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In I Corinthians 9, Paul is referring to a particular situation, though he makes universal application, though the application is not that pastors should work for free. I Cor. He did not make this request of all the churches he worked for. Other chuches made up for the absence of support from the Corinthians. A pastor should be willing to work for free in special situations, but if a pastor has a family, then the pastor has a Biblical responsibility to support that family too that has to be weighed. He should support his family for certain.

What is far less certain is that able bodied men should depend on the local church to pay them a permanent salary and benefits. We so often hear Paul quoted in 1 Cor 9 but it is pretty obvious that his focus was on not getting paid because that was an obstacle to the Gospel. We have taken a completely different situation and applied it to professional clergy when there is little to support that claim. Just to be clear. I didnt say Paul was telling us to work for free in 1 Corinthians 9. What I am arguing is that if our hearts arent even in a place that we would pastor without pay we should not be pastors.

Im definitely not stating pastors have an obligation to reject money from the church they serve while their family suffers. I have been fulltime in a church for free and for compensation. My wife has never been compensated though many think she should be just as available as me. Great conversation! Every christian should be willing to do the job of pastor for free, in the capacity to which they are able. If you are called to carry this work out to a much higher capacity, adequate in accordance to the capacity compensation is required.

How many times have u worked for free in your life? I am not a pastor but this is very unfair and selfish it should not even be a discussion if pastors should not be paid then no other Job on earth is even also worthy of payment. What is it like living in the kingdom of neverneverland with Peter Pan. The fairies, the munchkins, etc! That was a very condescending post.

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If you are indeed a pastor and pastor freely not knowing where your next meal will be or where you will rest, I pity you. If you have a family I pity them even more. You missed my point. I am a pastor, I receive a salary. While I could understand someone feeling pity for my family, that would probably have more to do with my personality than how I deal with finances.

My point was that this is an issue of the heart. If you are going to disagree with a statement, atleast characterize it properly. I had to read his post carefully a couple of times before I understood what he was saying. Theres a tremendous amount of being highly defensive. I recently left the Anglican church… as I felt that, every single penny that was being raised, ie renting out the hall, selling flowers at xmas, garage sales.

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The bible made us understand that if a man can not provide for his household he is worse than an infidel. Should a pastor be considered an infidel? Men of God are men before they were men of God, they are not spirits. They need money to cater for their immediate family needs. Remember he that works on the altar also live by that same altar.

Whoa my friend, the church IS a business. Just ask the IRS. They look at churches as businesses and they look at the Pastors as the leading administrator, i. When interviewing for a pastoring position, the candidate has every right to insist on a livable wage to be reviewed every days. Shame on us! Why to people say this about Pastors only and not other professions. I get so sick of this and how this is blown out of context and how Pastors are different than anyone else who works a job.

People feel called to their jobs just like Pastors feel called to be Pastors. That is so selfish!! That is detestable!! The church leaders need to take responsibility for how they treat their Pastors — and own their part. They chew them up and spit them out …. Who wants to be a part of that?? I believe that the majority of pastors in the US live on modest salaries when you count the associate and youth pastors. Our SBC church of appoximately just sent out a proposed budjet for the year.

The senior pastor is getting 55 K with 30 K in housing allotment which goes to his private home loan and an additional 30 K in a category called benefits. The average household with two wage earners in our area is 45 — 60 K. The associate pastor has 5 kids too while the senior pastor has 2 kids. An additional 30 k is allotted to pastor travel expenses in a separate category. I have a difficult time when I think that a pastor is near the top of the wage earners of his entire congregation when he lives off of the tithes and offerings of the people.

In my opinion, a pastor should not make head and shoulders above the people that are sacrificially giving to the church. Also, the church should look at need. If a pastor has no children, then maybe they get less; if many children, then more. Normally a pastor is paid meaningfully less than what other men of his age, education, and experience are making in the church where he serves. Of the churches that I know well, I cannot think of a single instance where the pastor has a higher salary than that of the Elders or Deacons in his church. This may be different in very large churches as I am mostly familiar with churches with less than members.

