MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next, an excerpt from tomorrow’s Listening In. This week, Warren Smith talks with author Brian Kluth.
For the past four years, Kluth has been working with churches to identify practical ways to be more generous with their pastors—spearheading a movement called “Bless Your Pastor.” Here’s Warren Smith.
WARREN SMITH: Pastors really are struggling in this country right?
BRIAN KLUTH: Yeah, they really are. Unfortunately, what people see, is they see celebrity pastors on T-V and they think they’re all rolling in the dough, which is far from reality. The reality is that 80 percent of pastors are in churches of under 200 people. Fifty-five percent of pastors serve churches under 100. Fifty percent of pastors in America make less than $50,000 dollars a year, though they’re working 50, 60, 70 hours a week. Sixty percent: no retirement, no healthcare.
And so, 90 percent feel financial stress, and yet they’re not free to talk about it, they’re, you know, if they say something it’d be very awkward for the church board or even the congregation.
SMITH: Well, yeah, that’s right. I mean if they talk to their board or their elders or their congregation, it would be like, you know, “all my pastor cares about is money. He’s trying to get me to give more money.”
KLUTH: Exactly. In America, the average church budget is $125,000 dollars total. So that’s to pay the pastor, take care of the building, give to missions, to have a children’s program. So $125,000 for the whole church doesn’t leave a lot of money to go around for the pastor or staff.
SMITH: So what’s sort of the long game here? If you could wake up five years from now, or 10 years from now, 15 years from now, what would you want to see different about the church?
KLUTH: Yeah, I think what I’d like to see is generosity being joyfully lived out. Pastors being loved and cared for and supported. Churches having resources to do outreach, and ministry, and take care of their buildings, and take care of their programs, missions increasing—because people are living in the joy of generosity—and that’s my heart.
Generosity is not about guilt, it’s about grace. The Bible says: “excel in the grace of giving.” And so everything we’ve done is really about letting God be your provider. Learning to share what God’s given you, and being a blessing to pastors, or people in need, or people on the other side of the world.
REICHARD: That’s Brian Kluth talking to Warren Smith. To hear their complete conversation, look for Listening In tomorrow wherever you get your podcasts.