A SURVEY of churches in the United States has suggested that
pastors are earning up to $300,000 (£184,000 a year) in salary.
Pastors in "mega-churches" were found to be earning the most.
The study Leadership Network/Vanderbloemen 2014 Large Church
Salary Report by the church think tank the Leadership Network
found that pastors' salaries increased with the size of the
Some mega-churches have congregations of more than 30,000, and
these were most likely to be paying the biggest salaries to the
lead pastor. The survey looked at 727 churches with attendance
figures between 1000 and 33,000. Of those, 91 churches had
congregations of 5000 or more. Survey respondents were mainly
Evangelical, all from Protestant Churches in the US.
But, although size was found to benefit the pastor's salary, it
did not increase the amount that each member of the congregation
donated. Larger churches reported less giving per head than smaller
Pay increases in senior pastors' salaries were found to have
been low in recent years, averaging three per cent this year.
The survey also found that many churches were contributing
generously to their pastor's retirement fund - one third were found
to be donating ten per cent or more. In addition, 14 per cent of
large churches offered a financial bonus to the senior pastor.
The author of the report, Dr Warren Bird, director of research
at Leadership Network, said that, despite seemingly large salaries,
pastors were paid modestly in comparison with the corporate
"Public media often describe large church pastors as corporate
CEOs, and, while there are many parallels in terms of leadership
responsibilities, the parallel largely ends with salaries," Dr Bird
The average CEO pay in the US is $10 million; the average large
church pastor's salary is about $250,000. In the C of E, the
average stipend for clergy in 2013 was £24,020.