10/12/2008

What a Recession means to Boomer Pastors

Last week we explored hat a severe recession might mean for churches... this week we focus on what a sever recession might mean for BOOMER Pastors.

So, What do you think?

17 comments:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

My husband and I have never sought out the biggest paying jobs, which his expertise could have given us. I was afraid it would "get ahold of me". We have cars that are 14 years and 4 years old and none of them are Lexus and we have only had one new car in all our married life...We didn't get a cell phone until 2 years ago, and we only got cable last year in all of our 27 years of marriage...
Even though all of this is true, we feel blessed beyond measure for the travel we have been able to do, and the experiences that we have given our children over the years. Our values have been in building memeories in experiencing "life"...and, even though we could have been paid much more than we have been over the years, we find that we have not struggled financially. I am not bragging, this has just not been the area that we have had our trials.
In saying this, I find that we both value the ability to choose what we sacrifice or what we do or don't do with our money, because we think responsibility is a first priority. And being financially responsible is important to us.
But, as you point out, our choices may be limited in the future by things that are out of our control. It will be hard enough to focus on one's responses, with no debt, so I can't imagine what it would be like if credit cards were piled high with debt and car and house loans were overwhelming...
I do have a somewhat uncompassionate attitude toward those who have made bad financial choices, because of the prejuidice I have about trying to get rich and taking unnecessary risks..we won't go into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac :)!

Elizabeth Glass-Turner said...

You know, I can't help but smile on behalf of my dear mother :) She's been pastoring tiny churches in the boonies for most of her ministry career: she was called to ministry in her late thirties, before the Jo Anne Lyon era opened things up a bit.

So she has less stress about the economy than many pastors. Why? She doesn't have any retirement funds! Now, it's true, that's a bigger problem down the road; but she knows about it, she knows it's there, and she's determined to follow God's call, even when it's to a handful of elderly folk.

I worry about her sometimes: since my father had an affair and left, she's on her own; the church ekes out a salary, but is unable to provide health insurance or pension at a time in life when she, by all "rights," should have both. (Even though the district "requires" health insurance, many smaller churches can't pay a livable cash salary if they provide insurance; it's an either/or scenario.)

She's a model of faithfulness, she knows how to tighten her belt when times get tough, and they very often are for her.

Three cheers for quiet pastors serving small churches! They often, I think, are the Horton's of the denomination. (cf. "Horton Hears A Who" :)

Craig Moore said...

I think you and your experts have to much of a gloomy outlook. I can see this happening if we continue our trend toward socialism, but maybe after giving it a try for 4 years we will come to the same conclusion as the Europeans, it doesn't work. Then it will trend back toward evil capitalism.

Keith Drury said...

CRAIG, for what its worth my two associates are right wing republicans at least and maybe even righter wing Libertarians... so their outlook is primed by that view... which as you know is more pessimistic... but this is what they expect.

Craig Moore said...

Well, I disagree with them. I see the scenerio you have described or worse if we continue the trend toward socialism, but I have good old fashioned Reagan optimism in the American economy and the American people. A huge correction in the economy and a slow down I am sure will occur. Time will tell, so maybe someday you will be able to say I told you so. I hope not! I do agree with your call to a simpler more moderate lifestyle though.

a fellow sojourner said...

Keith,

Great stuff as always! Brings to mind books by William Cavanaugh and company regarding consumerism, consumption, and its impact on spiritual growth and formation.

It will be interesting (assuming you are correct) to see how a change in consumption patterns will impact spiritual formation in the years ahead.

Paul Hontz said...

Do you mean I'm going to have to stay at the same church even longer? Develop new sermons? Rats!

Pastor James said...

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in an economic bubble. I serve a church that gives me a parsonage with utilities, phone, and a mileage allowance. I don't worry about the housing market. I'm too young to worry about my pension fund. There's not much in it anyway. But, my guess is that as we progress into the recession there might be an increase in bi-vocational ministers. Also, when this church hired me they said, 'Were happy because you'll be cheaper to insure than our sr. citizen pastor.' Come to find out that for a family of four we are much more expensive. Go figure. let's hope our new president can do more for health care. i think health care is one of the major under lying symptoms. We are fine until something tragic happens with our health; then the debt comes piling in. This is what happened to my mother in law. her medicine alone is over 500.00 a month. Now they are filing for bankruptcy just because they can't pay their medical bills and mortgage and car payments at the same time.

Ryan Schmitz said...

What about a trend back towards parsonages since the housing bubble has burst? I think churches should at least consider this for regularly transitioning staff pastors.

Now might be a good time for churches to pick up a bargain.

Keith Drury said...

RYAN>>> Good thought... might happen..indeed ministers who bought a house on Housing Allowance and lose 20% the value when they leave town 3 years later might WANT a parsonage in the next town... If housing bottoms out at 30-40% loss and value begins to grow next at 2-3% a year (the normal rate since WWII) a parsonage could be attractive... and, like you say churches in this for the long haul might buy in cheap...good additional thought!

Edward Torres said...

The Parsonage issue is a real issue. I owned my own home in Michigan and felt God's call to NJ. After a year, my house did not sell and I lost my home, savings and my good credit along with it. I am currently in a parsonage and thanking God. I could not even pay to fix my car and for a couple of months during the summer I walked to church. I lost 40 lbs! Praise God. God did supply me with another vehicle which He "Supersized" for me. Thank you Lord! I am trusting in Him

dan said...

not going to lie: your footnote about the age groups under boomer age made me shivver just a bit

Kevin Wright said...

I live in Charlotte where the banking bust has hit very hard. My church has adopted a three prong approach to this crisis.

Comfort- The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and people need to be aware of that. We offer a compassionate shoulder to cry upon and a time for weeping as stock options and home values turn to dust.

Prophetic Word- At the end of the day, most, if not all of us were complicit in a system that was fundamentally broken if not nefarious. An economy that thrives on cheap labor (and thus a cheap view of human life), thrives on violent conflict, and can only muster a cheap repentance will not find favor in the eyes of God. Thus, there is now an opportunity to speak out against greed, avarice, and the sick side of human nature that seeks to profit off of the weak and silent.

Solidarity- We use these circumstances to bring people together. I try to help people who are of considerable means (albeit not anymore) understand that this situation is only a sliver of what others go through every day. Perhaps God can use this circumstance to bring people closer together and break down walls of division.

Mark Schnell said...

Keith, I'd like to hear your words to the younger folks. I know they are depressing but maybe it would help people to be thinking realistically instead of what many people are doing, holding on till things get back to "normal."

Wes McCallum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a fellow sojourner said...

Wes,

I am one of those pastors who "can't afford" to sell their house.

My wife and purchased a home when we moved to the CIncinnati area to pastor. When we resigned from our ministry situation to pursue church planting, we put our house on the market and waited... And waited... And waited some more.

For over a year we left our house sit on the market. At first we were going to take a $5000 loss, then $10,000; and because we could not sell our house we sat on the sidelines of ministry.

After spending a year sidelined, God opened up a door for us to move to Pennsylvania and begin pastoring at a wonderful church. However, we still couldn't sell our house. By that time, to sell, we would have lost $40,000+.

Thankfully God provided and we were able to rent out our house. That was a little over a year ago. Our first renter moved out and we were since able to get a second. I hate having a rental, especially one that is almost ten hours away. Yet, we cannot afford to sell.

We have friends who are also in the same position. They, however, have had to stay where they are at and work secular jobs, or begin to pastor for a different denomination within their geographical region.

DanielBryan said...

Great points coach! The concept of simplicity is definitely something that we need to catch onto more as Americans