Often the issue of pastoral salaries is simply ignored in a local church. Financial need goes way beyond counting up the number of children a man has. If the church is able to do so, it is wiser to set pastoral compensation according to community standards. Thanks for your response. I have a couple observations that I would like to try to get feedback on: 1. The PCA in St. Louis area where we live is pretty much located in the more affluent areas and draws a lot of wealthy christians into their churches.

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The pastors that are part of the St. Louis area PCA are very well paid, but they are not making excessively more than their flock. Their flock is made up of CEOs, doctors, lawyers — basically white collar types. The PCA church where I attended in the early s had their share of millionaires and even one couple who are on the Forbes list.

The senior pastor made around K per year. Many of these school benefits have since been cut. When we moved South of St. Louis to a poorer area, we began going to an SBC church. The staff is definitely not paid as well. Like I said in previous post, the senior pastor makes a pretty decent living while the other pastors either struggle or their wives are forced to help with income. The senior pastor, in my opinion, makes too much because the average household that is supporting him makes significantly less than he does.

The PCA pastors were definitely several calibers better communicators and likely more advanced in their theological understanding than the pastors in the less affluent area. In my opinion, this is how capitalism has effected the church. Churches are in direct competition with each other to land the best senior pastor. And to land the talent, a church has to pay. In the case of the SBC church I mentioned, they pay the senior pastor more than double the other pastors. And I suppose that the SBC church then hopes that their talent will influence church growth. I think that capitalism and I believe in capitalism as a economic driving force drives our churches much more than we want to admit.

You are undoubtedly correct that there is a type of capitalism at work in terms of affluent churches calling pastors from smaller or poorer congregations. One idea that I have run by Elders and Pastors is that we should establish a flat salary for all pastors in our denomination and make adjustments only for housing allowances.

Affluent churches would therefore need to subsidize the compensation pastors are receiving at poorer or smaller congregations. I confess that this may not be a very good idea because literally nobody has ever agreed with my suggestion. On the other hand, I mostly hear people complaining about the current situation without offering any alternatives. Div and 5 years experience. I like your idea. A seminary friend of mine who felt called to be a pastor in a small town actually shared that idea with me several years ago too. He actually got a call from a church in a town with a population of about people shortly after he graduated.

I lost track of him for awhile and then found out through the internet that he was no longer serving in the church in the town. He had moved to a pastorate in a much larger city. What a wonderful thing that the church could do in fulfilling the great commission and reaching rural people if the church body subsidized pastors in areas that can not support their pastor.

It is hard to judge a pastor for taking a more lucrative position though. Most lay christians make job choices largely based on compensation. It just sort of feels wrong when we see our spiritual leaders doing that too. I think that he makes money on sale of books and speaking engagements — not that every pastor has that luxury, but it does say something for a man that does not take every dollar that they can.

I grew up in a country type SBC and I know salary was never the main issue for my pastors back them.. No one should get paid just for holding a religious title! But,I know some pastors today that will bleed a small poor church dry and never do anything but visit the sick and maybe help out in a program they believe will bring them a pat on the back from big-hearted givers.. Ok…The Bible says that the pastor is to be counted worthy of Double Honor but since you so strongly disagree and think a pastor should only make what the congregation is making then lets make that fair and apply scripture concerning the early Church, In the early church EVERY MEMBER sold every thing that they had and redistributed everything among them selves…Do you own a car?

Do you own a house? Have you sold all that you own so that everyone in the church is treated fair and equal? Do you require that a doctor who has sacrificed years of his life to go to school and treat peoples physical needs be required, in your church, to give up a substantial part of his pay check so that you can feel like everything is fair in the church? Our Churches are dying today because people will not allow the pastor to be taken care of and because people tell the widow of Zeraphath to not give to the man of God and therefor she is not being blessed, Show me the scriptures that say that you should limit the man of God and cut his salary down?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Seems we are following the American business model, instead of imitating Jesus as he led his disciples. I have seen a senior pastor request raises to the point the church could not afford a youth pastor, and eventually membership started shrinking. I have also seen strong deacon or elder boards drive pastors to exhaustion.

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Another pastor I know agreed to a salary, then wrote checks to pay for his mortgage and car payments…which was never reviewed by the board or finance committee. So I believe in meeting the needs of those who are chosen to do full-time ministerial work, but with accountability. Too often no one wants to bother with simple checks and balances.

