money a pastor makes, the more he or she could help people?
- Should there be a limit on how much a pastor makes?
- Would it be wrong for a pastor to become a millionaire?
- Is the phrase “millionaire pastor” an oxymoron, an apparent contradiction in terms?
Contrasting answers to these questions abound.
Rick Warren made millions from the sale of The Purpose Driven Life yet gave away 90% of the profits, lives in a modest home, and drives a used suv. On the other hand, a few years ago I watched a TV preacher deliver a sermon justifying his ownership of a Bentley, a $200,000 car.
Lifechurch.tv, pastored by Craig Groeschel, gives away all their stuff for free on their website. On the other hand, when I wrote my first book Daughters Gone Wild-Dads Gone Crazy, I asked a mega-church pastor for permission to use a quote from one of his books. He charged me to use only five words.
I don’t offer clear answers to the above questions. However, the Bible seems to provide some guidelines with these ideas.
- Scripture clearly endorses paying pastors when it uses phrases such as don’t muzzle the ox, a laborer is worthy of his hire, and its use of the phrase ‘double-honor’ which implies providing pastors with a salary.
- Pastors are not exempt from these biblical teachings: spend frugally, save wisely, and give generously.
- The Bible never condemns money per se nor does it condemn the rich. It only cautions us about money’s potential harmful influence.
So when Burchard contends that mastering your message is a ticket to wealth (in our case the message is biblical truth) should pastors exempt themselves?
What do you think?