Summary: People say preachers are in it for the money, but if one comes just ready to preach for free they think you are nuts. Where's the win-win? ;-)
Ever since I have been saved, I have heard that "Preachers are only in it for the money." My first pastor was driving a twelve-year-old car, raising four kids on a salary that was equal to what my father-in-law was paying in weekly taxes. Admittedly, when you look at the lifestyles of the rich and famous TV preachers it is hard to not come up with the conclusion that preachers are all about the shekel. When you are living in multi-million dollar houses, wearing Rolex watches, have private jets and expensive furniture in your office it does cast a cloud of suspicion on your motives, mission, and message.
I determined early in my ministry that I did not want to be one of those lads. Even if I made it to TV, I wanted to live on a much simpler budget. Some men like Alistair Begg do keep things real as he offers all of his online sermons on an offering basis and if you are broke you can still be blessed for free. My pastor does the same with his online material. A workman is worthy of his hire, but then there is an excessive luxury that neither Jesus, the Apostles or the mighty men of God throughout history ever experienced or desired.
Unfortunately, these folks create headaches for the majority of pastors who are struggling because their churches cannot pay them a decent salary and many work full-time jobs to keep both family and church afloat. Others are able to pastor without pay because they have other means of income. These folks do the bulk of ministry in the Kingdom. The other lads have a crowd, but they are not in the trenches ministering to the bulk of the Body.
As of July 4th, 2016, there were 323,148, 587 people in America. As of July 18th. 2016, ABC news stated that 83% of all Americans identify as Christians or 268,213,327 people. Add all the mega-churches together and I doubt they come to more than 6 million. They must be at least 2K or more to be considered a Mega-church. There are 1210 in the US give or take. I used an average of 5K per to get the 6 million.
So that means that at least 260+ million Christians are getting ministered to by some other means. Some are shut-ins so the TV, radio, and Intenet folks are ministering to them, but there is also a local pastor and church group ministering to them Some of these are full-time pastors with pay and benefits. Many are full-time pastors on SS or part-timers working a job with a small salary while others are not paid at all. So who are the real superstars?
With churches in decline, more and more of the pastors are receiving small or no salaries and churches are going without pastors. Some churches still have parsonages, which they might consider selling, but many do not so a man must provide his own housing on his own dime. Their reward is in serving Christ and one day they will get a reward in Heaven. Indeed, some of these churches do more in some areas than some of the big churches.
I know one now that is pastored by a disabled Veteran who takes no salary and has a housebound wife. He drives at least forty-five miles one way to minister. They have a soup kitchen weekly and reach out to the poor and homeless with such success that surpasses the ministry of many churches ten times their size and they have only been in existence three years. May others model them.
People complain about pastor's salaries and some even teach that a pastor should never have a salary, which is not scriptural. They that preach the gospel are to live of the gospel and the elder who labors in the Word is worthy of double honor or salary. That word honor is where we get the term honorarium, which is a payment. The irony of this is that the one who wrote those words often worked to support himself though he did at times receive funds much like our missionaries. Yet, he took nothing from the church in Corinth and they seemed offended by that.
2 Corinthians 11:7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
He was working and receiving money elsewhere. The Corinthians had many issues and were a very immature and carnal bunch though they had all the gifts of the Spirit. That should be a warning and call to assessment for all of us. You can be gifted and still be carnal. Much care needs to be taken when studying these folks are they are more a study of what not to be than how to be a spirit-filled Christian.