In recent years, the issue of pastors’ salaries has gradually been improved in some churches. However, it is undeniable that the same issue, especially for young pastors, is still one of the most serious problems that the Chinese church has to face. In today's materialistic society, unmarried pastors who are affected by the low or even unpaid salaries have to deal with the marriage crisis that has begun to emerge in their lives. For example, a secondary crisis arising from this is: where can they find their significant other? It has become an unprecedented severe test.
A few decades ago, although the economic situation of the church had been worse for a long time, and pastors were more poverty-stricken, people had a more simple and clean heart and few material needs that could easily be satisfied at that time. Therefore, despite being poor, most of the time, pastors were able to get married smoothly in that period.
Today, with the development of the times, social changes, and especially the rapid growth of China's economy, common people in China have started to make more and more money, whereas, many pastors in the church are still getting paid 1,000 or even 500 yuan per month as a living allowance. So, we are witnessing that single male pastors worry about not getting married, and married ones are concerned about raising a family...
A male believer M (pseudonym) has been serving full-time in a church for five to six years. He is no longer a new pastor, but his monthly salary is only over 1,000 yuan with which he can barely "support" himself in 2022. Yet, M has to provide for himself, his wife, and a child with this amount of money. Thankfully, he has already married and has one child, so M doesn’t have to worry about how to get married anymore, but instead worries about how to maintain their small family.
M finds that the situation of single pastors, especially male pastors, is even worse.
Many believers in the church know that the salary of pastors, especially young pastors, is notoriously low. As a result, often no single female Christians are willing to marry them. In fact, most single female believers are aware that those single pastors are actually very good in all aspects, except for one problem, that is, being poor with no money.
Having no money has become a stumbling block for countless single pastors.
It is no exaggeration to say that many beggars are richer than pastors.
I still remember that people living not too far from my hometown used to “beg” to earn a living. With begging as a profession, many people made a lot of money, starting to build houses for their children to get married.
Now, times have changed. Begging to raise money, which can be defined as a fraud in a strict sense, has long since disappeared. However, pastors still remain as poor as ever. Therefore, with materialism in today's society, not many people are willing to marry a pastor, which we can understand to a degree.
We can naturally understand and may even sympathize with these pastors. However, it is not us who are really anxious, but those single pastors who cannot find a partner or get married as a result of being impoverished. Obviously, they do want to get married. But what solution do they have to not being able to marry for being in a financial disadvantage as pastors? Many of them choose to give up serving full-time in exchange for finding another secular job. Often after doing this, they get married soon since some people are willing to marry them for the simple reason that after quitting that position, they earn several times more in salary than a pastor.
Perhaps, we should not simply blame those former pastors who were forced to give up their positions for money and marriage. We need to consider what the church and believers have to do so that these precious pastors can stay and serve with peace in mind instead of worrying about money or even not getting married. Pastors’ job is to nurture the church and believers. Meanwhile, the job of the church and believers is to ensure the pastors can serve without any worries.
Of course, pastors should have faith. But at the same time, we should also agree that they need to live as well, for they are also human beings with the same feelings as us.
If these problems are not confronted and resolved, the male and female pastors will be hurt, impacting the development of the Chinese church.
- Translated by Shuya Wang