Indebted to Paul Williams

March 22, 2007 — Leave a comment

I just received the April 1st edition of the Christian Standard and–as I often do–I flipped it over and read Paul Williams’ article “And So It Goes” first.

His article deals with the fact that many young ministry leaders enter the ministry deep in financial debt and will remain so because entry-level ministry does not pay well.

I like the tone he takes in this article.

He doesn’t lay the blame at the feet of Christian Colleges, which would be unfair, but instead notes, “Most are struggling to keep their doors open. Faculty live at a subsistence level, even as administrators work hard to keep schools financially solvent. To expect them to lower tuition costs is simply unreasonable.” As an adjunct professor at a Christian college, former employee, and son of a Christian College professor I’d like to add a hearty “amen!” to this point.

He doesn’t blame anyone, he simply asks churches to consider subsidizing college costs in some creative and real way.

This article resonated with me because two weeks ago my wife and I finally paid off our last bit of college debt. I graduated with a BA & BTh 15 years ago and a MA 7 years ago and we’ve carried student loan debt for all 16 years of our marriage.

We’ve always been paid really well by the churches with which we’ve served. We’ve been blessed abundantly by the generosity of loving Elderships in each ministry, but our (my wife and my) Christian college educations were expensive, and–even though we’ve always been paid really well–our debt was a big mountain for our slow and steady income to climb.

I think if every Elder who read Paul’s article would accept his challenge to ask their young ministry staff about their school debts to see what they can do to help they’d find that their young ministry staff would be indebted to them forever.


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