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September 16, 2007


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My husband was a pastor for 4 years and got paid very little and was expected to work long hours. We didn't go hungry, but we didn't have any excess at all either. One thing you also have to take into consideration that the church often does not pay any kind of benefits. We received no retirement and no health care. Pastors are also often categorized as "self-employed" which means they have to pay the full 15.8% self-employment tax. You do receive a tax cut on a housing allowance, but since you're making such a small amount you can't fully maximize this benefit.

All-in-all, it was a very stressful job with bad pay. We were often treated poorly. The only benefits were some of the lives we saw changed and the education in self-discipline in budgeting our small salary (yes our entertainment budget was $7 per month).

We eventually left the ministry because of the stress (was causing health problems for both of us) and started our own business. We can still make a difference in peoples lives without people telling us how to do it. And our entertainment budget can get us a full meal out now!

In the UK, I think most ministers linked to major denominations get the same sort of salaries, about £16K-£22K ($32K-$44K) plus housing and benefits. I think the average salary is £25K-ish so ministers are paid about average once you include the value of their housing.

I think average salary is about right.

I tend to trust Jesus's own words on this issue rather than discuss each others' opinions on the matter:

Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24. Similar verses are in Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25).

I'd rather have a pastor that is probably going to heaven than one who most likely is not.

Well, I feel bad about Susy's situation - I think that is a shame that a lack of compensation played such a large part in their leaving the ministry. I think we would all agree that the pharisees were an example of what NOT to do - with their greed, lust for status, and pompousness. But I think our pastors should be well compensated for what they do.

If we think about it in terms of what they are offering - they are looking out for our spiritual well being, they should be training and instructing us in the way of righteousness. Most people would agree that teachers in the U.S. do not get paid well enough for what they do, how much more should we feel the same way about our pastors?

Personally, I do not want my pastor to be concerned about money. I want all of his needs to be met (phil 4:19) and I want him to focus his time on hearing from God and developing great messages and sermons to strengthen the congregation rather than looking for a second job so he can feed his family.

I do not have an actual dollar amount in mind, since it would depend on the area and the cost of living.

If God places a person as pastor in a church, I don't believe that the amount of compensation is part of the equation. However, the church has the responsibility to provide an adequate salary (and benefits) to provide for the pastors needs. I don't believe that God is interested if we have the nicest house, car, clothes, boat, or vacation. If your pastor is interested in these things, I'd be questioning his or her calling. For that matter, if this is what interests you, I'd look at my relationship with God.

This is one thing I like about Mormons. They have NO PAID this discussion gets eliminated. This also forces average members to participate more in the activities of their church. It also means tithes can go toward other things besides salaries.

I am sorry, but lately I see more topics directed at religion and/or God. If you would like to discuss about God/Religion/Pastors, maybe you should change the title of the blog that would be appropriate to such discussions.


RV --

Maybe you're not paying attention. I've written on this topic -- the Bible and money -- for over a year and a half now once a week -- EVERY SUNDAY. And since this is my personl blog, I can write about whatever I like. ;-)


I believe pastors, evangelist, prophets and etc. that bring the word of God should be richly compensated. Especially a pastor of a church. His/her needs and wants should be taken care of. I wouldn't want my pastor talking about being blessed and driving an old car or wearing old suits. If he's feeding us we should feed him

I agree with mysticaltyger, it always struck me as a conflict of interest when the pastor's pay depends on what he's preaching. Having a church supported by its congregation's efforts and not just their wallets sounds like a good way to go.

And FMF, keep up the Sunday Bible/Money combo, it's one of my favorite parts of this blog!

Susan- Jesus was speaking specifically to that young rich man's situation. The amount of $ he had wasn't a problem (we assume it was not ill gotten), his attitude about it was. A man who only has $10 to his name is just as likely to not enter heaven if his attitude about it is wrong. Jesus had interactions with several other wealthy men (Nicodemus comes to mind) in the Gospels but he does not explicitly tell them they must give up their wealth so we can not assume that Jesus was speaking universally about any and all forms of wealth.

I can understand the philosophical reasons to pay a pastor about what the congregation makes, on average. It's a tough area, IMO.

Televangelists squandering millions spring to mind. And so do pastors who are barely living above the poverty line. I think it's not wrong for a pastor to earn enough to live on.

