When you get a chance, listen to Ed Young, Jr. share his thoughts on the difficulties of being a pastor:
Ed Young Video Blog - May 14, 2007
No doubt he is very sincere and he does correctly point out some of the trials of being a pastor. Anyone who has been in churches, especially smaller churches where the pastor does not have a fully staffed office suite consisting of wife, son secretary and marketing consultants, knows how difficult a pastor's job can be as they juggle so many responsibilities in the church. But I offer this clip because I think it gives us a very rare glimpse into the thought process and logic that these mega church pastors use to justify their enormous salaries and benefit packages. Ed Young Jr's message here is that our job is so tough, tougher than you can ever know, so tough that you need to pay us extremely well. Notice how even his body language and dress and posture serves to communicate the message that there is no job on earth as tough as theirs; I mean he looks like he's been up reading Lamentations all night and might be on the verge of a nervous breakdown!
Of particular interest is his view of the pastor being the "franchise player" who is "responsible every year...to raise money...because we are the ones responsible before God for raising money.....every year I've stared a lot of money in the face and I know at the end of the day its up to me to raise that money....and that's a taxing thing." That is twisted logic. Firstly, he is really not "raising" money. He has people coming to his church that believe they are "giving to God" and they drop their money in the plate. He obviously has no clue what it is like to REALLY have to raise money for a cause, or even more difficult how to generate revenue in a business enterprise to keep it viable and a source of jobs for people who are depending on the business. Secondly, for the pastor to view themselves as "franchise players raising money" ignores the scriptural truth that the church's ministries are financed by God's people giving out of their thankful hearts to God, prompted by the Holy Spirit and really its not a pastor's job to raise the money. As it relates to finances, a pastor's primary responsibility is to be a very good steward of the money that God BRINGS TO HIM. A pastor is to make sure that the faithful people who donated money can rest assured that the money they give is going to ministry and not to enrich a pastor or his family, or that its going to a slick marketing firm in Nashville to design the best looking logos for the next sermon series. If the pastor views themselves as the "franchise player raising the money" then of course they will not have a problem taking a large salary, nor will they have a problem with taking church funds for their own favorite ministry projects that are outside the ministry of the local church.
Of course if a mega church pastor views it as their responsibility to "raise that money", they will have a hard time seeing it as unethical to accept a $300,000 gift from one of the donors to their non-profit organization that they are to lead. If Mac views himself as being responsible for raising $15 million per year to fund the operations of FBC Jax, what could possibly be wrong will taking $300,000 from a church donor? This is why it was so disturbing to hear Mac Brunson at the Pastor's Conference call his son to the platform and proclaim to everyone that "Trey raised over $100,000 by himself to help defray the costs of the conference." This leads me to believe that perhaps Mac shares this view of Ed Young, Jr of the pastor being the "fund raiser" of the church.