money, payday, cash, paycheck, wallet

Spurred on by a comment on my last column (the pastor and the secular job) concerning the salaries of pastors, I am curious what the smart and worthy readers of think about the contemporary state of the income of full-time pastors.

It seems to me that coming up with a “proper” salary for pastors is a difficult task.

At one church that I’ve ministered at they use a book that’s published annually.  This book breaks down salary averages according to North American regions, the pastor’s official title (i.e. lead pastor, executive pastor, youth pastor, etc), church size, experience and education of the minister, and his or her length of time at their position.

Is this business approach the right model?

In my undergraduate program, my teacher, the late Andrew Freeborn, suggested that the pastor’s salary should be in the medium income range of the congregation.  In this way, the pastor will be able to relate with the financially wealthy and the financially challended.  I assume this would indicate that someone who pastors a church in a wealthy area (i.e. Silicon Valley) will make a lot of money, while the pastor in a poor community will struggle with the rest of the parish.

Is this approach best?

Some might suggest that the pastor’s needs should be covered.  However, the word “need” is so subjective these days.  Does a pastor “need” paid-television-programming, a mobile phone, a company car, an allotment for his or her wardrobe, etc.? – Perhaps so or perhaps not.

So I ask for help.

I ask out of curiosity.

How should a pastor’s salary be determined?

Should the size of the church determine the salary of a pastor?

How have you determined the pastor’s salary at your church?

If you led the committee at your church, then how would you determine the salary of your pastor?

the pastor’s salary

by Mark Lafler time to read: 2 min