One of the amazing things about this article has been the variety of shocking practices it speaks to. I am a pastor of a local church and here are a few suggestions that every church should follow:. The pastor should not be on the compensation committee of the church. The pastor should not be the Treasurer nor should anyone related to the pastor be able to write checks.

No one said we need more children. To assume having more offspring entitles you to more money is wrong. The rest of us are not responsible for your decision to have kids and to suck up more resources and diminish the quality of life for everyone else on the planet. I agree that a pastor should never be in the job for the money, but I disagree that it is just not reasonable to expect them to live for free. This is not the era in which they can be self-sufficient farmers or something like in Biblical times.

I do not think I would want to see a pastor working a 9 to 5 job 40 hours a week and then trying to maintain the church, as well. That would be unfair to ask of them. People need them at times like at the bedside while a loved one is passing away. How can they give their congregation their all if they are expected to do both.

It is only right that they are supported by the congregation so that they can in return be the support the congregation expects of them. The pyramid shows the order in which needs have to be met to reach the next level up. You will see, at the very bottom is the requirement to be able to do this, and basic physiological needs must be met first, like shelter, safety, food, water, before a person can even consider emotional needs and then having a purpose in life and giving back to others. The person has to have all the layers to be able to reach a level to which they can be there for others.

Hence, all these levels must be supported in order for a pastor to fufill the duties of a pastor. This is why we need to support our pastors financially, to allow for their physiological needs to be met so that they can accomplish fufilling our needs. Interesting example you use of Paul since Paul was neither a pastor nor did he have a family to support. Or pay them well to be your one-stop CEO, HR manager, financial advisor, janitor, bookkeeper, subcontractor, handyman, plumber, electrician, etc….

As a former truck driver that was away from home over 70 hours a week I still am shocked at the mindset of American ministers. I am always stunned at the business model approach to ministry. By the way, I do believe the disciples casting their nets into the sea once to catch fish probably sport fishing — yeah.

And you wonder why hard working men and women feel taken advantage of when they are asked to give up their vacation time to help out at the church while the pastor makes sure his family always has weeks of vacation at his convenience. They know better. Some of the most physically lazy and non-endearing men I have ever met are pastors. To be fair some of the most hardworking pastors that I have ever met are pastors — clarification — they held another job as well as pastored hmm maybe that was key to the love the people had for them.

Arrogant and bitter. Very sad. Over 10 years later nothing has changed. I grew up in a blue collar family and have held blue collar jobs. I have known of blue collar people who actually took joy in giving the pastor a hard time because they viewed him as management. They actually kept a scorecard. The blue collar people 2, the pastor 0. Their two victories were tallied based off of two pastors dying of a heart attack while serving in office.

I do not write this to say that blue collar people are bad. My father is one. My point is that we can both play this game of pointing to horrible examples of the other side in order to make our point. That being said, I do think a good portion of pastors would do themselves and their people a great service if they spent some time in the non Church work force for an extended period of time.

In some ways we must do that in order to efficiently run the church, but I do not EVER want to get to the place where I am so calculating that I am willing to ask someone to work day in and day out for free while paying for an evangelist. And a gross misunderstanding of the daily life of their congregants. Who wants to pay for that? Nice post! I often wonder why this should even be a subject of discussion and same people will never ever even imagine their lives as a pastor or even working for free. Where in the world do people work for free? How do you expect a pastor to concentrate and be in full time ministry if his financial needs are not meant?

A pastor who spends his whole day at work comes back tired and hardly able to have time to study the word of God what would you expect from him and some wonder why they are seeing less manifestations in the Church like they should. Please explain. You can minister to people anywhere you go. I realize that a lot of pastors have families, but they should be able and willing to make some sacrifices like making their children understand that they need to share certain things, and that some things will be handed down when the older child outgrows it.

Rainer, My husband is blessed to serve to serve as Associate Pastor in a church that manages its money very well. We have been here three years and each year, they have given him a raise, without us asking for one. The past two years they have also given the Senior Pastor a raise. This year at our annual business meeting, one of our church members was concerned because the pastor was not getting a raise.

