Key Findings on Pastoral Salaries

In this week’s Ministry Briefing, a look at pastoral salaries:

Thom Rainer recently evaluated the 2017 Church Compensation handbook and found that salaries are ranked in the following order: pastor, executive pastor, and worship/music leader. Youth pastors are not paid more depending on the size and finances of the church, but senior pastors/lead pastors are. Two thirds of pastors have health insurance but only half of pastors received a raise in the past year.

Source: Thom Rainer

Why does this matter for church leaders?

The effectiveness of church leaders often hinges on whether their salary packages alleviate the financial stress that can prove a burden for their mental health. While Rainer’s summary of the handbook has several encourages points, here are several key challenges each church should consider:

  • Are staff salaries trending in the wrong direction? Half of pastors did not receive a raise, which means that churches aren’t forecasting an increase in giving in order to keep up with the personal expenses that pastors will face. Are there areas to trim back in order to guarantee at least a minimal raise for pastoral staff?
  • Are youth pastors underpaid? Youth pastor salaries did not increase based on church size, indicating the youth pastors with large ministry responsibilities may be under-valued and under-paid for a position that can be particularly difficult and stressful.
  • Does your staff have adequate health care? Health care is a major expense for families who do not have adequate insurance coverage, and one third of pastors are not offered health insurance. How can your church mitigate some of the risks these pastors are dealing with?

How does YOUR church measure up to Rainer’s analysis… is it time to schedule a meeting with your finance team?

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About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through MinistryBriefing.com and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.