Ideally, the ministry within the church would be carried out by all members of the church. Several people who were called to preach would preach, others visit the sick, whatnot, and nobody be paid. That's my ideal, at least. I've been in churches where the preacher wasn't good at the other stuff and the church suffered.

But outside ideals, I don't know.

A pastor has to be an organizer, an educator, a minister, a counselor, a speaker, a teacher, a mediator - not to mention that in many small churches he must - turn on the lights, turn off the lights, set up the chairs, teach most classes, type out the bulletin, visit the sick, officiate weddings, minister to the needy, preach funerals - and is expected to attend high school events, be involved in the community, wear "preacher clothes", always have a smile, work with the youth, care for the children, listen to the needs of the congregation, pray daily - a pastor should be compensated for the thousands of things he/she does during the month. My dad is a pastor - and it is the most difficult job, bar none, on the face of the planet. Imagine a life where everyone, Christian or not, examines your every move, looking for help, hope, hypocrisy, failure, success, pride, envy, greed, emotionalism, fanaticism, false teaching, laziness, stress, anger, joy, happiness - a few pastors are overcompensated and they take advantage of their congregations. MOST are under compensated and under appreciated. The fact is, a pastor should make a decent salary, one comparable with an educator, a professional, or other life profession. Unless a minster has taken a vow of poverty, he should be compensated on par with the other educated, intelligent, hard working memebers of his congregation

As for the "rich man eye of the needle"... That might be the silliest interpretation of scripture in the history of Christendom... the story there was of a rich young ruler, who was in love with his money, and sacrificed his eternal soul at the altar of wealth...

a pastor who gets paid a middle class salary is not "rich".. he's a responsible person, taking care of his family..

Any church that can, but fails, to adequately meet the financial needs of its pastor does not deserve the label of "church"... it's just a collection of selfish people who are sucking the lifeblood out of a man or woman who has dedicated the whole of their lives to Christ...

Emphatic enough? Pay your pastor.......! ESPECIALLY IF HE / SHE HAS KIDS!!! do you have ANY idea of the pressure of being a pastor's kid? and to be broke on top of that?

I think pastors should be paid roughly the same salary as the average member of his church. If the pastor is paid too little, he probably would need to focus on financial matters to keep his family going too much rather than the needs of the congregation. Of course, if the pastor is paid too much, it would cause resentment among church members. When a pastor becomes really famous and has multiple streams of income related to his ministry (e.g. books, cds), then I think it's up to the pastor to decide how much money is enough and whether he should take a lower salary in order to allow the church to minister to those in need.

Great topic!! We love our pastor and his family. They receive an income that would be the average of our membership. In addition to a book allowance they receive health, life and retirement account. Unlike my father in law who at 85 is still the senior visitation pastor at his church. It is a ministry and an income.


Sure, it is your personal blog and you have every right to write/discuss whatever you want. I have only been visiting your blog recently and I didn't know you have been writing about God or God related topics every Sunday.

Your blog does provide excellent information about personal finances. Kudos for that. But at the same time, there may be regular visitors like myself who might get turned off due to discussions involving God.

Anyways, I expressed my opinion and I am sure you will do what's right for you and your blog.


very interesting I should come upon this thread as I am sitting here with a survey sheet from our church. We are just about to go through the call process and the congregation has been asked to outline what the compensation package should look like for our new pastor. The previous pastor was paid $100K and had housing $ and perks (insurance, etc.). It seemed like he was off fishing in Canada, vacationing in Florida, taking the grandkids to Disney or cruising with his wife more than he was pastoring. Maybe that's why he's no longer there... HA HA. Anyway, I grew very resentful of having a sub pastor many weeks. It was hard to see the leader of our church vacationing more in 1 year than most of our congregation could do in a few years. My point being that I'm thinking that a pastor position should start at $65k and have a traditional benefits package. I also think that raises should be given upon yearly review. What do you think? Am I off base? Our congragation is small.. 200 families. Middle class. Average family income $50 - $60K. Lots of families and small kids.

Thanks for the blog.

I have to address the camel going through the eye of a needle. This is one of the most misinterpreted verses because no one researches the context of the day. The eye of the needle was a gate in the wall of a city. It was made with the intention of only letting humans and some small livestock through,but mostly humans. It would be very difficult to get any large livestock (like a camel) through this gate. It would not be impossible.

