Factors in pastor pay increases
Various factors contribute to the likelihood of a Southern Baptist pastor getting paid more. On average, for each additional resident member of their church, a pastor earns $14 more each year. For each additional attendee, their pay goes up $33 on average.
Experience also plays a role in compensation. For each year of ministry, on average, a pastor earns $382 more. For each year he stays at his church, a Southern Baptist pastor’s pay goes up $124 on average. However, for each year a pastor ages, he typically earns $635 less.
“Those who become pastors later in life receive lower pay,” said McConnell. “For some, that may be by choice because they’re in a position to give back. When age and other factors are similar, more experience is related to higher pay. When experience and other factors are similar, higher age is related to lower pay.”
Those with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree earn similar amounts. Those with less education are paid less. On average, pastors whose highest level of education is high school or less are paid $6,736 less than those with a four-year degree or more. Those with an associate degree earn $7,206 less, while those with some college are paid $4,800 less than those with at least a bachelor’s degree. Southern Baptist pastors with a doctorate earn $9,794 more, on average, than their counterparts with bachelor’s or master’s degrees.
Pastors in the South and West earn similar amounts, but those at Southern Baptist churches in the Midwest earn $4,765 less, while those in the Northeast earn $21,511 more.
Larger church, more benefits
Most Southern Baptist churches do not provide medical insurance for their pastor, but as the size of the congregation increases so does the likelihood the pastor will receive those additional benefits.
Overall, 59% of Southern Baptist churches do not provide medical coverage, while 18% pay for the pastor and his family, 14% pay for the pastor and his wife and 9% pay for the pastor alone.
In churches with fewer than 50 in attendance, 69% of their pastors receive no medical coverage. Almost 3 in 5 pastors (58%) at Southern Baptist churches with 50 to 99 at an average worship service don’t receive medical insurance. Half (49%) of those at churches that average 100 to 249 in attendance aren’t provided health insurance. For churches with 250 or more, a quarter of their pastors (26%) receive no medical insurance from the congregation.
“Churches love and care for their pastors as people and shepherds,” GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck said. “One tangible way to demonstrate that love and commitment is to provide them with the proper pay and benefits. It can be wise to look at other professionals in the community, with similar education, credentials and responsibility when determining the salary and benefits — retirement, health and other coverages — they should offer. This helps build their financial security and improves their resilience as they face the financial, health and other challenges that will always come our way.”
Fewer churches provide life and/or accident coverage (24%), disability insurance (20%), dental insurance (18%) or vision insurance (9%). Again, the churches with fewer than 50 people are less likely to provide any of those, while the churches with 250 or more are more likely.
Similar to salary, there are many factors impacting the amount of vacation provided to pastors. Full-time senior pastors receive an average of around 14 vacation days each year. Larger churches give their pastors slightly more vacation time. For every 309 attendees, pastors get one more vacation day on average. Additionally, the longer a pastor remains at their current church, they are provided more vacation, at an average rate of one day for every six years.
“People have been quick to talk about the mental wellbeing of pastors and ministers in the aftermath of the pandemic, but far fewer have been willing to talk about the financial wellbeing of their ministers,” said McConnell. “The government isn’t sending stimulus checks to pastors in 2022. It is time for congregations to give their pastors and staff a raise to help them through this time of inflation.”
This article originally appeared here.