In most workplace settings, employees clearly work for those who pay their salaries.
If you work in a large company, for example, you more than likely work for your manager . . . and that manager has a major role in deciding your income.
If you work for a family-owned business, the connection is even more direct. You work for the owner — or the owner’s spouse, child, or cousin! — and that owner then compensates you accordingly.
And in those cases, it’s understood that salary setters lead while salary earners follow.
For pastors, however, the situation is different.
We are called to lead the very people whose generosity makes our employment possible.
Now: I have been much blessed through the years with a good income.
And I’ve been even more blessed through the years that the people of Good Shepherd don’t play the “but you’ve got to do what I want; I’m paying your salary!” card.
Yet I think this reflection on the vexing relationship between salary and leadership in ministry serves as a healthy reminder: we’re in the customer service business.
That’s why we’re to be prompt in returning calls and emails, attentive to the life seasons of people under our care, and aware that God’s Spirit speaks just as well from the congregatoin to us as He does from us to the congregation.
So in the world of ministry, then, salary earners do in fact lead. And follow.