The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. (1 Tim. 5:17)

a television comedian in the early 1970s portrayed various characters in funny sketches on his variety show. One of his characters was a preacher who, in the sketches, was always trying to raise money. Inevitably, the project for which he was raising funds, no matter how it was disguised, was for the benefit of the preacher. He captured the stereotype of clergy who are in it for the money.

But for every preacher, on television or otherwise, who abuses his or her position and rakes in the money, I know hundreds who are honest and who live on what the church pays them, even if it isn’t enough.

Paul had a different attitude about how much we pay those who serve us in the ministry of preaching and teaching. He said they are worthy of double honor. Does this mean we should pay them twice what the average parishioner makes? No, of course not. Neither should we make it our goal to keep them in poverty.

A church should want to treat its pastor generously out of honor and respect. And besides the money, don’t forget to be generous with your praise. Pastors hear plenty of complaints and work diligently to encourage others. Let your encouragement be bountiful. When the pastor does well, praise him or her. When they have an off day, pray for them.

Speak encouraging words; they’re “like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Prov. 25:11).

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife Carol, and works for The Wesleyan Church. They have two sons, nine grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.