The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Zorro - On WELS Salaries - From 2012

When did you last see a list of the salaries
and all benefits of synod hirelings?


Zorro says:

Speaking as a WELS pastor to WELS pastors, let me suggest the best thing to happen for us all might be  to experience a substantial reduction in income. I know that sounds harsh, counter-intuitive, laced with  envy. Here me out, please.

When the synod salary code was reworked in 2003, those who most of "benefited" were those belonging to a "calling body" who could afford, so to speak, to bump up the pay.  The code was and still is onerous and unattainable for many small to mid-sized congregations. Remember, at this point, we're talking only about salary.  Tack on WELS VEBA  insurance, pension, housing (if provided), mileage assistance, and allowances for technology, continuing education--and now we're talking a pile of money!  If a voters assembly or church council is monitoring the compensation, then it is no slam dunk you will be at "code",  much less receive the other goodies. That is as it should be.  A pastor serves; the congregation supports. Both have their part to do. But, our Lord is the one who does the providing for all!

Those who did "benefit" most immediately and consistently from the updated salary code are those called workers whose paychecks are written by synod. If the synod code was constructed to feather that nest, then I have no applause to give.  Sure, there have been some salary freezes for synodical workers.  But, I've known of parish pastors and teachers who salary was "frozen" years ago and still has not thawed.  Yet, pardon me, but those who insist a pastor should always be getting a yearly bump up also need to man up.  If that is the unspoken assumption, sooner or later then the door will open for envy and covetousness and dissatisfaction to enter. And if this is not recognized and rooted out by repentance, then instead of seeing that the joy of the Lord is our strength, we will be pinning our satisfaction on the size of our paycheck, and harboring resentment toward the very  people whom our Lord as called us to serve.

Again, consider how you may profit from an income reduction. You'll pray like you've never prayed before. You'll admit you are not worthy of any goodness. And only out of His pure favor, for His Son's sake,  our Lord God will supply our needs.  If it takes a pay reduction to bring that truth into greater clarity, then indeed, we can profit from a pay reduction. So yes, that's a paradox. But paradoxes are meant to teach by absorption. Just consider that those among us who have two incomes--if the wife works outside the home--are doing very, very well. Owe up to that. No one begrudges you this. But, at all times, be prepared to let it go, lay it aside, and walk away from it. Will it rise to dominate your decision if a call comes to you from a congregation whose compensation is a lot less? Only you yourself can answer that.  

Many problems pastors have with a perceived inequity of income on their part can be attributed to a comparison with other church members and their vocations .  Here I make confession, too. Must we have the same level of affluence based our our perceptions of what the demands of our callings are in comparison with others, that somehow we are "owed" more, A shiny vehicle (or two+)? Expensive vacations? Latest cell phone? Substantial retirement  portfolios? A nicer cut of clothing? Pricey, private, prep education for the kids? Dining out? Weekend getaways? A fish shack, a hunting camp?  Where will the list end?!   

The words of the apostle Paul aren't just vapory theory; they are reality: "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

This pertains to the men of the cloth, also. Especially so.

Pastors of previous generations served in situations most of us would be too soft to endure.  We're such pansies.

Guys, the word is out: pastors are tempted by materialism no less than anybody else. Am I one? Could I actually forgo and live on less and, profit from it? Your members will  pick up real quick if you have a predilection for greed. Ouch. I speak for myself first and foremost about that.

The insidious temptation at the root level is what used to be called "fear of men."  Will I shirk my duties, fawn at the feet of the heavy givers in order to protect my income for fear that if I step on toes, then, I'll take a hit in the pocketbook or get shouldered out of the congregation?  Will I shut up for fear of reprisal if my patient, but firm admonition of others on false doctrine and practice pegs me as a troublemaker, and therefore, renders me as undesirable to serve other than where I am?  Again, only you and I can answer such questions ourselves. Only let us be honest in doing so.

A pastor is not the member of a privileged cast. He is a servant of Christ and therefore, is given many a blessed cross to carry. And that does not automatically exclude what our Lord--who had no place to lay his head--experienced in this world. We should expect it. And, fear, if we don't.

We are rich in Christ, poor without him.

Therein is the key to contentment with the compensation we receive from our Lord through his people.

That's priceless.

Good Lord, open our eyes to that.

***

Paul McCain's CyberPlagiarism Blog
had nothing to do with his CPH job,
while he was promoting CPH books on it,
but in a fit of honesty he erased the whole thing -
without apologizing for anything.


GJ - What applies to pastors is also true for congregations. The mission boards have pushed for running congregations into large debt packages so they can have the right lot, the right building, which will guarantee success.

Starting with nothing is a good lesson. The Apostles had nothing. Jesus had nowhere to lay His head.

The less we focus on material things, the more we appreciate the Means of Grace, and sound teachers like Luther and Chemnitz.

I would be ashamed to be in a congregation that talks about building more space while holding a Junk for Jesus rummage sale in the parish basement and promoting chicken wings to support their program. 

Pastors have mocked me for being a tent-maker (like Paul?) but I have managed to publish globally while they plagiarize locally. 

The top two at Concordia Publishing House earn a total of $500,000 in salaries and benefits. That money comes from the price of Lutheran books. It is part of the overhead at CPH. But when I point out the plagiarism of Number Two to Number One, Number One responds by unfriending me on Facebook. Number Two already unfriended me some years ago, but friended me when he wanted to help Barry become a Synodical Prince.

Plagiarism is a serious issue in academics and publishing, but the LCMS rewards it because politics come first. The same is true of WELS - the more destructive a pastor has been, the more he is rewarded.

Another celebrity endorsement - from Dr. Lito Cruz.