Oops, I accidentally put your brain back in sideways
I was covering some dull administrivia about the organization of The United Methodist Church in my Confirmation Class today. The kids were more interested in the distinction between clergy and laity, though, so I spent a good deal of time talking about clergy and lay roles in ministry. But I kept trying to bring it back to the org stuff. Finally, when I was talking about how the annual Charge Conference is required to act on certain things, like salaries, I got a stunned response.
Salaries? Who gets a salary in the church? Well, of course, I do. You do?
(How much?) And Alane (the secretary) does, too. She does?
I explained that I would still do what I do if they didn't pay me at all -- at least, the parts that I find important and rewarding, like conducting worship and teaching confirmation and so forth. (Which means that I basically get paid to go to meetings and fill out paperwork, I suppose.) And we talked more about the whole subject of what pastors do.
In any case, I find their astonishment typical. Middle school kids are often shocked to learn that I get paid for what I do. They think of me as a kind of religious Scoutmaster. (Meanwhile, younger kids frequently think that I own the church.)
And then, we got into the educational and organizational requirements for ordination, of which more later. They were even more freaked out by that. Ah, to be so innocent once again.