How much should we pay our Pastor? It’s a question that gets sent my way quite frequently. Unfortunately the question beneath the question is usually, “How little can we pay our staff to get them and keep them?” You’ve probably heard the old adage “Let the church keep the Pastor poor and God keep him humble.” There seems to be some general fear that if a pastor makes a good or comfortable livelihood that they will somehow be worse at their job. In taking a quick look at national numbers though you’ll see that few pastors are actually paid an unreasonably high salary. But what is reasonable?
When coming up with a salary for your pastoral staff, make sure you consider the size and location of the Church as well as the education and experience of the Staff Member. Other factors that come into play are longevity in the role and overall value to the Church. An overlooked concept that should factor into the salary is the “replacement cost.” If that staff member left, what would it cost to replace them? Another way to think about this is by considering the mean income of the congregants in your church or the mean income level of the board of the church. It would also be worth considering what the income level is like at a similar organization (size, operating budget, number of staff, assets, impact, non-profit) that offers similar services or is under similar circumstances.
Here are three resources that may help along the way:
1. Leadership Network: Large Church Salary Report
2. National Association of Church Business Administration: Ministry Pay Church Salary Survey
3. LifeWay: Southern Baptist Convention Compensation Study
Posted in Staffing