I want churches to take good care of their pastors. Your church may not be in a position to offer all these benefits, but perhaps you could work toward providing them as you work on your 2017 budget.
1. Housing allowance. In my judgment, the pastor’s salary and housing allowance should be considered the pastor’s “base package.” The housing allowance is a designated portion of the pastor’s base package that allows for tax benefits.
2. Self-employment tax offset. If your pastor pays self-employment taxes, your church should consider providing additional funds that cover the portion they would have to pay if the pastor were classified as an employee.
3. Health, disability and life insurance coverage. I encourage churches to provide full family coverage for health insurance, but do cover at least the pastor’s premiums. Likewise, offer at least some level of disability and life insurance.
4. Mileage reimbursement. Many pastors travel a lot by car. They should not be forced to pay out of their own pockets for business-related travel.
5. Retirement funds. Even if your pastors are young, help them think about the future by contributing to a retirement fund for them. Even a few dollars per month can pay off in the long run.
6. Book and resource allowance. If you want your pastors to continue to study and grow, provide resources for them to do so.
7. Travel allowance. Your pastors may want to attend training conferences or denominational meetings that take place out of town. Make that possible by providing a travel budget.
8. Continuing education funds. I trust you want your pastors to be the best-equipped leaders. If so, offering funds toward further training (whether via attending conferences or working toward an accredited degree) will encourage them to get that training.
9. Entertainment and fellowship funds. If pastors take only one family per month to dinner, the costs still add up. The church should cover the cost of entertainment and fellowship that intentionally promote the church’s ministry.
10. Phone coverage. Most pastors use their cell phones recurrently during the week to do church “business.” Consider providing at least a portion of these costs.
11. Time off. Give your pastors a weekly day off and significant time for vacation (e.g., three to four weeks per year). Hold them accountable to get the rest and relaxation they deserve and need.
12. Sabbatical time. At least every six to seven years, give your pastor a one-month paid sabbatical. I’ve written elsewhere about the benefits of a pastoral sabbatical.
What would you add or omit from this list?