About 10 months ago Impact! Church made the move from an upper middle-class area of town to one of the most economically depressed neighborhoods in Lakeland. Every homeless shelter and most of the rehab centers in the county are within a block of our church. In the transition we lost our biggest giver and several of our most consistent contributors. After the move our church became predominately homeless people and addicts – which means there is very little in the offering plate each Sunday. After a few months we saw some very stark financial realities set in – we could not afford to do ministry and provide the pastor – or anyone else – with a salary. We couldn’t even pay part time allowing me to be bi-vocational. So I became a tentmaker – I substitute teach special needs and high risk kids in middle school and high school. My wife and I have also been blessed by occasional financial help from our denomination and other churches. Make no mistake though, I still get paid!
- I get paid every time Impact! Church gives a single mother free clothes for her kids.
- I get paid every time the church makes rent on the building – knowing that people living on the streets will have a warm place to sleep on cold or rainy nights.
- I get paid every time I get to call a family to let them know that their loved one is alive, safe, sober and now in rehab.
- I get paid every time a person that has been rejected at other churches finds hope and belonging at Impact! Church.
- I get paid every time I get to watch a high school or middle school student with learning difficulties do well on an assignment and gain much-needed confidence.
- I get paid every time the Bible comes alive for someone that has never been to church or gave up on the church.
- I get paid every time a person far from God introduces me as their friend.
- I get paid every time Impact! Church helps an addict get clean and stay sober.
- I get paid every time our church feeds a mentally-challenged homeless man or hungry junkie.
- I get paid every time a prostitute in our neighborhood finds unconditional love and acceptance at Impact! Church.
- I get paid every time someone makes the decision to give their life to Christ.
In essence I have the best salary in the world!!!