Restoration, renewal, and big bucks

By webmdave

For those who remember the scandal a few years ago surrounding Tom Tewell, the pastor of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, and who also remember the nearly worshipful devotion in so many of the comments posted here, and who have developed a decided cynicism toward all things Christian, the following information will come as no surprise.
Salary and Benefits
Salary - $145,000
Housing Allowance - $50,000
Benefits including Pension, Medical and Continuing Education - $80,775
Total - $275,775

The Presbyterian Church has created a job for him, one that pays him over a quarter of a million dollars a year. What is this job? He is the executive director over a new pilot program aimed at "renewing Presbyterian ministers."

Executive Director of The Pilot Project on Renewing Presbyterian Pastors


Believing that Leadership is the key to the future of the Church of Jesus Christ and that a congregation cannot go farther spiritually than the Pastor has gone, the Pilot Project, sponsored by the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, the Presbytery of Flint River, and an Atlanta Foundation, seeks to provide practical resources to Presbyterian Pastors in struggling and challenging congregations. We believe that numerical growth is rooted in spiritual growth and that Pastors cannot give away what they are not in the process of experiencing. The 3 year Pilot Project will seek to renew the spiritual lives of clergy in order to create a culture of spiritual growth in congregations who are experiencing declining membership, financial instability and loss of hope. Clergy in challenging congregations often focus on survival rather than focusing on “ equipping the saints for the work of ministry.” (Ephesians 4:12). The Pilot Project in Pastoral Renewal provides these pastors some spiritual direction and coaching, as well as practical resources to enrich their own lives and the lives of their congregations. The Pilot Project in Pastoral Renewal will employ an experienced Pastor as the Executive Director who will be able to “walk alongside” clergy in a time of struggle, encourage them in their leadership and offer practical suggestions to help their congregations to grow spiritually and numerically.


The Executive Director of the Pilot Project will be responsible for:

1. Meeting with the Executive and Associate Presbyters of the Greater Atlanta and the Flint River Presbyteries, as well as the appropriate committees, to identify a specific number of clergy who will be included in the pilot program. A process will be developed, in conjunction with the leaders in each Presbytery, to determine how to invite Clergy into the Pilot Program in future years. The first year, our plan is to begin with 10 Clergy- 9 from Greater Atlanta and one from Flint River. 7 of the clergy from Greater Atlanta will be from congregations identified by the Presbytery as primed for growth. A Clergy couple from Greater Atlanta Presbytery who are Pastors of an Emerging Church in the Atlantic Station area will also be included, as will the Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Albany, Georgia, in the Flint River Presbytery. It is hoped that approximately 5 additional Clergy will be added to the pilot each year. Presbytery of Greater Atlanta
February 23, 2008.

2. Coordinating a regular Gathering of Clergy in the program for mutual support, prayer, devotional reading and study.

3. Preparing and identifying Small Group Study Materials and Devotional Guides for Clergy in the Pilot to use with their congregations.

4. Providing Regular Individual Coaching Sessions for each Pastor in the Pilot Program to help him or her to develop creative ideas for ministry and hone their pastoral, preaching and leadership skills.

5. Coordinating an Annual Renewal Retreat for Clergy in each of the two Presbyteries, led by experienced clergy, who would be willing to share not only their expertise, but their struggles and failures as well. The Clergy in the Pilot Program would attend the retreat at a minimal cost to themselves or their congregations and would have an opportunity to learn from and get to know some of America’s most creative clergy leaders.

6. Consulting with the clergy in the Pilot Program about such topics as:
A. Leadership – Developing the Leaders around you
B. Creating a Culture of Creativity in a Congregation
C. Best Practices in Ministry
D. Healthy Habits for a Pastor
E. Finding Creative ways to increase Worship Attendance
F. Developing a Vision for the next 5 years in your church
G. Attracting the next Generation into the Church
H. Surviving as a Pastor when you want to Quit!

7. Teaching an occasional Continuing Education Seminar at Columbia Theological Seminary, if invited, on Models of Church Growth ( Spiritual and Numerical) for Clergy and lay leaders.

8. May from time to time take on other assignments at the direction of the CF Foundation staff examples include: Assisting and advising on the Chaplaincy Program in East Lake and involvement in churches assisting with the replication of the East Lake model around the country.

Pilot Program Time Table

This 3 year Pilot Program will begin with the hiring of an Executive Director who will begin in April of 2008. The Pilot will be measured annually against evaluative criteria that will be established by the each Presbytery and the CF Foundation to determine the success of the pilot. The Pilot will conclude at the end of June of
2011 and a determination will be made, at that time, whether the Pilot will become a Permanent Renewal Ministry of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery and the Presbytery of Flint River.

Salary and Benefits
Salary - $145,000
Housing Allowance - $50,000
Benefits including Pension, Medical and Continuing Education - $80,775
Total - $275,775

To read the publicly released report from the Atlanta Presbytery, click here. The quotation above comes from page 29 in the report which appears on page 10 in the .pdf file.

Is this job really worth a quarter million a year? Is this why Christians want to give money to their churches?

What is wrong with this picture? Or is anything wrong with it all?

What do you think?

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