Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pastors Feeling the Pinch of the Economy

A recent national survey of pastors and church staff shows the compensation package paid to the average pastor — including salary, housing allowance/parsonage, life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, continuing education allowances and retirement — has declined in 2009 by 2.4 percent for lead pastors to an average of $70,806. The average for senior pastors who lead multiple pastoral staff declined .5 percent to $80,745. The average for solo pastors was down 6.6 percent to $56,189, which means solo pastors lost more than $300 per month in salary and benefits. In 2008, pastors received a slight bump up in salaries.

The annual survey, conducted by Christianity Today International, is based on data from nearly 5,000 churches and 13 different staff positions, ranging from senior pastors to church secretaries.

The decline, in part, was caused by wage freezes in many congregations. About half of lead pastors reported they received no salary increase in the previous year (53% of senior pastors and 51% of solo pastors). Other staff noted the same limitations. Only 50 percent of secretaries/administrators and 38 percent of musicians/accompanists received an increase last year.

The complete analysis, which includes breakdowns based on church denomination, income budget, congregation size and geographical setting, is included in the 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, available at A summary is available at Christianity Today. [,]

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