Add up your salary, housing allowance (or fair rental value of your parsonage plus utilities paid by the church), Social Security equivalent payment (if you receive one), retirement payment, and health insurance. If it is over $76,492 then you are paid above the SBC average according to the 2016 LifeWay Compensation Study just released.
LifeWay and GuideStone produce this report in even numbered years and it is helpful in assessing pay rates for SBC clergy and staff. It is a self-reported survey of SBC churches, not a random sample, so the results have some limitations but I’ve found it to be a useful tool. About 28% of SBC churches gave usable responses, roughly 14,000 churches out of about 50,000 SBC congregations.
Baptist Press released a story this past Monday, 2016 study of pastor salaries, benefits available, and headlines the report by saying,
Compensation for full-time Southern Baptist church staff members has exceeded the cost-of-living increase over the past two years. However, health insurance coverage continues to decline
There are always caveats and footnotes. Here’s what the BP story said:
Methodology: Southern Baptist state conventions invited each church’s staff to respond to the survey; 14,076 completed surveys are available including 8,164 full-time staff analyzed for this article. For the purpose of this article, senior pastor responses were weighted to account for lower response rate among smaller churches and to match the distribution of the size of Southern Baptist churches. When using the online tool, national totals may be somewhat higher than these weighted totals. Viewing the results by church-size categories within the online tool minimizes this impact. When running customized reports online, errors can be minimized by selecting criteria that allow for larger numbers of participants.
Thus, the national average pay for senior pastors that I put in the title of this article ($76,492) “may be somewhat higher” than the adjusted or weighted figures. As one might expect, smaller churches (who would be expected to pay less) are underrepresented in the averages. To account for this, LifeWay “weighted” the figures. If I went to my church and gave an average figure, I’d use the national average.
Here are some selected figures:
- Average pay package for churches 100-149 in attendance: $63,121
- Average pay package for churches with a budget of $100,000 to $150,000: $58,048. One notes that this is considerably lower (about 25%) than the national average. I would speculate that the average, single staff SBC church pays their pastor closer to this figure than the $76,492.
- Average senior pastor pay package for all church sizes here in Georgia: $81,059. But, there were only 180 responses (out of nearly 4,000 GBMB churches), so this figure is not too relevant to the average Georgia Baptist church but you can use it anyway to ask for a pay raise. Good luck.
- Average senior pastor pay package for Georgia churches with a budget $100,000-$150,000: $50,155. There were only 21 responses from GBMB churches of this budget size.
A few more interesting figures:
- Almost two-thirds of responding churches gave their senior pastor three or more weeks of vacation annually.
- Average tenure of senior pastors among responding churches was nine years.
- 22% of senior pastors were living in parsonages.
LifeWay and GuideStone do a great service to SBC churches and ministers though these biannual compensation studies. I would be interested to hear the reaction to some of the results from my ministerial colleagues.