I have received a great question regarding this thread, it goes like this:
"Are we facing the problems we have regarding paying for clergy because of the Clericalism of the Church of England. Do other denominations suffer less than us because they have leadership styles that draw upon all the members rather than one leader or group of leaders?"
I guess the first step here is to assess what the other churches do and a quick finger in the air shows me that even where the church style is congregational we generally find that leaders (Pastor, Minister, Vicar or Elder) are paid and unpaid. Some of the congregations pay directly for their leaders and where the ability to do this is limited then the leader is unpaid, where there is money to pay for the leader/s they do - it's as simple as that!
I struggle with clericalism but then again I struggle with much of the anticlerical stuff too. There was a bit of a wally who used to talk about taking the grip of the clergy off of the stuff that is Church and handing it back to the people (a sentiment with which I am in full agreement by the way). The reality was that whilst they sought a decline in ordained clergy and the empowering of members, what was happening was that we saw no coherent leadership or planning and panic mode recovery of situations where nothing had been done. I am all for leaders who lead regardless of renumeration issues but also return to the number of Elim ministers I have worked with whose one desire was to be able to stop their day job and concentrate all their time on the ministry before them. This desire to be able to do the stuff without the distraction of a day job seems to indicate that the stipend is a sound concept.
Now, oddly enough, my original ambition was to be a minister who worked in the world as saw the world as my parish - as happened with the train and the church it became and the people with whom I engaged in the workplace - but I was persuaded to take the stipendiary route and have to say I have no regrets at this.
The reality though is that it's not about clericalism but about paying for the privilege of having someone spin the plates, visit the sick and generally get stuck in on a 7*24*365 basis (although I do feel some sell their vocations a little short regarding this, but that's for a different discussion) and they do this because they have been 'called out' (ekklesia) to do that roll.
The majority of the churches, groups, denominations and settings I have looked at pay for their leaders when they can and some do it even when they can't because of the generosity of others through relationships or by means of the Common Purse (Parish Share). Some groupings, denominations and the like do perhaps suffer less because they work on the basis that the ability and desire to pay, for this engenders the ability in others, is the key to whether payment is made and so a cash strapped church is freed from the need to pay what they cannot afford. The problem is (and I have just run someone to check as they have an unpaid pastor) is that those who rely upon lay led leadership do find that the tensions between 'ruling elders' and the rest and the lack of cohesive direction is a price that is paid when the price of leaders is not paid. A real conundrum that isn't it?
So the answer to the question appears to be, "No, the problem isn't that we pay the clergy to do stuff, it's a much deeper issue than that and looks at changing church needs, the ability to pay, numbers of people coming forward to be ordained and a good many other issues. It's not about clericalism - it's much wider, deeper and demanding that that alone."
With this I find more to add to the scales and more to to be considered in this evermore weighty issue.