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‘Grow your church and earn more'

03 October 2014

by a staff reporter


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 congregation.

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 churches.

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 world.

"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 said.

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.

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