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How Much is a Pastor Worth?

At first they wanted to debate my salary publicly at the open board meeting. I thought I preserved my dignity by convincing the board to discuss it with me in private. I was wrong.

Two board members walked into my office, closed the door behind them, folded their arms sternly across their chests, and said to me, "How much do you want?"

There has to be a better way to establish a pastor's salary.

It has been years since that uncomfortable confrontation, and I now serve on the staff of my denomination. My job includes advising churches and pastors when they face uncertainty about money.

One such church was New Hope in Adel, Iowa, a successful church plant that was preparing to call their first senior pastor. Since the church planter was funded by the denomination, establishing a pastor's salary package was new ground.

New Hope's leaders were employed mostly in business. They knew that a fair and competitive wage would be needed. They also knew from their business experience that benefits and ...

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