As far as pastors salaries go I think starting salaries should be based on the average for the area of the country a pastor lives in. I also think that pastors who grow their churches through conversions should be rewarded financially for fulfilling their calling.

I too think that it depends greatly on the cost of living for the area. There are pastors who oversee mega churches with 20,000+ members in very large (read: expensive) cities. There are other "pastors" who show up and rant on Sundays to congregations of 20 in rural America. I have been members of both types of churces. The compensation is not and should not even be comparable.

But congregation size isn't the only factor: the budget of the church and the amount of donations brought in is a primary factor. If a church is only bringing in $20K a year, regardless of size, you can't very well pay the pastor at all after utlities and expenses are met. You'd have to "hire" a non-professional preacher to teach on Sundays for no pay.

There are so many different types of churches, and different ministers in different denominations have vastly different responsibilities and education levels. All these things should affect pay.

The senior pastor is essentially the CEO of the church - there should be some sort of lay member council that acts as the board of directors that the pastor answers to. Put in this context, the snr pastor at a large church should be paid more than at a small church -- it's a much larger job. I'm a member at a mainline denomination (Lutheran). The national org (ELCA) has compensation guidelines for all levels of staffing at a congregation.

There has been a huge shift over my lifetime where a pastor could expect lower salary due to housing "perks" (parsonage)to where they are now treated like any other worker and so must pay for housing, retirement, medical etc.

This has made staffing costs increase much higher than the rate of inflation (mostly due to medical costs - could some group politicians finally get a conscience and fix this issue?). This puts any church under a certain size (~700 or so) with a looming financial crisis (staff costs increasing faster than donations) unless in possession of a sizable endowment.


Yes, I've heard this interpretation as well that the eye of the needle was a passage, that is why I used the words, "likely not" going to heaven versus just saying "not" going to heaven.


I tend to think that when Jesus says something in the Bible, it did not only refer to the actual person in the Bible, but it was meant to apply to all of us. Let's not be cafeteria Christians here.

RV --

Many regular readers who may be "turned off due to discussions involving God" simply avoid my Sunday posts. You may want to do the same. Heaven knows, there are plenty of posts during the week to keep you occupied. :-)


I LOVE the spiritual aspects of FMF. I'm with you. It's YOUR blog and this is America. Write about whatever you want. Personally, I think you have a duty to have the blog reflect YOUR viewpoints. If it makes some uncomfortable, there are other blogs out there. Additionally, you might atttract MORE visitors that are interested in the connection between the financial and the spiritual (see Matthew 6:21).

As for the compensation levels, I think a pastor should be paid very well. His position is equivalent to that of a CEO. Additionally, he tends to work long hours supporting the "sheep" (i.e. congregation).

Additionally, I believe there is a biblical mandate for this position. 1 Timothy 5:17-18 says "17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”

How much honor are we paying a servant of God if he is "just getting by" or average? Is this "double honor?" "Double" implies to a greater extent than average.

Don't muzzle the ox. The ox was an old testament servant animal. The verse is in reference to the practice of placing a muzzle the ox as it was working the fields so it wouldn't eat the grain. Paul (writer of the verse) is saying that this principle applies to all workers. They should not be restricted in meeting their needs.

Another aspect of ministerial compensation is the effect on OUR attitudes as a congregation. I've already referenced Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If we're stingy about paying God's people, doesn't that reveal that our heart is not really into God's work? Also, what message are we sending to others?

As for the "resulting" attitude that accompanies a higher level of compensation, there is a flip side to that equation. Wouldn't a well-compensated pastor be more appreciative of the value placed on his work? Conversely, a poorly-compensated pastor may be less motivated to tend an ungrateful congregation (as evidenced by the lack of value they place on the shepherd of their souls).

Would more money corrupt YOU? Don't place a financial burden on a pastor without examining yourself. If you think money automatically corrupts, then what are you doing reading FMF?

The only real discussion in the Bible about paid positions in the church in 1 Timothy: 17-18,

"The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages.""

Being a minister, I have no desire to get rich off the church but would like for congregation leaders and members to understand that their staff needs them to take care of them financially.

