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Missions 101

Econ Thursday: Supporting Pastors

Apr. 21, 2011By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Is it good to make a conference free? 

This is the dilemma often faced by Americans who wish to provide training to pastors who live below the poverty line.  Supporting these pastors is a wonderful idea, but it often has an unintended consequence.  

I was meeting with some Kenyan church planters last year who told me that since Americans started having conferences where they paid pastors a day’s wage to come, the result was that no local leader would come to a conference put on by Kenyan leaders.  Pastors now only show up t conferences where they will receive money. 

Does this happen all the time? No.  But the unintended consequences of charity are often not realized, even after that fact.  At TLI, in most cases (though not all!) we try to make sure the pastors who come to our conferences pay something, no matter how small the amount.  We still pay the majority of the cost, but think it is wise for pastors who want to be trained to either to support themselves or have their church get behind the training of the shepherd appointed to lead them.

Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International.  As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

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