Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Pastors Search for Churches, Home Buyers

Here's another article on pastoral transition, this time from The Gospel Coalition, entitled "Pastors Search for Churches, Home Buyers". This article, by Collin Hansen, is a good exposé on the problem of the pastoral transition process being halted by the obstacle of selling homes.

The article points out a reality that more and more churches may NEED to consider if they will be able to bring in a new pastor in the coming years: the return of the parsonage/manse. Says Hansen:

Churches might be in a different position today if more still housed their pastors in parsonages. Threatened with burnout, pastors have been counseled to separate their home and church life. Parsonages, often located near the church, make erecting such boundaries more difficult. Plus, financial planners advise pastors to take advantage of the tax benefits that come with a housing allowance and build equity.
But new economic realities may alter this thinking. The New York Times surveyed analysts in August and reported that home ownership is not expected to pay off in the foreseeable the future the way it did between 1950 and 2008. “More than likely,” David Sreitfeld wrote, “that era is gone for good.” Going forward, housing values may only keep pace with inflation. If this analysis is true, then the parsonage may return. Churches may even recruit younger pastors burned by the market in recent years with the incentive of free housing. Now would certainly be the time for such churches to buy low.

This is an excellent point, and something that more congregations (and perhaps ESPECIALLY the smaller ones) ought to consider more seriously.

I highly recommend this article posted at the Gospel Coalition website.

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