The question is asked, what do we pay our pastor? It all depends on what one considers pay. The pastor's pay is different from the pay of others, for example, the pastor's pay deals with social security purposes, housing allowance, salary, benefits, and expense reimbursements. Operating expenses belong to the church, the employer. No one expects the pastor to pay the electric bill for the lights in the church, but quite often the pastor is expected to put gas in his car to go to the hospital to visit a church member.

When the question arises, what should we pay our pastor or should we increase his salary? Consider the following:

1. Would you be willing to work the hours (on-call 24 hours) your pastor does for the pay he/she receives?
2. Could you support your family and educate your children on your pastor's salary?
3. Is your pastor's salary keeping in par with today's (recession) high cost living?
4. When did your pastor receive his/her last raise?
5. Does your pastor have to beg for a raise?

There are dangers in underpaying your pastor, inadequate income can be damaging to both the pastor and congregation. When a pastor is worrying about how to make ends meet at home, it's hard to perform at his/her peak. Skimpy pay can erode a pastor's self-esteem, reduce enthusiasm for the ministering needs. Additionally, inadequate pay can lead to a pastor looking for a living outside of the church. Twenty percent of seminary graduates leave the church in their first pastorate due to poor pay. If a pastor's retirement plan is based on his pay, he/she retires with not enough to live one and his/her social security is low and he/she is forced to stay on the job long after his/her effective days. I know of a church at this very moment that is looking for a new pastor, because the previous pastor received a better offer from another church and sad to say this particular church is going through a huge conflict and battle among each other. That's what happens when a church is without an undershepherd for a considerable time, people become power hungry. And when a pastor is finally called he/she has to rescue the power (pastoral authority) from the various cliques that have formed in the process.

We ought not muzzle the ox which thread the corn, especially in these times of economic woe. The church that is concerned about the work of the church will pay her pastor a fair salary. What should we pay our pastor? Let's take it to the Lord in prayer.

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Comment by PASTOR CHARLES E BELL JR on August 4, 2009 at 8:44am

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