-Know what the average house or apartment in you city goes for.
-Know what health care is going to cost them.
-Add a little in there that goes directly towards retirement.
-Pay them so they can live in your area.
-Don't treat them they way you boss treats you.
-Take into consideration how many kids they have.

Make sure they are taken care of so they can focus on the work that needs to be done.

I feel that Pastors should have at least a separate part time job to help support his family. Too many churches spend their donations on large extravagant buildings and large salaries in order to attract magnetic personalities who might in turn grow the church. Worship is supposed to be a humble calling and take the form of love between the people in a community. A churches primary objective should be to share Gods love with those in the community it serves, not find ways to bilk dollars out of its congregation. Extra money should be put towards helping those in need. I find it so odd that people would want to belong to a church that would rather allow its pastor to take vacations around the world than feed the hungry, provide medicine to the sick, or shelter the homeless. How devoted to his congregation is the minister of a mega church who tells the people that their "investment" will be returned to them 10 fold, while he "invests" the churches money in boat. These people do not serve god. They serve themselves, and lead their congregations to do the same.

Thank you for posting this. I am not sure what compensation is correct for a pastor. What I am sure of though is that a lot of these people make very little money, like a rural pastor for instance, and have very little in terms of retirement options despite spending a lifetime helping people; most often sacrificing precious time with their own family for the greater benefit of the community. Also, for many pastors, opting out of paying ss is that little bit extra each month to keep afloat, so ss parachute is not an option either.

If you could I would like to hear what options this type of person would have for retirement.

I don't believe the New Testament sets out a standard for having full-time paid clergy. In NT times, the "priesthood of the believer" meant there wasn't a lot of room for paid priests. Ideally, we should move in the same way -- every individual should be involved in ministry, and nobody should be paid to run the show.

But, of course, in the present day we do have people who are paid for full-time ministry, and we should pay them fairly. A good rule of thumb is that they should make somewhere near the average of what families in the church make. If the church isn't large enough to support such a salary, then they should hire only a part-time pastor. If the church is so large that they can pay many times that, they may want to hire multiple pastors -- or hire one pastor, and set up a ministry for the homeless with the excess.


As for the "needle's eye gate", there is no such place in Jerusalem. The idea of Jesus' saying referring to a gate in Jerusalem seems to have arisen between the 9th and 11th centuries.

simple....for a midsize church or larger church it should be based on the median wage for a family in the immediate area. If you live in an area where $120k is the median family income then thats what the pay should be...conversely if its a poor area with a median of $30k then pay them that. One should expect their pastor to live very close to the church and not to be commuting in from an entirely different community to lead in their community. There should also be a 401k program or pension and medical benefits just like any other small business. If it is a smaller church then they need a part-time pastor/minister. That is of course an ideal model and would be skewed

I personally haven't seen a moderately well-run church ever hurting for fact I am constantly shocked at the amount of money they have and that pastor pay is even a topic of discussion. Let alone funds to pay people that I thought should be volunteers and $250k-$1million expansions

Unfortunately evangelists like Pat Robertson and the Christian Broadcast Network have turned it into a business and anyone that has contributed money to them would be ashamed to see how the leaders live extravagantly.

I don't know where people get the mentality that the pastor's salary must be set with some formula based on the income of the congregants (same as the lower one's, average of all, median salary, etc). First of all, that information simply isn't made available, so there is no reasonable way to make the calculation. And no, you can't use the tithes people pay to calculate what they make, because only a small percentage pay tithe. There simply is not a more absurd, poorly thought out theory of pastoral compensation formulas based on speculated incomes of congregational donors.
The IRS has set limitations some on what the president of non-profit organizations should make, the issue being further clarified as a result of the whole Jim Bakker debacle in which he was compensated far beyond what was considered reasonable. As a result of the court rulings in that case, the IRS seemed to suggest that no matter how many millions some ministry may generate, compensation for the president should not exceed $250,000 per year. Most churches have budgets that don't come anywhere close to that, but fair compensation is, and always should, be based on two criteria: the church's ability to compensate (the budget) and the pastor's experience and effectiveness. Most pastors will be willing to work for less than they could make elsewhere if they know the church is doing the best they can. But try to make a pastor labor under conditions where they are purposely being denied decent compensation, even though the church can afford it, will destroy the pastor. The pastor gives his very best. Why should the church excuse themselves from doing the same thing?

