Caring For God's People
Ministry is a high calling, and worthy of recognition and care. Setting a pastor's compensation can feel like a tricky time. This is an important and very sensitive time for both the pastor and the congregation. How you engage in this process sends a strong message to the pastor and is a witness to your community about the spiritual and relational health and maturity of the congregation itself. It is an opportunity for leaders to not only review pastoral staff ministry, but also the work and ministry of the congregation as well. This can be a time of affirmation and encouragement. This should also be a time to identify barriers to pastoral and congregational health and resulting growth and develop specific plans to address those barriers in the coming year.
In consultation with the pastor, the appropriate group should recommend a salary and benefit package for the pastor and other paid staff members to the church’s leadership and congregation. Several factors should be considered in determining salary, including:
- increase in the general cost of living
- local and regional economic factors
- pastoral performance (based on goals mutually agreed to in the prior year.)
- current size and growth of the congregation
- total years of experience in ministry
- the educational level achieved by the pastor and willingness to improve pastoral leadership skills through continuing education, seminars, etc.
Obviously, the church’s ability to support their staff must be considered, but the pastoral package should not be determined by what is left over after all other budget items have been determined. The pastor’s salary is more than a necessary payment to keep body and soul together; it represents the congregation’s recognition for past service and provides encouragement and motivation for service yet to come.
To help your congregation in this process, we have created a resource to use in setting pastoral compensation. Please feel free to download and use, and if you have any questions about pastoral compensation, feel reach out to Gary Diehl (National Church Vitality Coordinator)