Quick to Listen/Episode 139 |58min

The Hard Truth About Pastors’ Pay

Why figuring out fair compensation for ministry leaders is difficult.
The Hard Truth About Pastors’ Pay
Image: Westend61 / Getty

We’re in the midst of what could be a significant transition for American pastoral salaries. A lawsuit challenging the longstanding clergy housing allowance is in the court of appeals. Last year’s tax reform bill made significant changes to the standard deduction, which could have dramatic effects for the level of giving churches have historically relied upon.

As CT Pastors recently reported, “staffing costs typically account for 45 to 55 percent of a church’s budget. But with recent changes in costs, demographics, and giving in US churches, many are questioning that model.”

Beyond these larger changes, churches, whether part of denominations or nondenominational, have long struggled with knowing how to fairly compensate pastors and other employees, says Brian Kluth, who currently leads the National Association of Evangelical’s Financial Health initiative, which seeks to improve the financial health of pastors and church.

“There are real critical pay issues for people in church and really at all levels and all genders,” said Kluth.

Kluth joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the inconsistent ways pastors are compensated, how American Christian giving (or lackthereof) affects this conversation, and the perks and breaks pastors receive and how they should be considered when determining salary.

This episode of Quick to Listen is brought to you in part by Christianbook.com, where you’ll find great Christmas gifts for everyone on your list. From books, Bibles, and music, to videos, toys, and more, Christianbook.com has everything Christmas for less!

This episode of Quick to Listen is sponsored in part by StartCHURCH, a company for Pastors and Ministry Leaders that helps get Started the right way! You can learn more at startchurch.com.

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Follow our host on Twitter: Morgan Lee

Visit ChurchSalary.com

Check out Brian Kluth’s resources: NAEfinancialhealth.org, which has financial and generosity resources for pastors, church boards, and congregations, and GiveWithJoy.org, a 40-day “Generous Life” devotional email, app, and print resource.

Subscribe to Mark’s newsletter: The Galli Report

Music by Sweeps

Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee, Richard Clark, and Cray Allred

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