I think a good rule of thumb is how much do you like to be compensated for your work. Would you like to get bay making the bare minimum. So often people want to pay the minister a small salary and think he/she shouldn't make much, but meanwhile they complain that their company isn't paying them enough.

As a pastor, being a minister is his job. He most likely had to attend a private religious college to get a degree to do his job. Being a minister doesn't just entail church work. Often ministers are on call 24/7, church members call at all hours with all kinds if problems. So if you use the "he should make medium income of church members" it should perhaps be a Dr in the church. Also minister should have benefits, often the church gives the minister "medium salary" but doesn't include benefits like health care & retirement in that amount. They also don't figure that they should pay the minister an extra 7.9% to cover his self-employment taxes.

When my husband started in the ministry he was paid "an average teachers starting salary" of $24000 per year. But he didn't receive teachers benefits (or the summer off). We had to pay our own health insurance at $400 per month, and self-employment tax that ended up being like $3500 that year on top of income tax. Needless to say it was hard to make ends meet. It also wasn't a really cheap area to live in. We had to live 20 min from church to be able to find an apt for $550 a month. All that and no pension and they wouldn't reimburse any miles drive for church trips or supplies.

On top of that the senior minister left and my husband was expected to fill in for his job as well with no additional compensation for extra hours or preaching.

Needless to say, we didn't last long at that church.

A pastor should be paid "average" or more - IF the church can afford it. Benefits are also important. Pastors are people too - they have families who need medical care, they want to retire someday (although for some, "retirement" may be pastoring a smaller church for little or no compensation).

The pastor of our church makes more than "average" for our area in pay and benefits... but the church budget allows for this because we feel he is very good at what he does, and want him to feel valued and not have to worry about money. Our assistant pastor is paid significantly less - not because we value him less, but because he has less need for the money (has a pension from his earlier days as a sheriff in CA, his kids are grown).

Obviously, this needs to be within a church's ability to give. If all of a church's income needs to go to paying their pastor's salary/benefits, obviously the leadership should be asking how this could be scaled back so money could also be given for service and missions.

In the end, it must balance. The pastor should not be wasteful of the money he receives, knowing that he is simply a steward, but neither should the congregation force him to live like a pauper, showing that they do not value the difficulty of his job.


In response to your statement "When my husband started in the ministry he was paid "an average teachers starting salary" of $24000 per year. But he didn't receive teachers benefits (or the summer off).", this is a myth. Teachers are not "off" during the summer. Most coach, teach summer classes, plan lessons, go to conferences, or take continuing education credits in order to keep thier license. Teachers are "off" in the summer in the same way that pastors are "off" six days every week.


in your next Sunday religion post, why don't you address the issue that has been raised here several times already.. the "rich man eye of the needle" thing. To whom, exactly, it applies?

I guess this is one of the advantages of being Catholic...we don't have to worry about it, since our clergy don't HAVE wives and children to support, and are required to take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Which is not to say they don't have expenses that the Church pays for, but the quantity of funds available for such purposes isn't a function of the factors that affect compensation for employees.

"I don't know where people get the mentality that the pastor's salary must be set with some formula based on the income of the congregants (same as the lower one's, average of all, median salary, etc). First of all, that information simply isn't made available, so there is no reasonable way to make the calculation."

median/average/poverty level of a local area is fairly easily found through city data. They should be able to live in the same zip code as the congregants and thus be able to live comfortably but not extravagantly there with normal benefits. Using speculation of tithes and donations to figure incomes is absurd because different income levels give the church different sums based on a proportion of their incomes. The whole point is to reflect local economic conditions and to reflect increases in cost of living...both housing and benefit related. The military has been doing this for years. Use that as a starting point and adjust accordingly to reflect longetivity/education/seniority/effectiveness.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”. Here is my interpretation of this passage. This applies to everyone and it was what RebornintheValley said. The amount of money that we have is irrelevant. We are all meant to live abundantly. The problem arises when your love for money supersedes your love for God. Jesus is pointing out that it is easy for a person with lots of money to become attached to the money and therefore makes it hard to give that up for God. i.e. Love for God above all else. Of course this can happen for anyone with any amount of money.

