By Robert G. Kemper
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Other items about the parsonage are sometimes specified. Will the utilities, including telephone, be 65 Beginning a New Pastorate paid by the church? Will the custodian have any duties at the parsonage? , light-bulb replacement)? A second choice you have about housing is owning or renting your own home. This is not the place for an extended discussion of the relative merits of this option. What is essential is that you know your own mind on the options before you. If your choice is to own your own home, that needs to be specified.
Clergy, for a lot of good reasons, are not very sophisticated in economic and financial matters. One of their mistakes is to confuse salary and professional expenses. These need to be separated: One represents compensation for services; the other is meant to reimburse you for the costs of providing the services. The most important item in the financial provisions is your base salary. That is what you will receive as compensation for being minister of the church. No one, but no one, knows how to arrive at a fair and adequate salary for clergy.
The reason for talking it over with others is that it is very hard to talk truthfully with yourself about these matters. Generally speak35 Beginning a New Pastorate ing, if your own reasons for moving consist in dissatisfaction with the place you are in, then it is likely—not definite, just likely—that you will take those dissatisfactions with you when you move. On the positive side, Jim Glasse has a generalization that may be helpful in discerning your own motives. He says that clergy are overworked and underemployed.