Discussion ensued and revealed that the pastor had requested that he not get a raise, feeling that he did not need one. I appreciate the article you have written here and I am thankful that our church already follows these guidelines. We should pray that churches will realize just how much their pastors do for them, and compensate them accordingly. I pastor 2 churches and my salary is less than my custodians. I have been here 2 years and have not had one however, I do get bugged by one of the committees to take a vacation as long as it is not over a weekend. I was told by finance that they want me to account for 20 hours a week.

So far the least I have recorded is I told them I was fine. Then they told me that they are increasing the pay package for both the custodian and secretary. I know what the churches budget is and know that they are struggling at times. And as an after thought, I make less then any member of either of my congregations. Am I happy where I am? Do I love and appreciate the congregants? Will I keep doing it? Yes, as long as I am able. From your comments you seem unhappy with the fact that you are making less than the custodians, but you are communicating to the church that you are doing fine financially.

I would encourage you to be more straightforward in communicating with whoever is responsible for the budget of your church.

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If things are fine, then there is no reason to complain on a blog. Rainer, A powerful blog statement. Thank you for all you do. After 30 years of serving in the pastorate I understand only too well all you are stating. Again, thank you. Rainer, thank you for this timely article. I am a staff member at a church that called two new full-time staff members two weeks apart, increasing the total number of FT staff members from 1 to 3 including the senior pastor. The church knew that this would require a significant increase in giving. Eighteen months later, the giving has increased slightly, but not nearly enough to meet the needs of the additional salary and pay packages, without signficantly reducing the budgets of most of our ministries, including CP giving.

The stewardship committee is willing to cut whatever it takes in order to avoid reducing our salaries, but I am struggling with the fact that most of the ministries will lose signficant funds just to pay my salary. I am praying about what I should do about this situation, and your article was personally very helpful to me. Thank you for your ministry! Pastors generally have no problem at all paying staff at less than standard rates. I have seen secretaries, christian school teachers, custodians, given verbal praise from the pulpit, but know that the pastor never advocated a pay increase when he met with the board.

The worst I ever encountered was a pastor that had a part time secretary. She did so until…. It was advised by the pastor to turn down the request because the church could not afford it. The pastor replied oh, that was budgeted in at the beginning of the year. Does it surprise anyone that the family left the church within a year of that time. Pastors are there worst enemies. My husband has seen first hand what a wonderful secretary can do for a church and how a poor secretary can kill a church.

He never misses and opportunity to praise his secretary both privately and publicly, including advocating for her salary. You may need to re adjust your priorities. It should be noted that while Paul told Timothy that Elders deserved compensation, Paul himself was bi-vocational. There is little reason that Pastors cannot share enough of their responsibility with other Elders in order to work.

Indeed in this way Pastors would be even more able to relate to their congregation. As it is, we have made the Pastor the CEO of a body of believers.


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I think this indicates that bi-vocationality is not to be a default expectation of pastors. And of course, Paul apparently was also single during his ministry outlined in Acts and the Epistles. If a pastor is married with children, the pastor is already the equivalent of being bi-vocational, at least. It is possible that those verses are taken out of context. Is it about compensation? Listen to the following verses,.

And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge. I am compelled by God to do it. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. I think more is going on than a simple argument for pastors making their income through the church. The examples in the New Testament are way to diverse to pin it down to that. Author, while much of what your saying is true we cannot deny the kingdom principles that are being used as illustration by paul in this text.

He had every right to part take of the proceeds of the gospel. However you and I dont have the same assignment as Paul so those rights we do not have to give up. Jesus was taken care of by those he ministerd to Luke , 1 tim say pay the teachers double honor which 2 times the highest prevailing wage. Jesus told his disciples not take their wallets because their needs should be met by those they ministered too.

I know I have ministered and refused payment because the holy spirit prompted me not to take it. Other times where I gladly received. And sometimes where I was flat out robbed. Paul called what he was doing for the church at Corinth robbery. Let not get Pauls speceific assignment confused with Kingdom principles. Rainer, I am curious for a little clarification on 2.

It was asked what income I brought to the family which at the time was none. I was staying home with 3 elementary aged sons. I just have never truly understood the thought process behind that question, but it was definitely used as a basis for his salary. The church should pay the pastor fairly without delving into personal matters of his family.

