(Bonus For the Preacher?) Bible Question.
“Our elders are thinking of sending our preacher and his wife on a cruise to celebrate their tenth anniversary with us in the church here. My question is: should money from the church treasury be used for this purpose?”
Thanks for your question. The apostle Paul wrote about the support of preachers . . .
“Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?
Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” – 1 Corinthians 9:4 – 14 (English Standard Version)
It is evident from this passage (and others) that preachers have the right to be supported by the church. It is also clear that such support should be sufficient for him to care for his wife and children and their needs.
Most preachers I know take vacations, just as other members of the congregation do. From the nature of their work, they need to “get away” some to pray, study and just relax. The family also has the same needs. Good elders will recognize the preacher’s need for some “time off”, and provide for it in their agreement with the preacher. Whether the church provides enough regular stipend for the preacher to take a family vacation, or give him and his wife a cruise-tour, the principle is the same and the funds come from the same source.
Having worked closely with a few preachers over the last twenty years, I know that some people will resent any extra pay or any special consideration given to the preacher and his family. I thank God for elders who try to show some compassion and gratitude for preachers.