Pastoral Compensation: Benefits are Decreasing

In this week’s Ministry Briefing more information on the trends behind pastoral compensation:

Only one eighth of pastors receive the benefit of a parsonage, and less than half of solo pastors receive any kind of health insurance. Among senior or lead pastors, only two-thirds receive health insurance benefits. However, some of those benefits are being cut. Among worship leaders, three quarters receive health insurance. Most full time church staff received no retirement benefits, including 44% of solo pastors and 64% of senior pastors.

Source: Thom Rainer

Why does this matter for church leaders?

Ministry leaders face significant stress from the feeling of always being on call, and the decline of benefits combined with flat salaries can add a significant burden on their personal lives.

  • Can pastors afford to live in your area? With the decline of parsonages or housing allowance each month, pastors could be in the lower income bracket for their communities based on salary alone. Review income and housing trends to make sure pastoral salaries are sustainable in your area.
  • Do you have a health insurance alternative? Healthcare in America remains very expensive and can prove financially devastating for a family that isn’t covered or doesn’t have an adequate plan. If you aren’t able to provide adequate health insurance for your staff, review ways to provide a safety net for your staff.
  • Financial management: Whether or not your church provides a retirement plan, are you helping your church staff plan for their future? Is it possible to add an annual meeting to discuss financial planning?

What are some ways to provide benefits beyond salary for YOUR church staff?

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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.