Yes, faith that God will take care of us is a good thing. No, faith without planning is not wise. The writer of Proverbs said it in 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Jesus said it Luke 14:28: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”
Rarely a week goes by that I don’t hear from Boomer pastors who just retired, are considering retirement, or wish they could retire.
I am listening carefully. And I am learning a lot as I listen. Most of it is not very encouraging.
- Most pastors are underpaid.I have to monitor my sanctification when I hear snarky comments like, “Pastors are in it for the money” or “Pastors make too much money.” Sure, there are ungodly exceptions. But they are indeed exceptions and they are rare. As I listen to Boomer pastors and understand their compensation through the years, my heart breaks. Many of these servants, for the hours they work, have barely been paid living wages.
- Too many pastors refuse raises.Their motives are honorable. They want the money to go to ministry. They want their staff better paid. They want the church to pay off its debt. They don’t want to hurt the church. But now these Boomer pastors realize they don’t have sufficient funds for retirement. They fear they will be a burden to their families. Pastors: Stop saying “no” to raises. You are hurting your family now and in the future.
- Few pastors give sufficient thought to retirement.
- Many pastors have too much debt leading into retirement.
- A number of pastors have given little thought to health care costs.
- The common theme of many of these Boomer pastors is over-spiritualizing their financial reality without the wisdom of planning for their future years.