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April 3, 2012

A Breakdown of Salaries and Benefits for Senior Pastors

As church income and worship attendance increase, so do pay and benefits.

Editor's Note: The 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff is now available. This resource details pay and benefits data for 14 church positions, including two new ones—part-time musician and part-time childcare provider. Each position is analyzed based on a variety of criteria, including education, experience, church size, and geography. The resource also includes step-by-step worksheets to help churches tailor compensation based on their unique circumstances. In the weeks and months ahead, watch ManagingYourChurch.com for graphics and short articles highlighting trends and other broad developments from the latest data.

The 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, Christianity Today's bi-annual survey of compensation levels based on 4,600 participating churches, shows senior pastors' salary and benefits at an average $82,938 this year. This represents a 2.7 percent increase from the $80,745 average reported in 2010.

Senior pastors rank at the top in total compensation plus benefits for church staff. (See the "Top 7 Paid Full-Time Positions in Church.")

In general, as church income and worship attendance increase, compensation and benefits also increase.

While a salary in the $80,000 range looks good on paper, actual take-home pay for pastors may be much different, perhaps far less. The average base salary of a full-time senior pastor ranges from $33,000 to $70,000. Eighty-four percent of senior pastors say they also receive a housing allowance, which accounts for $20,000 to $38,000 in added compensation.

The graphic below highlights the breakdown of salary and benefits senior pastors receive.

chart3_breakdown.jpg

Marian V. Liautaud is editor of Church Management Resources at Christianity Today and served as editor of the 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff.

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Comments

Thank you for posting this info

When pastors take too much money from the people who tithe that is stealing from the people that think the money goes toward helping spread Christianity and helping others. Even worst, it's stealing from God.
Pastors are telling people the money is for God but many pastors are buying mansions with God's money.
Church pastors especially mega church pastors should have a salary cap of $50,000 so any extra money would go to help pastors at smaller churches.
Please go to this government petition website and sign it if you think there should be a salary cap on pastors.
Need a 150 signatures in 1 month for the petition to become active or will have to start petition again.

http://wh.gov/lkQGi

That is the lamest thing I have ever heard. It is a slap in the face to the hard-working leader facing endless needs with limited resources. A person who needs vision, communication skills, someone who does funerals and deals with the darkest parts of life on a regular basis. Someone who deals with complaints. Someone who does work behind the scenes that no one will know about. Someone who puts in more than 40 hours a week, and is often criticized instead of thanked for the work they do. Are you kidding me? A cap at 50,000? Why don't you try it out sometime.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go plagiarize a sermon and golf with my buddies now.

Richard, please tell me you do not believe that. Many pastors are stealing money? A very few minority is stealing money and yes that is an atrocious sin, but do not let your fear of a small few handicap the majority. Many pastors have a lot of educational dept and thus need more money to pay off their school loans. It makes no sense to pay someone who works 60 hours (or more) a week $50,000 when they have Masters and Doctors degrees.
If you have a conviction of that amount of salary if you become a pastor, don't take that much home. If your that serious go to a church that pays under that. But going to the government to stop paying the ministers of God? ..... I'll pray for you.

a pastor should make the average pay of his church members, this way he can live a life similar to theirs and be able to relate to them. this also avoids super rich pastors and super poor ones

What ever happened to taking up our cross,denying ourselves and following Jesus? Will God see Jesus when he looks at you? Or will He see a pastor that is storing up his riches here on earth? The ultimate pastor charged nothing. He came to serve! Freely!

I know God wants us all to prosper, but I believe if a Pastor is making mega bucks from his church and his people are hurting and struggling then something is wrong with that picture... I believe we need to take up our cross and deny ourself daily and follow God. I am not sure what a pastors salary is suppose to be, but I believe it depends on the size of the church and if he or she is doing it for the money and not for God's calling then it is not right anyway....

Being a pastor I know first hand people don't even know the half of what it entails. WE ARE NEVER OFF. Your phone is constantly ringing. Hospital and nursing home visits. Funerals, weddings, and dedications to do. Meetings after meetings to attend and this has nothing to do with your actual family. Basketball football soccer track cheerleading, baseball dance and recitals. Have you ever had to explain to a 6 yr old I had to leave your game because Johnny's dad got sick. Oh and your wife that needs time. Everyone wants to talk to the pastor everyone wants the pastor to do everything and will be mad if an asst pastor, minister, elder or deacon shows up in place of the pastor. Everyone wants direct access to you at all times 24/7. And not to mention the women that throw themselves at you constantly that you are still required to love. You have to be a mentor, counselor, friend, and father/mother. Weekends are filled ...every weekend of the year is filled. There is always something to do or someone that's needs you. I am not complaining, I love what I do and I don't make anywhere close to 50K...but a cap at 50k is just crazy. I know people that sit at a desk all day and work 40hrs and not a second more off on weekends and take 2 vacations a year, that make more than 50K. I know pastor's salaries can get pretty ridiculous but 50k.

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