Pastors are paid what?!?

Salaries are best kept a “secret”. No one knows the amount of work and responsibilities that are required in order to make a salary. So when comparisons happen, it’s rare that Apples are compared to Apples.

Perception comes into play as well. And that’s when Pastor’s salaries come under scrutiny. How much should someone be paid when they’re in the “ministry”? The perception is, that a Pastor is underpaid and overworked.

Leadership Network has been tracking Salaries and Benefits of large churches (churches with attendances between 1,000 and 14,999) for almost a decade. And the highlights of this year’s results are (from 38 states and 4 CDN Provinces):

  • Salaries of Lead Pastors range from $400,000 to $40,000. Average? $147,000
  • Executive Pastors: $99,000 average
  • Worship Pastors: $75,000 average
  • 83% of these churches grew in attendance in the last year.
  • Only 10% reported no change in attendance. 7% saw a decrease.

Leadership Network is quick to say that this is not scientific (because of the sampling); so it’s not statistical accurate for all large churches; but it demonstrates trends.

What are your thoughts on these numbers? I think I’m shocked at how high the averages are. Especially when the Average Working American (age 25+) — With a MASTERS Degree (I figure most Pastors in the Pastor’s survey would have that) is only $52,390.

I’m all for paying our Pastors fairly, but perhaps we should rethink our salary structures if we’re paying them double to triple the (similar) average American wage. Or perhaps these Pastors represent exceptional, above average positions. And this is pouring our God’s Blessing on them. Thoughts?

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