How Close Should a Pastor Live to His Church? Important Factors


How Close Should a Pastor Live to His Church_ Important Factors

Should a Pastor Live Close to his Flock? / Should a Pastor Live to His Church ?

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;

1 Peter 5:2 (NIV)

How close should a pastor live to his church? How far is too far for a pastor to drive to church. Should a pastor live close to his church, or can they live anywhere they want? These are some of the questions that pastors have to deal with when buying a home or starting their ministry or moving to a new church.

Should a Pastor Live to His Church

God has given pastors a mandate to take care of the church, and it means that unlike other Christians, pastors spend most of their time in church. They are not limited to preaching the gospel every Sunday. Pastors are also supposed to be in charge of the leadership of the church, so they need to choose their residential homes wisely. 

While the location of the Church and the pastor’s house is important, we need to understand that other contributing factors determine how close pastors live to their church. These include the following:

This Descision will depend on where in the world you live. Sometimes transportation is difficult. In some aeras many times transportation is limited.

  • In Many Countries our Members do not own cars and getting to church is done by walking – Guyana – New York
  • Transportation Cost and Availability of your flock. Making it easy to access your help and guidance
  • Many congregations are centered around their meeting location.
  • If Your area is very mobile then the distances are far greater and being in the center of the action is more spread out.
  • Pastors Hours are very full – Members need help in a crisis – counseling – hospital – Outreach visiting in your community – is done one foot / by car / by Bus
  • In past years – the church was the center of the community – even to the point many had their own graveyards for their Flock behind their building
  • Sometimes Churches have their own House that they have for their servant.

A General Thought is that the closer you can be to those you are shepherding the Better

Factors Pastors Consider when Choosing House/Home

The Location of the Church

Some churches are renting spaces in the middle of town where there are no residential homes hence making it impossible for pastors to live within or near the church premises.  Pastors have to look for residential places nearby, which can be a few minutes away from the church.

Costs

Most pastors who live far away from their churches will bring up costs as one of the reasons why they live far away.  They have other needs to take care of and hence have to rent homes within their budget. 

In most towns or communities, churches are located in the middle of town. Residential properties tend to be costly in terms of rent hence making it hard, especially for pastors that are just starting out their churches to manage the high costs of rent.

Privacy

We all need our privacy, and it is important to protect your family, especially for pastors who are ever under scrutiny by the members of their church. Some pastors live far away from the churches because they’re trying to maintain their privacy.

While the factors mentioned above are not things that we should overlook, pastors need to live close to their church. When looking for a house, a pastor should try as much as possible to ensure that the furthest they are living from the church is 30 minutes away. Here are the reasons why:

Salary for Pastors / John Piper

Why Pastors should Live Near Church

To Avoid the Challenges of Commuting

Living far away from the church can be challenging, especially for pastors, because they need to be in church most of the time.  You have to be in church to ensure that everything runs smoothly. You’re not just a preacher but also the leader of the church.

If you live far away, you’ll have to deal with things like traffic jams.  You may be needed in church urgently but end up disappointing people because you’re stuck in a jam or because of bad weather that cannot allow you to drive to church. To avoid issues that will impact your ministry negatively, endeavor to get a home that is thirty minutes away from the church or closer than that.

One Position I held it took me 1 Hour to get to the Building. That meant that it was two hours a day that I spent behind the wheel to get where I served. It was very difficult to spend that much time. When there was an emergency I was an hour away no matter how badly I was Needed. It was also very costly for me in gas and wear and tear on my vehicle. ( I was There 7 Years)

To Cultivate a Community

Yes, you love your family, and you want to maintain a certain level of privacy.  But here is the truth, when you accept to be a pastor, you stop living for yourself. You’re not only God’s servant, but you’re called to serve his flock. So your private life will not be so private

You will not have much control as you would like how people interact with you and when they do.  Remember, pastors are servants of their communities, and it is through interacting with others freely that you’re able to cultivate a community that is God-fearing and spiritually healthy

(Proverbs 27:23). “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;”

God Will Supply Your Needs

It is good to be responsible with your finances but understand that God wants you to live within that community to make a difference in the lives of people within that community. 

There’s a reason why he chose you to go and be a pastor in that place, and he already knows your financial needs.  Instead of staying one hour away from your church because of costs, try to move close by so that you can be near your church.

God knows that you will require money to pay rent and other costs, and he has already provided according to his glorious riches.  You only need to trust him faithfully and serve him the way he wants you to.

Learning How to Be Led By God’s Spirit

Remember, God has not given you this spiritual gift for your own gain but for the benefit of his flock

(Philippians 2: 1-4) “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

He wants you to be part of that community that he has put you in so that you can make a difference in people’s lives. And ensure that souls are brought to Christ, and people experience spiritual growth.

So as you choose where to live, remember not to lean on your own understanding but to look up to God for guidance.

Your heavenly father cares about the small and personal things in your life as much as he cares about your spiritual growth. And the lives of the people that you’re shepherding.

It is easy for you as a pastor to forget this because you have so many big things you’re dealing with in your ministry. But don’t forget God cares about you so much, and he is ready to help you in your decision-making process. So feel free to turn to him for guidance about this, and he will come through.

All in All

As a pastor of the church, you need to ensure that you live close to your church to be able to attend to your duties without any inconveniences.  You’ll be needed by different people at different times, and some of your duties will require you to be in church at awkward hours.

So try to ensure that you live in a place that is not only convenient for you but also for your church members.  Remember, you are a servant of God, you need to carry out the duties God has given you effectively, and location will play a major role in how effective you will be.

Greg Gaines

Father / Grandfather / Minister / Missionary / Deacon / Elder / Author

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