the weblog of Alan Knox

The Vocational Pastor: tradition, background, and perspective

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in elders | 2 comments

I’m working through a few posts on the topic of discussing the “vocational pastor” – that is, I’m looking at the connection between elders/pastors and salaries in Scripture. As you can probably tell by now, I’m not actually presenting an argument for my position, although I do have a position. Instead, I’m trying to help us all think through how we can discuss this topic.

In the first two posts (“The Vocational Pastor: an interesting discussion” and “The Vocational Pastor: keeping on topic“), I primarily wrote about why this is a difficult topic to discuss. The topic is personal and emotional for almost everyone involved. In the third post (“The Vocational Pastor: the definitions I use“), I explained what I mean by the phrase “vocational pastor.” (Of course, someone else could be writing about this topic using a different definition, but if I didn’t know that, then we would be discussing or arguing about different things.)

In this post, I’d like for us to think about something a little different: tradition, background, experience, and perspective. As much as we would all like to think that our position is built only on Scripture or what is revealed to us by God, in reality many aspects of our lives work together to form our understanding of the connection between salaries and elders/pastors. (This is true for all of our beliefs and actions, of course.)

In order to understand my position, it helps to understand where I’ve come from as well as how I’ve arrived at where I am now. For example, I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition, and I’m still highly associated with Southern Baptists. Until a few years ago, I’ve always been part of churches with vocational pastors.

That’s part of the story. Another part of the story is that I have never been hurt by vocational pastors, and I still have friends who are vocational pastors. I respect many of these people for many different reasons.

Another important aspect of my background (to this topic, anyway) is that I attended seminary in order to become a vocational pastor. I have the educational credentials to be a vocational pastor. Before attending seminary, I was actively pursuing a job as a vocational pastor. I’ve even been asked to be a vocational pastor.

Similarly, if you know how I came to the position that I hold, it would help our discussion. My position on this issue changed while I was in the middle of seminary. My belief about what Scripture says about the connection between elders/pastors and Scripture changed through studying Scripture. It did not change because of my job or because I was angry with anyone or because of a book or author that I read.

Also, if someone is discussing this topic with me, it’s probably important for that person to know that I am currently an elder, but I am not a vocational pastor. I am currently an elder, but I also work full-time to support myself and my family.

All of this background information can help someone understand my perspective on this topic. And, the more that we know about each other, the easier it is to discuss the connection between salaries and elders/pastors from the perspective of Scripture.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 6-7-2012

    Alan my background: I will be as short as possible: When I was 12 at a church camp, a cut up, at a campfire; told to put it out and meet back at cabin; after out dark, cant see, no flashlight, thinking I am confident, started on trail, fell twisted ankle as going down; put hands prayer; the next thing i was in front of cabin, which was about 1 mile from campfire; my hands were extended in front and as they were dropping i saw the cabin light; ran in yelling thank god and that I was sorry for all my cut ups. Then 14 my sister died at 18 overdose. Saw her in casket and ran away, started drinking and doing drugs. when 17 dad died old age well only he was 63, scerosis of liver, water on knees bad heart, insomna. 18 married join service usmc, was abused in boot camp, badly. got out on medical, got a divorce, found out child wife was pregnant with was not mine, for I was deemed sterile. then at 21 years of age my brother John passed away he was 33 years of age. I went to get his belongings from campus crusade for Christ and had to see the autopsy people. This is where my life took the turn for God, that Christ is absolutely real. For there was and is no physical cause for my brothers death, no one found and they did 5 autopsies to find out and on his death certificate it states cause of death unknown. And he was found leaned against a boulder with the bible in his hand, two miles above the sanctuary by hikers on a Sunday, and all they did get out of the autopsy was that he died on thursday found on sunday
    Any way this is where my life in Christ took off. I did not get past the drinking and smoking pot until I was 27, when God gave me an epithany that I had not ever accepted my sisters death,. I did right then and there and all desire to drink and smoke pot left right off my shoulders the weight was lifted and I am now 55 years of age, and thankful to God for showing me truth.
    Then about 33 I started to go to the babtist church in california, and this is where I learned alot about the clergy. What goes on behind closed doors, such as hearing okay now I am ready to go fleece the flock. Total control, and wanting it that way in order to get money.
    Then I left went to another gathering and became the preacher there. Asked if I want paid and I said no, I will not hurt the grace of God, I work as Paul did and said we should do as you stated you do. Well i left there as well, seeing again all they were after was the money, keep the flock in bondage having to come to them and pay their offerings and tithes.
    So today I am in the highways and byways, carrying the gospel with me giving a reason for my joy, peace, and righteousness in the Holy Ghost that points me to God the Father and God the Son Christ Jesus.
    Now being in the highways and biways have taken in a many a strays, been taken advantage of, stolen from, lied to, and yet I keep going trusting god in it all, and God who has said all my needs shall be supplied and God has inspite of people acting as if they are for you and believe when in truth all they are after is here and now, not knowing what they are giving up in the long run for the here and now. So I have learned to trust God when God says kick out that person that is not doing anything except being a busybody, and usurping the faith. Keep this one here for this one is seeking me. God has taught me I can feed a hundred but not all will come to the faith, but Howard when you see one come then it is worht it. And it is never accounted to me for I have no converts, the converts that have come to te faith are all his for only the holy ghost can do this job.
    Hope this helps you all to know from where I have come from and where I am at.
    PS Again drinking tea on the beach in the midst of all my adversity knowing god turns all into the good his will, and this is where I only want to be even though I am not always. So when I am not I am thus thankful for the cross (Actually a stake) of the last sacrifice and last sheddinjg of blood in where I am already forgiven thus asking god to teach me how to say no to my stupidity when not in trust of him to lead

  2. 6-7-2012


    Thanks for sharing part of your story with us.