I found this interesting article on a random blog, “The Worth of a Pastor” by ‘Crosstrainer’. I know the figures listed are in US dollars (also note that their pay scale is lower than ours in Canada) but I’m sure you can agree that this is pretty universal.

The Worth of a Pastor by Crosstrainer.

While I don’t believe I agree with many of the presuppositions of this article (ie, how can anyone measure personal worth-pastor or businessman?) The goal of pastor on Sunday morning is to motivate, or even the idea of placing a monetary value on the expression of ministry. There are also many “ministries” who are paying their leader a significant sum of money and I don’t view what they do as being in line with the scriptures) it is stimulating in that it attacks some long held views of the worth/salary of those who have been called to preach. I believe it implicitly asks the question, why, as Americans, we generally tend to only give 3-6% of our income to the church – statistically this is especially true of those making more than $150,000/yr. On the contrary, in my personal experience I find that I receive far more from the Lord than I deserve, and that the people we are most closely associated with tend to be amazingly generous on many fronts.

“What’s the fair market value of the services a pastor renders? How can you compare the pastorate to the business world? The varied responsibilities of pastoral ministry demand that the pastor be a versatile and time efficient professional. What other executive faces the pressures of research and multiple presentations every week, gives administrative leadership to a complex organization, makes personal visits to care for the spiritual well – being of members, enlists the unchurched and is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week? A company would have to hire three or four people to fill the corporate positions corresponding to the pastor’s job description!

In order to put some objective valuation of pastoral ministry, I checked the wages of comparable professionals. The reasoning is, if you hired a professional with a similar job description to do each part of the pastor’s job, what would you expect to pay? The startling results are below. Remember, “The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (The worker deserves his wages). I Timothy 5:18.

A. Preaching and teaching. To ascertain the value of the pastor’s speaking ministry I checked on the costs of hiring a speaker from a talent agency. I called Gemini Talent Association in Denver and talked to Jim Sullivan. He said that the low figure for a competent speaker for a workshop would be $350 per speech. The least expensive motivational speaker was $1,500 for one of the few available in the Denver area. If you figure that a pastor preaches to motivate on Sunday morning and to teach during the other two presentations during the week (although the distinction is not always that clear), you could compute the value of the pastor’s speaking ministry, which would also compensate for the 20 or so hours of study each week in preparation for those messages:
$1,500 X 50 Sunday mornings = $75,000$350 X 2 teaching sessions a week = $750$750 X 50 weeks = $37,500Annual total = $112,500

B. Counseling. Counselors get between $50 and $95 for a 50-minute session. A pastor will probably average five in-office counseling sessions a week with individuals or families.
Counseling at $50 hour X 5 X 50 = $12,500Counseling at $75 hour X 5 X 50 = $18,750

C. Home visiting. A local M.D. informed me that the minimum rate for a house call is $62.50. A plumber will charge $35 plus parts and mileage. Let’s use a conservative figure of $50 per hour for pastoral visitation to homes, rest homes or hospitals. That includes evangelism, checking on church families, and etc. Our surveys indicate that a pastor will spend between 11 and 18 hours a week in personal work outside of the church building.
So $50 X 11 hours a week = $550 X 50 = $27,500Or $50 X 18 hours a week = $900 X 50 = $45,000

D. Administration. A pastor is the chief operating officer responsible for a sizable business. To get a comparison I checked with our school system for the salary of a grade school principal. Figures hourly, the principal of a small grade school makes a little more than $20 per hour. That would be low for the manager of a small business. But we’ll use the $20 per hour figure. (Remember these are US figures where minimum wage is under $6/hr) Let’s say that the pastor spends 15 hours a week planning, programming, attending to details, training and overseeing.
So 15 hours X $20 = $300 X 50 weeks = $15,000

Paying comparative professionals to perform the pastor’s job, 51-58 hours a week, would cost between $167,500 and $191,250 per year. You’ll notice that this doesn’t include a paid vacation, compensation for being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, extra pay for “hazardous- duty” crisis counseling and many other responsibilities the pastor routinely performs.”

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Contrary to popular belief, my hubby doesn’t just work one day a week!
ADD to this list by Crosstrainer: worship leader, youth pastor, accountant, teacher, small groups leader, secretary, activities coordinator, visionary, driver, host, cook, janitor, contractor, on the construction crew, childcare provider, church supply shopper, and the list goes on… not to mention what I do, that’s included in his paycheque. 2 for the price of 1 don’t ya know!
He’s even worked a second job at times to make sure our needs were being met during the thinner years, which were up until only a few years ago!! In the first 10 years of leading the church, he made between $20- 26,000 on average. He made $1,200 the first year and came close to $3,000 in the 2nd year leading our church. Good thing we didn’t meet until he had been leading it for 3 years!! By the time had 3 kids, it was approaching the 30K mark. I was making more as a teller in a credit union, a typical Monday – Friday, 35 hr work week job…
There were many years in our marriage that I was alone. With all the time spent fulfilling church duties – there’s not a lot time for the family. It took us many years before we had a decent vacation or didn’t feel guilty for missing 2 Sundays in a row…
I think the church as a whole needs to change their expectations of what a pastor does and how much he’s worth. Trust me… he doesn’t do it for the paycheque!
Did you know that the majority of those leading church in North America live at or below the poverty level?! What happened to being worth double honor? 1 Timothy 5:7

Shash

I'm the Cool Mom of 4, Married to the Preacher Man, but at times I'm a little more Sass than Saint!

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5 Comments

  1. AMEN!!!

    It’s hard to read that, and know what my husband makes. Paltry salary + benefits + our home and all our utilities do not even equal a fraction of what he deserves. He works so hard…

    BUT – God provides abundantly, and I really shouldn’t complain!

  2. Amen!!

    My husband is way underpaid… but we have been able to go and do things we never thought possible because of how God provides for us!

  3. Wow…I’m definitely print that one off!

  4. I gave this to my DH a couple days ago. His comment was “… interesting.”

    I think it’s more us pastor’s wives who feel it more than they do.

    And yet I, too, have experienced God’s abundant provision over and over. Maybe it’s just greed or jealousy, or lack of faith. Hoh boy, time to pray!

  5. This is really good. There’s a lot I could say… The Lord does provide. We’ve been underpaid for a long time, some of that from our own doing so that we could bring on another part-time staff member. That’s part of why the Lord is moving us from where we were – the church still has a responsibility to be faithful and to be good stewards, taking care of the people called to serve them. It’s a tough balance, but I love how this article shows what it could be like – they are worth so much more than money, too! (Kinda like moms!)

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