“There is too much month left at the end of my pay packet.”


Pastors pay and salaries has always been an emotive issue.
In the past, this most contentious of subjects has pitted congregations and
church boards against clergy and preachers. The war cry was “God you keep him
humble and we will keep him poor.”
Last week, when talking to a group of young pastors this
question of salary and pay came up. Questions such as How much am I worth? Is
it right for me to ask for a pay increase?
Firstly, let me say that for many, times have changed. The
average pay for pastors in the UK is £25000 per annum and in the USA the
average is about $46000. Secondly, let us also remember that when looking at
the issue of payment, church boards have to remember that the pastor or church
leader sends his children to the same schools, his wife shops at the same shops
and goes to the same doctors as the rest of us. There is always a cost to that,
and pastor’s fork out the same amount of money for things like car insurance
and food bills as the rest of us. Paying them poorly does not help.
As a rule, to determine worth, as starting point, I suggest
that the average wage of the church congregation is calculated, add 10% in
order to encourage generosity on the part of the new pastor, and use this as a
starting point for determining a salary.  Obviously, there are other factors such as
housing that may come into a calculation but for me that is another
conversation.
For a pastor coming from another congregation to a well-established
church, things like experience, church size, education and location need to be
taken into consideration.
In regards to the second question asked, on asking for a
raise. I don’t think this is wrong. Building a relationship with the church
board is essential, building those relationships is important. Like other
organisations, boards will look for results, have there been a successful
restructure? Has there been growth in the church? When success in whatever form
is seen, and relationship is built, then reward always follow. If it doesn’t
then maybe you are in the wrong job.

Food for thought.

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