There was a time when churches were governed by boards who hired a new pastor and also fired him when they felt the situation called for it. In the modern era, many pastors are founding their own ministries and setting them up so their relatives will not need to work a secular job, and ministries today are turning into a family enterprise.

Keeping ministries all in the family

Pastor Jerry Falwell outlined in his will that upon his death his sons would rule his kingdom. Jerry Jr. was to be Chancellor of Liberty University and Jonathan would become pastor of Thomas Roads Baptist Church.

These two men had careers handed to them by their father and will never have need of a secular job. Last week Fred Price Jr. resigned as pastor of Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles CA. Price inherited the position in 2009 from his father the church founder Apostle Frederick KC Price Sr.

Price Jr. said he had betrayed God, his family, and church but did not elaborate. He is taking time off to deal with whatever issues he has. For over 35 years, the Ever Increasing Faith television program associated with the ministry has only been hosted by Fred Sr. his wife Betty or his son. Now that the younger Price has stepped down, his father at age 85 has come out of retirement and will resume the position of pastor until the son returns.

They are keeping this enterprise all in the family by not using ministers who are not related.

The goal is financial freedom from the secular world

When ministries are set up this way, it guarantees jobs for relatives. I was a member of a church where the pastor died suddenly at a young age. His wife later became the pastor and members were told she was "holding down the fort" until her young son could come of age and take over his father's legacy.

In a different church, a pastor called out to his teenage son who was sitting in the audience asking if the young man would take over if the Lord called him home. The tee nodded yes but seemed bewildered and put on the spot.

The goal seems to be to have financial freedom without working in the secular world. In many of these churches, only the pastor's wife preaches when he is out of town.

This keeps the money all in the family. The adult children have paid positions within these ministries. The television show "Greenleaf" is an excellent example of how this works.

It is also a disservice to the other preachers who are members of the church. In one ministry I was a part of the pastor's wife did not participate in any ministries or serve in any capacity within the church. She simply preached when her husband was not available. There were more than 20 other preachers in the church but they were relegated to jobs that lay people could handle. This set-up is most prevalent in non-denominational church settings.