Article 11 — Proper support
The consistory, with the deacons, on behalf of the congregation which it represents in this matter, shall provide for the proper support of its minister(s).
Scripture teaches us that
the labourer is worthy of his wages. (Luke 10: 7; Matthew 10: 10).
The ministers of the Word must be maintained by those among whom they are working:
The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9: 14; see also Galatians 6: 6).
This duty of the congregation is executed by the consistory as representing the congregation.
According to Articles 5 and 6 the counsellor’s advice must be sought in the case of a vacant congregation extending a call to a candidate or a minister. The reason for this is that even this shall be done “decently and in good order”.
The consequence of this is that the counsellor ensures that the financial support which is promised in the ‘letter of call’ is indeed sufficient.
Apart from this, the accepted call must have the approval of the classis. Then the ‘letter of call’ shall be tabled, allowing the classis to assure itself as to the adequacy of the honorarium.
All this is a matter of brotherly supervision for the well-being of the churches.
A minister must be able to discharge the duties of his office without any financial worries.
This article does not give any directions regarding the way in which the
money shall be raised. The best way in our opinion is that of regular voluntary contributions.
The provision of some directives is not in contrast with the voluntary character of these contributions.
The addition of ‘collections for the church’ should be avoided. With Lord’s Day 38 of our Catechism we profess that we “diligently attend the church of God …. to give Christian offering for the poor”. The collections in our worship services should be restricted to that!
The best way to deal with the financial affairs of the church is to include in the annual budget the whole of the expenditure: also the quota for the training for the Ministry, for mission work, etcetera, so that the weekly collections can be restricted to charity, not only as far as the indigent in the own congregation are concerned, but also covering all sorts of needs in God’s wide world. This may give the weekly collections in the church services more the character of an offer of thanksgiving, and will prevent them from becoming a matter of routine.
It may happen that a congregation is unable to fully support its minister. Since it is very important that whenever and wherever possible every congregation has its own minister, the sister-churches shall in such cases assist her. This shall be done through the classis, and if necessary through the synod.