Your income should have no bearing on his salary. Thank you, Dr. As painful as it was, we decided the best course of action was for me to take a part time job to supplement his income. I want to respond with care and compassion always. After my wife and I had our second child, we decided she would not go back to work. They consulted with the Finance Committee, who said it was feasible. Three months later, when we accepted a call to another church, we still had no answer from the Church Council. That was their choice. Rainer, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Most pastors relate well to your situation.

Unfortunately, my own experience has proven that churches get by for as little as they can. This situation will never change. I urge all pastoral candidates to think this through with their spouse before committing to full time ministry. YOU, not the church, are responsible for taking care of your family. The ultimate responsibility rests with you. What solutions are in your control? Remember: part-time pastoring pays better than full-time, especially if you have a decent pay package with your secular employer.

The ministry may not be as good…but then again, maybe the church relies too much on you as a full-time minister. I was better able to financially protect my family as a part-time pastor than a full-time pastor. Hope this helps. There was—as is always the case—much more going on than I was able to or needed to share. I was seriously considering going bi-vo, which is what I would have done if the Lord had not chosen to move us. In the end, it all worked out for the best. Brother, I totally appreciate your situation. As a youth pastor, things worked out just fine for my wife and I before we had our first child.

My wife became a stay at home mom, which is what we feel is best for our family and our goals as parents. I worked full time at the church and also worked part time. The extra work helped, but we were not able to afford medical insurance which was very difficult since childbearing plays quite a number on a woman , and ultimately we were facing financial ruin if we stayed where we were at.

I chose to find a new position because my church was either unwilling or unable depends on which lay person you ask-but most of them have no real idea why I left to give me the raise I requested. I have no hard feelings toward the church, I love them all dearly, but it was a painful decision to make and I totally understand the burden you felt. Ministry is not for the weak at heart. Blessings, DK. Before becoming a pastor I worked in the public and private sectors for 25 years. It was not at all uncommon for people to leave positions to earn more money elsewhere.

Yet, we have made this topic something pastors dare not say. So, virtually no pastors ever acknowledge that one of the reasons they are going to another church is that they pay better. I recognize that this is a difficult subject to deal with, but when most of the congregation has no idea why a pastor is leaving how can we expect them to make appropriate changes?

David, Yeah, I agree, if I felt that I could have been more open about things I might have avoided having to leave. I went back to that church not too long ago for a youth conference. Some folks were glad to see me. Others are angry with me. They are angry, in part, I believe, because they have no idea what staying there would have meant to my family.

They all loved my wife, my son and me, and I would like to believe that they would not have been comfortable with her enduring hardship which she did because we could not afford medical insurance. I also think that if they understood that we could not have any more children because we could not afford insurance that they would have understood. They would then not be angry with me, simply said that I had to leave. In that we could be unified. But, I am struggling a little with this issue. I agree that a pastors personal finances should never be overly scrutinized or made public. Or lets say the pastor has a child with medical issues that requires more than average medical costs.

Also, I know a pastor who is in the following situation: Him and his wife will be inheriting a lot of money from her parents.

So, he has insisted that they not put money into a retirement account for him like they do the rest of the pastors, since their retirement will be more than covered by her inheritance. The church has graciously complied. Is that not biblical? The extra cost of doing this should be included in the budget. It is great when a pastor who is either already well off financially, or sure that he will be, chooses to take less money from the congregation i.

Yet, I still think that this is decision that a pastor should make and not one the church should impose on the pastor and his family. When I have counseled pastors in this situation I have encouraged them to take their salary and to just give it back to the church or to other ministries.

The downside to the pastor taking less than a full salary is that it sets a false benchmark for pastoral compensation. If a pastor has unusual financial needs, I would suggest that this should be handled by the Deacons like they would handle any other family in the congregation. This presupposes that the congregation is already compensating the pastor at the same level as people with similar education and work experience in the congregation are making.

It is right that pastors face the same financial struggles and the same support from the body of Christ as anyone else in the church. On the other hand, if the pastor cannot pay for basic dental care for his son or daughter it would be a good opportunity to evaluate whether or not the pastor is being paid the same as other members of the congregation who have similar levels of education and work experience.

