Pastors just want your money.
Why don’t they just get a real job?
All pastors do is preach.
These are just a few of the things that I hear or read on a weekly basis.
Last week, I was called into a room with a young man who God saved and delivered from hard drug use. When I walked into the room, the young man was shaking, and I quickly realized that he was experiencing some high anxiety and withdrawal symptoms. So I went to the living room, grabbed a chair, sat next to his bed, and rubbed his knee as I began to pray for him. I picked up the trash can next to his bed, because I could tell that he was about to throw up. I could feel the warmth of his vomit as I held the bottom of the trash can. I continued to sit and smile, and all I could think was, “Man, deliverance is messy.” I got home that night at about three in the morning, and wasn’t able to fall asleep until closer to four.
The next morning I had to wake up around 7:30am for a prayer meeting then start my day of meetings and administrative work for the ministry. We’re in the midst of fundraising mode right now, so it’s a bit of a lot.
A few days later, I rushed to the hospital because one of my disciples, who is a single mother had a massive stroke. She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance with her 2 children (age 8 and 5). I went to the hospital, picked up the kids, and brought them home with me for the night so that they wouldn’t have to be around the chaos in the hospital. The next day I took the kids to school, and helped to care for them as their mom was in the hospital. With my laptop next to this woman of God’s hospital bed, I furiously caught up with emails, international phone calls with our missionaries, and filed some tax paper work for the ministry. All this, while helping the kids with their homework.
I’ve been caring for my invalid grandmother, who raised me, and can no longer fully care for herself. She lives a solid 45 minutes away from me, and trying to get to her in between all of the ministry responsibilities has been rough lately. And emotionally caring for all of the beautiful people in my ministry can be tough to balance as you care for a parent who is on the descending end of life. So it’s been so important to figure out how to balance such an emotionally charged call as a minister.
My week is regularly filled with putting out fires, counseling sessions, emergency situation, event coordinating, funerals, meetings, and a constant stream of fundraising. Now don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love my job, and all that God has called me to do. I get to travel the world and reach thousands of people for Christ. My job as a minister is a dream, but it’s also a lot of work.
We are in the midst of a huge transition in our ministry. During this transition, fundraising has been even tougher than normal. Because of that I’ve been forced to let go of vital staff and projects that we can no longer afford, which has been absolutely heart-breaking.
So you can only imagine how I felt when I read, “…all preachers want is your money. You should get a real job,” as a response in the comment section to a post we made about our summer fundraising need for $9,500 to complete all of our ministry responsibilities for June and July.
Normally that kind of response would make me angry, but not this time. This time it made me sad. Even to the point where I teared up. Maybe it was because I was running low on sleep, and fighting the stomach flu. Or maybe I got sad because I felt so misunderstood and wrongly judged.
You see, for the most part, our ministry runs off of the support that I garner in traveling and speaking. And though I love what I do, I’m only paid to preach. No one pays me to babysit for a parent under my care, who can’t afford childcare during the summer. No one offers me an honorarium for the 3am phone call I get from people contemplating suicide. There’s no ‘per diem’ waiting for me when we host our feeding programs for orphans on Christmas Day. No one slips me a paycheck when I spend hours with a married couple trying to pray them off the ledge of divorce. And I’m ok with that. But that means that I have to spend more time asking the Body of Christ to help me reach hurting people for Jesus. So it hurts when people assume that pastors just want more money so that they can live more extravagantly.
The picture that social media paints of western church culture, makes it easy to believe that being a pastor is easy. Most of us believe that all pastors do is preach once a week, and spend the rest of the time hanging out. Every pastor reading this blog right now is probably chuckling, because we know that preaching is usually less than 10% of the ministry that we do. The majority of “my job” is in the trenches, and not in a pulpit. My days are filled with 18 hours of meeting the needs of my community spiritually, emotional, and tangibly.
My job title is “pastor,” but if you spent a week with me, you would see that I’m so much more. Yes I’m a pastor and preacher, but I’m also a mentor, a grief counselor, a marriage mediator, a financial supporter, a babysitter, cook, jail chaplain, 4am phone call of hope for a struggling teenager, addiction counselor, a curriculum creator, a career trainer, and the list goes on.
So don’t be surprised if you see me online raising funds for The Collide. Those funds are not for a lofty house. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment in a crappy neighborhood with a room mate. The funds are not for a new jet. I have a 20 year old Mercedes that I drive, where the air conditioning doesn’t work, and there’s always a blinking warning, signaling me that I need to fix something new. The funds we raise don’t go to lavish living or the crazy lifestyles that so many assume that pastors live in. The money that many think that pastors want goes to MINISTRY.
Now yes, there are manipulative greedy preachers in the kingdom. We see them on tv raising funds for their second jet, or five million dollar vacation home. But trust me when I tell you that they do not speak for the majority. The majority of pastors in America are bi-vocational because the average church is less than 150 people, and most pastors can’t even afford to go full time. The majority of my friends who are pastors here in California struggle to even pay their rent and live month to month because their salaries are so low.
Those who are blessed with a typical 9-5, have the privilege of unplugging when they leave work. We don’t get that same privilege as pastors. I’m on the clock 24/7 and I love every minute. Yes I have boundaries, and my life is balanced. But fundraising is a must, because people pay me to preach, they don’t pay me for all the many things it takes to run a successful life giving ministry. I don’t get an extra check when I have to rescue a child from an abusive home, or help a single mom through the rollercoaster of a complete mental breakdown.
So when I read in a comment section of a fundraising post that “…preachers just want your money,” it breaks my heart. Because there’s truth to their statement, but it’s not the whole truth. I don’t JUST want your money, but I do recognize that with more money, creates more ministry opportunities. I wish I didn’t have to beg for funds. But I’m not too proud to beg. You know why? Because when I see lives being changed, saved, and set free, it makes all the fundraising, hospital visits, and hardcore rent negotiations with my landlord all worth it.
Next time you see a fundraising post from a missionary or minister, just remember that preachers don’t just want your money. We want souls to be saved. We to see Jesus in the lives of the broken. We want to see churches established. We want to see programs built up for the poor and underprivileged. We want to hire more pastors and leaders to help reach more people. We want affordable housing built for struggling families. Our money is simply the vehicle to make that happen. Keep that in mind. So whether it’s $1 or $10,000, your dollars are like soldiers waiting to go to war. Today, consider sending those dollars out to fight for the hurting and the broken. Don’t let the media fool you. Us “preachers” are raising funds for the Kingdom, not for a vacation home.
If you feel led to give to The Collide and help us with our $7,500 goal, please click here and help us however you can. I thank you in advance.
About The Author:
Pastor Del Augusta is the founder of The Collide, which is a para church ministry that seeks to birth revival in this generation through conferences, seminars, and spiritual gatherings.Born and raised in San Francisco, Del lost his mother at the age of four to death and was raised by his grandmother in a Pentecostal church in San Francisco. He accepted Christ as his savior at the age of 12 and began his ministry at 14.
For over a decade of ministry now, Del’s message has been marked with a humorous yet prophetic edge. Having travelled to over 10 countries preaching the gospel, Del’s desire is to see this generation come alive to Jesus in a sustainable way. Known for abruptness, Del believes that this generation is not waiting for more Sunday morning church services where we babysit the youth while the adults do their things. Del’s dream is to see churches awaken to the call to take over the world for Jesus without apology.