Southern Megachurches Pay Pastors The Highest Salaries: Survey

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Southern Megachurches Pay Pastors The Highest Salaries: Survey

By Adella M. Banks | Religion News Service

n-CROSS-MONEY-large570(RNS) Large churches in the South tend to pay their senior pastors the highest salaries, a new survey finds.

That’s one of the conclusions on churches and finances released Tuesday (Sept. 9) by Leadership Network, a Dallas-based church think tank, and the Vanderbloemen Search Group, a Houston-based executive search firm for churches and ministries. A total of 727 North American churches with attendance ranging from 1,000 to more than 30,000 answered questions, more than double the number of congregations featured in previous studies.

The survey found that 14 percent of large churches have a financial bonus structure for their top leader. And one in five of the big congregations find ways to collect their money other than passing the proverbial offering plate. Warren Bird, research director at Leadership Network, said pastors have long held a lofty place of authority in the South, and that may be why they are paid more in that region.

Northeastern churches are the second-highest paying, followed by the West and the Midwest. The lowest-paying region in North America is Canada.

The higher pastor salaries in the South contrast with lower-than-average wages for the region. The Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics reports average annual wages of workers in all the states in the Deep South — Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina — are lower than the U.S. annual wage of $49,804.slides 02 & 03 - church budget and attendance

Although researchers agreed not to divulge specific salaries of particular pastors or the identity of participating churches, they were able to determine trends in these congregations that reflect about one-quarter of the nation’s Protestant worshippers. For example:

* The larger the church, the more the senior pastor is likely to be paid.
* The second-in-command at many churches earns about 70 percent of the salary of the top executive.
* Three-quarters of the churches gave pay raises between 1 and 5 percent and the most common raise was 3 percent for 2014.

“Bigger means more employees, more volunteers, more moving parts and a greater scope of leadership required,” Bird said. “That reality usually leads to more compensation across a host of organizations.”

o-PASTOR-HIGH-SALARY-570In fact, the common pay raise also reflects a wider social trend. Towers Watson, a Virginia-based professional services company, released a separate survey Monday (Sept. 8) that found that U.S. employers plan to give their professional employees an average pay raise of 3 percent in 2015.

Researchers for the large-churches survey found that donations are slightly higher at those churches that pass the plate, but all churches in the study offered more than one option for giving: 81 percent provide online giving options; 37 percent had a donation box in the lobby; and 25 percent had an electronic kiosk in the lobby. Far surpassing churches of other sizes, congregations with more than 10,000 worshippers were least likely to pass offering plates.

“If your stereotype is that every church passes the plate, they don’t,” said Bird.

Online giving has been growing in popularity for seven years, Bird said. He recently visited a church in Australia that gets 80 percent of its donations via the Internet. One Maryland megachurch gets 40 percent of its giving through online donations.

How much do congregants know about the finances of their churches? Bird said most congregations will get some kind of a report from their leaders.

“It is extremely rare that the entire congregation will be privy to specific salaries,” he said.o-HIGH-PASTOR-SALARY-570

But even people with inside knowledge about church salaries need to know more about how to handle their finances, said Holly Tate, director of business development at Vanderbloumen.

“Churches are known to fall behind in compensation trends and they end up losing their staff because of it,” she said.

The survey also found:
* 80 percent of the large churches were predominantly white, while 20 percent were made up mostly of another racial or ethnic group or were multiethnic.
* The larger the church, the more likely it is to be a multisite congregation.

 

5 Comments on “Southern Megachurches Pay Pastors The Highest Salaries: Survey”

  1. jack

    The Compensation is eternal life . Can’t put a figure on that . Just reading and hearing the WORD is blessing
    enough , if you are actually preaching it .

  2. dwight crooms

    1 Cor. 9:3-18, “My defense to those who examine me is this: 4 Do we not have a right to eat and drink? 5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? 7 Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard, and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock? 8 I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.”  God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. 11 If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you? 12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share with the altar? 14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. 15 But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things that it may be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.”

  3. dwight crooms

    I cor. 9 :12   If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things, that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. 

    I would like to point out he we don’t use this right. Yes he was not a pastor, but neither is the evangelist, the bishop, apostle, and musician who all get paid.

  4. Rene

    Preachers using their churches to make themselves rich is stupid. They might as well just say they’re in the business of selling the gospel. They’re Little Popes. Whatever happened to exalting your brothers beyond yourself. Did they forget about that. What will they say on Judgement Day when God looks at how they wasted their lives on making themselves rich? The problem is they don’t think God is going to do anything and that they’re safe. They’re not. Once the Muslims under the authority of the Pope ( history really does repeat itself) wages it’s religious war against American Christians like they’re doing in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe and they start blowing up churches, killing apostate Christians, these wealthy pastors are going to either be killed or convert to Islam and influence they’re congregations to convert to Islam. It’s already beginning to happen now with the white churches embracing Chrislam and the black churches embracing the Allah worshipping religion of hip hop.

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