When we see pastors flying across the country in their private jets and living the “good life” in their 10,000 square foot mansions it’s hard to reconcile in our heads this idea that our pastors don’t make enough money.
It’s a hot button topic.
I hear all the time that there is no reason for a pastor to make more than $100,000 per year. One of the top reasons people give for not going to church is they think all the church wants is their money. Even our churches have become scared to intertwine money and worship. They put “donation baskets” at the back door and never mention the spiritual discipline of giving.
Maybe you go to a church that’s on the other end of this spectrum. Maybe the church is struggling financially or is starting a building campaign. It’s probable you instead get an onslaught of sermons about the widow that gave 2 copper coins, all she had.
Regardless of how your church approaches the topic of stewardship, you likely aren’t paying your pastor enough money.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the “demands of the job.”
- 90% of pastors work 70 hours a week. (although they are on call 24/7)
- They manage an entire team of people.
- They coordinate administrative tasks and projects.
- They deal with personnel issues among church staff.
- They oversee a team of weekly volunteer workers.
- They manage a multi-million dollar budget.
- They pray specifically for your families needs and carry those burdens as if they were their own.
- They prepare more than 40 unique messages a year to present at worship services.
- We could probably make this list of job requirements go on for a while so we’ll stop at 9, just to make the OCD people a little crazy that I didn’t come up with a 10th thing.
If your pastor were to take the job skills and level of education they have into the secular world, they’d be titled CEO and make 4-7 times what they are paid in the church. And with a burnout rate of more than 1,500 pastors in North America each month, the last thing our pastors need to worry about is money.
Here are some of the hazards of the job
- 90% say they are fatigued.
- 77% feel they do not have a good marriage.
- 38% are divorced or in the divorce process
- 30% have had an affair.
- 23% are content with who they are in Christ.
- 50% are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they didn’t feel called.
- Most studies show that 60-80% of pastors will leave the ministry within 10 years, and only a fraction make it a lifetime career.
The bottom line is, the job is tough. It’s highly under-appreciated. Your pastor hears the “I’m not being fed,” complaint once a week. His family makes huge sacrifices. The last thing your pastor needs to worry about is money.
Why YOU Don’t Pay Your Pastor Enough Money.
This part may ruffle some feathers. First, if you’re doing well financially, out of debt, and being generous with your giving then this part isn’t for you. For the rest of you though, it’s your fault that your pastor is underpaid.
Just drive through the church parking lot on Sunday morning and total up the car payments. Look at the Mercedes and Escalades and even new Kia’s parked outside after worship this week. Again if you have the income to afford these cars, aren’t in debt, and are being generous with your money please drive whatever the heck you want.
Just assume I’m talking about the parking lot of a church with 300 families. (Your church may be bigger or smaller). If 70% of those families have car payments, which the studies say they do, that’s 210 monthly car payments. The average car payment is $484 over 72 months according to NADA. I’ll just do the quick math for you… It’s $1.2 million a year!
What if we applied the same formula to the families in the church that live in homes they can barely afford? Or designer clothes that get worn a few times a year? Or expensive private school tuition that they finance a 2nd mortgage to pay? Or those that eat out 6 times a week?
You see, we lose good pastors each year for a number of reasons. They are tempted beyond what we can comprehend and live their lives in a fish bowl. But the one worry they shouldn’t have is about money. And it’s the one thing that we as the church can control.
Get out of debt. Build wealth. And pay your pastors better.
What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.
*The statistics used for this article come from the Schaeffer report.