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When should volunteer help be paid?

Submitted: 2/20/2007
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Question: Greetings in Jesus name. My question is an opinion question for which I would like your insight. What is your policy on asking skilled tradesmen to do work for you or the church? Should (in your opinion) a pastor or eldership ask a tradesman to 'vounteer' their services for free? Many times we ask a tradesman to paint or do drywall for free but do not ask the grocery man for free food, nor do we ask a banker for money without interest. What is your opinion on this?

Answer: We believe that if a person must take time away from his occupation to do work for which he would normally be compensated, then he should be fairly compensated by the assembly. Of course, if he offers to do the work for free, that is his prerogative. But he should not be treated as though he is obliged to do the work for free. This is patently unfair. On the other hand, to ask a professional painter to stop by on a weekend and assist with a small painting project would not necessarily mean he should be compensated. The larger issue here is being respectful of our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We should not act as though the church is an unlimited free labor supply. We should be respectful of people's time and good intentions and be careful not to take undue advantage of them.