Pastors salary - I also disagree with this having any relation to the salaries of the congregation. A pastor should be paid enough to live “comfortably”, based on the cost of living in that area. This should include enough for health care and savings (retirement). This person has made a commitment to serve and sacrifice for God. Therefore, living extravagantly is not acceptable. If you want a job with a big salary, then they should choose another calling (career). However, in order to take care of others you must take care of yourself first and they can’t be struggling financially every month and do those things successfully. Hence, “enough to live comfortably.”

I'm on the board of my church, and we are in search for a new pastor now, so we are looking at that very issue. We believe that we should pay our pastor a livable salary for the area, and we don't want him (or her) making less than the majority of the congregants that s/he serves. The services a pastor brings are invaluable, and it's a church's duty (IMHO) to pay a good wage for them, if the budget at all allows for it. It should be the 2nd line item, the 1st being the building itself.

If your church is the highest bidder, you will get a pastor who wants to go to the highest bidder.

If your church is far from the highest bidder, you will either get a less talented pastor who would like to make more money, or you will get a pastor who genuinely believes in values like humility and does not get swept up in materialism. If your vetting process is good, you can get the latter more often than the former.

Which appeals to you the most?

What about Luke 10 where it says "Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest... Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: FOR THE LABOURER IS WORTHY OF HIS HIRE."
And Paul gave his example of never taking a penny from any church.
Acts 20:33-35 - "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
But then each one of us is responsible to give, whether we are a person called by God to serve full-time in a church ministry or a person called by God to serve full-time at at another job of any other kind.
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 - But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:"
If we were all generous to God, pastors would be well paid and God would bless the givers.
My husband is a pastor, and we knew we were to be under a denomination to plant a church as God had called us to do. We had nothing, but if we had waited for the hiring process to be done before we started serving the Lord and evangelizing, we wouldn't have had the blessing of seeing several families come to Christ at the time we still weren't getting a salary. Yet our denomination saw we were serious about our call, and got things going.
Of course Americans can't understand this very well, but we who come from serving God in other countries know it is a real sacrifice, yet we NEVER lacked a thing because the God of the harvest is rich with those who love and serve him.
And yes, as a pastor's wife (who works very hard in my church, and doesn't get paid) we do deserve a good salary!!! Don't think because we are willing to sacrifice everything to God when he calls, that we don't hope for a good fair salary.

As a pastor's wife I see compensation in a broader spectrum than just want gets "paid".

Over all I think a pastor should get paid whether that be in benefits or actual pay about what the average person the congregation gets to the higher end of the scale.

I think that congregation can show the pastor how much they appreciate him in countless other ways. Come clean the house, mow the lawn/shovel snow, provide child care occasionally and such like. Those types of tangible acts really help the pastor and his family feel appreciated. And add up to way more than the "pay" might actually be.

Would really reduce the stress levels for the pastor too. :)

The pastor should be paid an amount of money that allows him to take care of himself and his family. The purpose of the tithe is to take care of pastors and staff of a church and also the upkeep of the building, we don't want our pastors worring about paying their rent or living, their purpose is to take care of the sheep. We are suppose to look out and care for one another, it's such a shame that we don't seem to do that for the clergy, we expect them to live next to poverty, conditions we wouldn't put on ourselves.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
How much would you expect to be paid for a 60 hour per week job that requires an advanced degree?
Pay your pastor that.

The pastor at my church makes less than the poverty limit. It is a small church with only 1 other paid employee, so he also serves as the secretary and janitor and must be present for all church activities. In addition to tithing, he also gives to people who ask for money out of his own pocket. While this is admirable, he would not be able to survive without his wife's salary. I think that a salary similar to that of a teacher would be appropriate. That is enough to live on, but not extravagant.

I am not denying that teachers work hard, but it is innacurate to say that they don't have the summer off. Many teachers I know only continue because of the summers. Those who do teach classes or coach are either paid or do it as a hobby.

I am the church secretary at a church and I was wondering if you had a topic on taking 'vacation'. I work full time + and I only make $30,000 a year with benefits. My take home is $22,000. I am single and get clobbered in taxes.
I am planning a trip to disney this year after not taking a full vaca for years and I am feeling guilty.
Maybe I am not stewarding this money in the correct way. Is it ok for me to go on a vacation. That's the question.

