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The $64,000 Question…

General —  March 25, 2012 — 10 Comments

 

After 17 years in ministry and 14 years of marriage we are still living paycheck to paycheck. Setting aside the ministry part of “The Job” and just focusing on the financial part of things for a second…

Obviously none of us were so naive to get into this job for the money. We all knew it wasn’t going to pay well. We all knew there would be financial sacrifices. We all knew we would have to live differently. But sometimes I struggle to know if its responsible, or the right thing to do when society and all things reasonable are saying, “How long can you live like this?” And at my age the question is more like, “How long can you actually do youth ministry?”, as if the cuteness factor is beginning to wear off.

At my worst, I beg and pray for Jeff to have a regular job outside of the church where we can make some money and actually fix our falling down fence in the front yard. And fix the three holes in our ceiling that have been there for 3 years from a leak in the upstairs shower. Or fix the upstairs shower for that matter! And in my dreams I have a budget for the grocery store where I dont need a coupon and a budget at all that includes clothing. Ahhhhh, to shop for new clothes… (I just drooled a little). Oh, and kids make it all the more challenging. I am constantly taking 5$ from groceries to help pay for soccer, or baseball, and trading date night money for a tank of gas, but then not filling up the gas tank entirely so that extra $10 can buy a new baseball”cup” for my growing son.  Just 2 weeks ago I got caught picking flowers in a neighbors yard for a birthday gift for my daughters teacher! Seriously people, it can get exhausting! Not to mention embarrassing.

At my best, I am thankful. My prayers are overflowing with gratitude and  humility. I can’t believe God would meet my needs each day and fill our lives with such blessings. I am overwhelmed by the amazing life we live that is defined by love. I love my little home! I am convinced it keeps me grounded to what really matters. It keeps me creative in how to make the most of a small space and how to make new stuff out of old stuff. I could write a book. … in the forward I would thank God and Pintrest! I have learned to make a wardrobe out of beautiful hand-me-downs, and thankful for all the fashion blogs and pintrest (again) for teaching me how to wear a skirt as a shirt or wearing and old t-shirt as a new scarf. And those things are really FUN for me!

I know that the relationships and people we invest in can not be replaced by money, clothing, or groceries. I know that there are no guarantees that more money would make life easier. I know that God will provide what we need for each day. And I know that this job is an incredible gift, an incredible responsibility, and an incredible passion for our family. And I don’t have any real answers for those that might ask, “How long can you live like this?”. I’m sure I’ll ask myself that same question tomorrow. But for now, I have to go “borrow” 2 bucks from my kids to replace the batteries in our remote control. :) (thankful I have a TV!)

General

General

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10 responses to The $64,000 Question…

  1. Thank you so much for starting up again with your posts. This blog has been a real encouragement to me the last few weeks. My husband and I are in between churches, and seeing that there are so many other families out there who have struggled with the same things we’ve been through is so encouraging. I’ve been looking for sites directed at youth pastors wives, and this is the only one I’ve found that has been updated in the past two years. We so seldom can find someone appropriate to confide in about our real lives, and I really appreciate the honesty that you, and commentors, bring in this blog.

    Thank you for being such a blessing. :)

  2. Understand. My dad left ministry after 25 years with no money saved for retirement. Always living from paycheck to paycheck. He was blessed to get a great job a few years after and now is building a small nest egg. I am leaving ministry after 15 years. I have had a decent salary compared to many but with no benefits (retirement, insurance, paying all the ss tax) it dwindles away fast.

  3. Not to get personal, but are you saying your husband makes $64K as a youth minister?? My husband makes maybe 60% of that as a youth minister…yes, we don’t have as much money as other families, but we get by. I also work fulltime and would love nothing more than to be a fulltime mother.

  4. @Tiffany – The $64,000 Question was a game show in the mid 1950s.

  5. Amanda, I am glad to see you are writing again. Do you know how helpful your words are to many women and (yes) men in ministry? Not everyone is willing to put themselves our there and has the talent to say it in a way to allow others the understanding to join in. I look forward to reading much more (including the great comments). Give Dylan, Molly and Scotty a big hug from Poppy and Jeff a firm handshake. Love, Dad

  6. I know this may sound funny, but I puddled up a little when I found your blog… I love how God gives us the encouragement we need at just the right time! I can’t wait to play catch up and read the rest of your posts. My husband is a youth leader in Sept, still in school, and we have 2 boys, 7&5. while we have less actual income than we have ever had in our marriage life, we are the most fulfilled and are in constant awe of how God fills in the gaps. Thank you SO SO much for sharing your journey. Please know that you are appreciated!

  7. I am a little late reading this post, but God led me here after a very hard morning where I had to decline a shopping trip for our MOPS group because I didn’t have the money to buy a costume outfit for our last meeting. I left feeling embarrassed and angry because they didn’t “get it.” God led me back to your site when I needed it most and reminded me of why we do ministry and the different life He has called us to for His glory. Thank you so much for your honesty and compassion with all those navigating the waters of youth ministry!

  8. This is some excellent stuff. I know my wife will be encouraged by it. I just heard a sermon by Mark Driscoll the other day that blew my socks off. I was really undone with what he said about pastors and the fact that many of them “made” their wives work in order to pay the bills. He straight up said that was sin. He did talk about seasons and how there are times when both spouses need to work. Right now my wife is working full time and it is a sacrifice for us. But I am starting to ask the question- how do I get my wife off the hook? How do I get us to a point financially in which she doesn’t “have” to work, but can if she wants to? I don’t have the answer yet, but I am working on it!

  9. At almost 45 and still a youth pastors wife….I have asked every single question you mentioned and more and infact am soon to write blog about our recent move out of a 750 sq ft home after 3 yrs (all 5 of us) and no laundry! Lol you echoed my worst and best to a T…so don’t be surprised if I reference you in my blog…feels good to know one is not alone as it can feel so very lonely at times…so should you ever feel discouraged and find your asking yourself the same question how long?….well you can make at least till 45 :) since mostly likely you are not…blessings and thanks for making me smile after a very hard worst of these kind of days!

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