Clergy Entitlement

8/31 Update: New Life church overseers released a statement Wednesday saying they told Haggard the e-mail solicitation for support was "unacceptable." They said:

"Mr. Haggard's solicitation for personal support was inappropriate," the overseers said in their statement. "It was never the intention of the Dream Center that Mr. Haggard would provide any counsel or other ministry. Mr. Haggard will not be moving in or working with the Dream Center. He will not be doing any ministry. He will be seeking secular employment to support himself and his family," the statement said.

8/25: According to this Associated Press story:
The Rev. Ted Haggard, who left the megachurch he founded after admitting to "sexual immorality," has asked supporters for financial assistance while he and his wife pursue their studies.
Haggard received a salary of $115,000 for the 10 months he worked in 2006 and an $85,000 anniversary bonus before the scandal broke, The Gazette reported. Haggard's severance package included a year's salary of $138,000, and he collects royalties on his book titles, the newspaper reported. El Paso County records show Haggard's home, which has been up for sale, has a market value of $715,051.
This story bothers me on many levels because 1) people just might give Ted money, 2) Ted doesn't feel a need to support himself and 3) it paints a very strange picture of clergy entitlement.

I have been a part of, and witness to, several men leaving their pastoral posts. Each was an ugly experience for me that revealed this whole entitlement mentality that some (hopefully a small few) ministers have. Clergy today experience a work life that is unlike most people whom they serve in ministry ... many are unprepared to do anything else vocationally ... the stakes of them staying their clerical position is very high ... and weird entitlement thinking sometimes is embraced because of these high stakes.

To Ted Haggard I simply say: Join the human race and get a job - you are not entitled to be supported as you pursue your studies!


  1. Yeah, but the problem is that ministry really does not prepare a person for any other position but one in ministry.

  2. Not that one is entitled to any special treatment. But I can understand why Haggart is responding this way. His entire life has collapsed, and he's struggling to put something back together.

  3. I think that you have identified the problem John. Do you have any ideas around solutions?

  4. I don't know... this leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    While I understand that those in the ministry are "uniquely unqualified" I also think of a pastor friend of mine who recently uprooted from Kansas City to California because his wife got a job there. While he's still looking for a pastoral job, he has no trouble waiting tables. (And he has some pretty funny blog entires about his experiences, as well.) He applied for anything and everything. And he wasn't too prideful to take that waiter job.

    I would think a man like Haggard would have a substantial savings, and while it's hard to dip into those things (especially when you have kids) everyone else has to do it when the need arises. So why not him?

  5. I was a music director in a 6,000 member church. I wrote this post about the subject of clergy entitlement.

    It was meant to be funny, but it is disturbing in its accuracy.


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