On being a pastor-businessman

For nearly ten years, I served as a “full time” pastor. By which I mean our church paid my full salary and was the source of 90% of my families income. This year, that has changed. I still take a small salary from the church ($1,000 a month) and still live in a house owned by our church, but the little software business I started years ago has succeeded to the point where I no longer need the church to support me.

I still consider myself a pastor first, and pastoral duties still take priority. I haven’t really stopped doing anything I was doing before. I just now have two hats to wear, the pastor hat and the businessman hat.

There are numerous reasons why I feel like God is in this:

  1. It is going to enable our church to raise money for a new auditorium, which it desperately needs.
  2. It has relieved all of the financial pressure my family was feeling. (Things like “how am I going to help my kids with college” or “how will we afford vacation this year” are no longer a concern.)
  3. My business has put me in a place where I can minister and be a witness to a completely new class of people. I can’t be a businessman tucked away in the bushel of my church office.
  4. My business has enabled me to give and help people financially that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Most significantly, the main project my business is working on is a tool to help preachers write sermons. It is a client project, so I can’t say much about it, other than as a pastor I think it’s going to do immeasurable good, not just in making the task of writing sermons easier, but in shaping the kinds of sermons that preachers are writing. I truly believe it’s an important project, and truly believe I’ve been providentially prepared to work on the project. The fact that my business is being paid very well to do it is icing on the cake.

On a personal level, it’s been kind of an odd switch. It’s given me a bit of confidence I didn’t have previously and removed a lot of timidity. It shouldn’t be this way, but most pastors I know (myself included) struggle with insecurity and have a bit of an inferiority complex. I’m not saying being COO of a software company is the answer to that (Jesus is) but being “successful” in the eyes of the world (even though “successful” was never the goal) certainly takes part of that away.

For months I have been asking “how did this happen?” It seems like such a dream. When I answered the call to preach, I voluntarily walked away from so many dreams, and never expected them to return. All I can say is “Jesus led me all the way” and whether I’m blessed or whether I’m going through trials, He is always good and always worth following.

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