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What Is A Pastor Worth?

In the last post, I addressed, via Casey Graham's post, why pastors need to be adequately compensated.

The fact that the issue of pastor's compensation even needs to be addressed, highlights the fact there is a problem of pastors being underpaid.  But why?  I think there may be some reasons why pastors may be underpaid for their ministry work.

Churches just don't know better

Some churches are flying by the seat of the pants when it comes to assessing pastor and staff salaries.  Rather, churches need to do their homework.  There are reports available to examine compensation packages that you can get from your church's denominational headquarters or from other resources.

Here is some help from ChristianityToday:
Resources that can help churches determine a fair salary for pastors include The Annual Compensation Handbook for Church and Staff from Christian Ministry Resources, Zondervan's 2000 Minister's Tax and Financial Guide by Dan Busby, and How to Set Clergy Compensation by Steve Clifford.
Your denominational headquarters could tell you what pastors in churches like yours are paid. So might CPAs such as Jack L. McGinnis of Brooks, McGinnis & Chafin in Atlanta, Georgia, who collects data from more than 50 churches to help clients determine salary packages. (read the rest HERE)
Also, churches need to take into account cost of living issues by checking the local census information to find out what the median income level is for it's community, in order to measure if the church's salaries will adequately provide.

A Pastor's work perhaps isn't appropriately valued

I don't know any other way to say it, but if there were a correct, biblical understanding of the role and ministry of an pastor/elder, then pastors wouldn't haven't to negotiate more adequate salaries - they would be generously and appropriately compensated.

1 Timothy 5:17 says, "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching".  Now think through the words translated often times as “double honor”.  In the CEV version its translated as  “double pay”.  This doesn't mean that pastors need to be paid tons of money, but just that they need to be appropriately paid and provided for.

Fear of Association

Perhaps there is a fear that if staff and pastors have a compensation package that is too generous it will reflect poorly on the church's stewardship of the people's tithes.  Given the history and examples of ostentatious living that some pastors have enjoyed - many people are over-sensitive and react in ways that end up poorly compensating faithful and humble servants in ministry.

Giving Has Dried Up

A big reason why many churches have either pulled back or frozen staff and pastor's salaries is that because of the economy, giving is down and that fact has forced churches to make very difficult budget decisions.  I would suggest that if a church needs to freeze a cost of living increase or reduce salaries, then they should at the same time be willing to pay back that loss in full, if and when financial circumstances turn around in the future.


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