Elena --

Is it ok for you to take a vacation from what perspective? From taking time off from work? Absolutely!! From the perspective of whether or not it's wise to spend money on a big trip to Disney when you have such a small income? The wisdom of doing that may be a different answer (or it may not be -- depends on lots of other factors.) I can't offer a decent opinion based on what I know.

I have pastored a small church for more than a year now. Our median income for our area is 36000 per year. I took the position with no salary. The advisory board insisted I have a salary and it was set on a % bases. The first year I received less than 6000.00. At the end of the year, I had to pay taxes on this amount about 1000 to 2000 bucks. Which left me earning around 4 to 5 thousand for 12 months work. I am not complaining, this is what God has called me to do. I have a great growing congregation whose hearts desire is to support my family and I in the ministry. Many people think what does the pastor do at the church all day. Well of coarse there are the sermons that do not write themselves, the phone, the mail, the bulletins, the home visits, hospital visits, plans for every ministry in the church that must be approved or planned out, marriage counseling, teen counseling, court dates, graduation, birthdays, special family event, funerals, births, outreaches, bills that someone must pay, and the list goes on and on. Image all the people at the church you go to and then image having a best friend role in everyone of there lives treating each one of them the same - My job is around the clock, I have set at the hospital for 12 hours with members, I have spent Christmas with members who just lost their mom the day before and had no other family. The truth is it is an honor to be a pastor but their is more work that must be done than a pastor can do on their own. Additionally, people expect their pastors to look a certain way and to live a certain way. However, people do not always understand the importance of lining that expectation up with what the pastor gets paid. My husband works and provides a salary for our household. The salary i draw from the church provides for our living expenses. However, the only way i would take the salary was with the agreement that the church bills and needs must be taken care of first. I did not get into ministry for money. I could be making 20+ dollars an hour with my training and previous work history but have chosen ministry instead. I work harder now than I have ever worked in my life, but it is also the most rewarding work. Ministry isn't about money but the reality is that it takes money to live. Pastor who work secular jobs are at a great disadvantage.

Ok, how much should a pastor make? I beleive 30% to 50% of all tithes and offerings until it reaches the median income for that area or the church median income as long as the church, including outreach, is being taken care of. Then a base pay that is comparable to the median income - not an hourly wage or % pay from that piont on.

I've been pastoring for 35 years. I have a BA and a Masters degree. After 35 years of pastoring, all three of my childrens
starting salaries were more than mine after 35 years. My oldest is a mechanical engineer. He has only a bachelors degree, yet his starting salary exceeded his fathers who has been working for 35 years. My next son had a bachelors degree in Business Marketing. His starting salary (with a BA degree) exceeded his fathers Masters degree. My daughter has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and of course her starting salary exceeded her fathers. But although my salary is below that of all my three children, my Heavenly Father provides for me faithfully and wonderfully. It is a joy to serve Him!

Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:14

My husband is a pastor. After 2 years at this church we are looking to minister at another one. We can no longer afford to buy groceries on our credit card & the person who was bringing us food from the food bank, is no longer doing so. I found this blog while trying to find out what the average senior pastor's salary is in Canada, so we would know what was fair to expect as we interview with other churches. Haven't found a lot of help here. Haven't found much help anywhere.

Everyone is to be a minister in the church, so why do people think it is OK for them to make a decent wage, but the pastor is suppose to make due with their left overs??

Your pastor is speaking for Christ, if you don't think so then they should not be your pastor. How would you treat Christ, cheaply or lavish your love on Him like Mary and the nard. Do you remember what the traitor Judas said about the lavish love Mary showed with the perfume? "The money should have been spent on the poor" Jesus rebuked him. What ever you do to the least of these you do unto Me. I give and give to my pastors, with joy-cause I'm giving to the Lord. If you give like its yours then you are wrong, everything we have is His, I owe Him all, so I try to give my all. If the pastor is unworthy then the Lord will judge him as such, but I will be counted right before the Lord. Money is the thing most church people get wrong, they love it more than the Lord, like the rich young man. I really am happy to see people blessed, I want even my enemies to be blessed beyond measure. You really reap what you sow, always. It's a law of God. The Lord said "Treat others like you want to be treated" and "those who love Me obey My teachings and commands." It should be a love thing and not, NOT a money thing. God is Love so how well do you love the person God sent to Shepherd you.

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