I recognize this is an emotional topic for many, especially those who "make their living off the gospel" as many authors put it. I have been reading quite a bit in favor of bi-vocational ministry lately and wanted to ask why, in an over-saturated ministry environment we tolerate funding so many full-time pastors, let alone church staffs (who tend to be the spouses of "influencers". deacons, or other elders, from what I've seen). Most reformed Baptists advocate for having a plurality of elders, and while the number of churches in America is shrinking, just the SBC seminaries are churning out over a thousand graduates each year, not to mention many more from independent seminaries. Given the disproportionate amount of money that we as Americans keep in domestic ministry rather than missions (85%?), how can we justify this? To me, it seems that funding full-time ministry staffs is due to laziness, or the desire to avoid hurt feelings. Why don't we see more churches that have the elders on a preaching rotation and expect them to work a normal job like the rest of the congregation? Surely given the number of men who pastors have endorsed as qualified to attend and graduate seminary, we can spread the ministry load (not just preaching). Again, I recognize this is a golden (no pun intended) calf for many since our paychecks are how we provide for our families, but I cannot see how we as American Baptists will be able to one day stand before God and justify spending so much on ourselves. I don't see how hypothetical congregant could justify paying a tithe to the local church, knowing that only one of the six elders is doing 98% of the work. Why not spread the load and make ministry "service" rather than a "job"? I would bet we would also see far less pastoral burnout as well.