Thank you for that. How many other jobs can a person have where they want to know what the spouse makes? For that matter, how many other jobs are there where the spouse in interviewed right along with the prospective employee? I did not notice any comment concerning a pastors tax situation. How he is both employed and self employed for social security. It does come with some perks but the full ss tax can be a killer.

Most do not know this. Including those preparing ministers taxes. He opted out of social security-his choice. We hired him part time for that is all we could afford we have less than members, mostly retired elderly. The thought was he would have time to work as the contractor he said he was. Any advise. I suggest reaching out to whatever next level leadership you have, whether an associational missionary, or state convention representative for help.

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This guy sounds like he wants full time pay for half time work…. Thank you for the reply Mark. He does not have kids at home, he is good at working the system. I will recommend your advise to our council. Thank You. Drop him. Besides, why is ONE person making all the decisions here?

If it needs to be delegated, the church needs to step in and do it anyway. The church was never intended for any one man to rule. The tax situation is insane. He or she is not grabbing a portion of the plate collection; he or she is completely dependent on the church for a paycheck. New life options create opportunities for more decision-making. Although young adults with disabilities may become more independent during this time, the support and encouragement of others remains crucial for success. ICI asked these families about their plans for the future and how others may have influenced their decisions.

In addition, both students and their parents were asked to tell ICI about important decisions they have made as a family, and who they depend on when there is a problem and support may be needed. Many of the students and parents who participated in ICI's study described how they used and depended upon their personal networks both formal and informal to figure out what they need and want, and help them discover, reach for, and achieve their personal goals. In addition, these personal networks helped to develop self-determination in the young adult. The three stories that follow illustrate ways that students used personal networks to help them achieve their goals, and sometimes, how they could be better used to make their goals a reality.

These examples also illustrate how personal network members helped to develop self-determination. The stories that follow are based on conversations with the students and their parents. Please note that names have been changed to protect their privacy. People who have self-determination know what they want and how to get it. They know a lot about themselves and have a clear vision for the future. Self-determined people can make decisions for themselves, and know what they have to do to achieve their goals.

They feel independent and in control of their life plans. A self-determined person does not need to know all the answers, but they know that there are a variety of options in life that are available for them. They understand their own strengths and weaknesses, try to solve problems, and make their own choices. Self-determination is related to self-esteem and confidence because in order to pursue your goals, you need to feel that you can do it! In addition, self-determined people know how to find help when they need it. This help usually comes from their personal network.

A personal network is basically everyone that a person knows. This includes both formal and informal network members. Formal network members are professionals such as school counselors or teachers. Informal network members are people close to you, like your friends, family members, and others you may have met in social organizations, sports teams, religious organizations, or even in your neighborhood.

Personal networks can guide the self-determined person as they solve problems and support them when important decisions are made. People from the personal network help teach new skills as goals are achieved. The self-determined person learns to plan and coordinate their lives with help from these important people.

Members from the personal network provide more and more opportunities for the self-determined individual to make decisions and learn new skills on their own. Heather, a recent high school graduate with physical and special health care needs, expected to have a full-time job, live with her boyfriend, and someday have kids of her own.

I want to work for my money. Despite her mother's concerns, Heather was determined to go forward. Throughout high school, Heather's personal network exposed her to a variety of employment opportunities. When she was looking for a summer job, a family friend who worked in landscaping helped her find a job in the business. In addition, her brother introduced her to the auto body field by letting her work on his car.

This led Heather to take classes in auto body at school to gain more experience. These experiences gave Heather the knowledge to develop work and career goals. Heather gathered the support she needed from her boyfriend and brother who went with her as she collected job applications, helped her fill them out, and provided encouragement.

Heather's brother advocated on her behalf to their mother. She set up an appointment with a VR counselor on her own. All these activities led her to find a job in a field that matched her interests. Shantelle, a recent high school graduate with a psychiatric disability, worked part-time while living at home. A large, dependable network of both formal and informal network members helped support her as she developed her goals.

This included a close friend, teachers, a therapist, and a neighbor who employed her as a babysitter. Shantelle talked to a close friend and teachers about her decisions for a career, and a therapist about more personal problems. Most importantly, Shantelle has had great support from her mother. They agreed in their hopes and goals for her future.

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