5 Reasons Pastors Should Create a Side Income
Many people have this caricature of what a pastor is in their heads. They see an image of somebody who flies around in their private jet, working one hour a week, and makes a bunch of money off the backs of others who are doing all of the hard work. But that’s not the world that you and I see, is it?
Often in the pastoring world, I see followers of Christ put others’ needs before their own, and this is often pushed to an even further extreme by pastors. While we may want to depend on God for our resources and livelihoods, we need to remember that He can use many methods to grant you what you need.
A lot of churches, same as many nonprofits, while they may not have a poverty mindset, don’t have one of abundance either. It’s not uncommon to see pastors living paycheck to paycheck, not putting much into retirement, and leaving themselves no margins for error financially. I want to see the world where pastors can thrive a bit more, and I believe this can be done through entrepreneurship. By utilizing their God-given skills and talents to serve in the marketplace, a pastor can provide extra income for their families. Here are five benefits that becoming an Entrepastor (a pastor who is also an entrepreneur) can provide for not only you, but your family and church.
#1: Having a side income eliminates financial stress and pressure for the pastor, his family and even the church
Ministry brings enough pressure in and of itself through leading a church, but when you add on the feelings of being unable to provide enough for your family, this can provide extra weight on your life. We’ve all seen seasons where things dry up a little, or we go into a financial skid. And while a church should always pay its pastor, having the ability to say “Hey, my family is okay, we have other streams of revenue, make sure the church is taken care of first.” removes a tremendous amount of stress in the day to day life of a pastor.
#2: A side business can actually free up more of your time
As you read this, you may think to yourself “Well, this might be easy for you to say, but as it is I’m handling too much. How can one find enough hours in the day to take care of their church and family, let alone start a side business?”
While it’s true that many pastors have too much on their plate, by taking on responsibilities outside of their church, it’s going to force you to remove some of those burdens from yourself.
While it sounds counterintuitive, you’ll begin to find more time within your schedule by being more disciplined. When you stop and look at those who have achieved great things, it can feel like they accomplish so much more than an average person in the same amount of time. This is often due to the boundaries they’ve set for themselves. They’re the ones who control their schedules, they don’t sit passively and let somebody else control their lives.
While most every pastor understands the need for a sabbath, the need to get away and take a break, it’s hard to think you can afford this. It’s so easy to get sucked into church life, and never make time to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and your family
While in the short run operating a side business can increase stress, in the long run, as financial pressure is taken off, this can give you freedom to have more downtime and not be on the grind 24/7.
#3: Additional income means more opportunity for the pastor to be generous with their money
Pastors often rely on the generosity of others, particularly for the extra things in life. Many years ago, my EntrePastors Co-Founder Les Hughes and his wife decided to take their two kids to Disney World. While it’s even more expensive today, at the time it still felt like you had to take out a small loan to go.
Before leaving, one of his good friends who was also one of his deacons at the time, shook Les’ hand after a regular church service. Les was left with a hundred dollar bill as a gift to alleviate some of the pressure that taking a vacation would put on Les’ family. A relatively small gesture, which went a long way to improve the quality of the trip, but also the after effects to their bank accounts.
What pastor wouldn’t like to give generously like that to the people and causes they hold dear — to the Lord’s work? With additional income opportunities, a pastor is able to be a more active part in giving generously without sacrificing his/her family’s well being.
#4: A side business provides pastors a healthy outlet besides ministry.
This is one of the reasons I’m a huge fan of becoming an entrepreneur. Everybody needs an outlet for the excess energy they have - that they can truly pour themselves into. Now, I’m not saying that pastors shouldn’t pour themselves into their ministry. Of course they should. But we all need a diversion at some point — a break from the routine in order to think more creatively and approach the Lord’s work with new energy.
Many pastors approach their work with such focus that late into their careers they find themselves bored or stuck in the routine. . This is often when they’re empty-nesters, or simply when they feel comfortable. The things that happen when pastors get bored typically aren’t good.
By starting a side business, it gives you a healthy outlet with new goals to pursue.
#5: Added financial security allows a pastor to follow God’s direction , without worry of backlash from church members.
Many pastors throughout history have unfortunately been threatened by fellow church members for preaching the wrong sermon. Maybe it hit too close to home, or perhaps they simply didn’t agree with the message. Either way, the outcome is typically the same, where the pastor’s job is held over their head.
The textbook solution to this problem is to preach God’s word, no matter what comes your way. But when your only source of income is the church, this can put you into an awkward position of having to choose between what is right, and putting food on your family’s table.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to be bold in following God’s direction, knowing that even if you lose your job at this church, your family would be taken care of? It provides a completely different mindset, one built on the freedom to follow God and His will, and to not be beholden by the church body.
In short, it’s impossible to serve from an empty cup. Yet I see many pastors in a place where they have been giving for years, or even decades, and they finally get to a point where they’re not in a place of strength and abundance to keep giving.
By becoming an Entrepastor, and revitalizing your life by adding additional sources of income, it can help you to reduce stress, rest, and once again serve the church and your community at full power.
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