Here’s a surprise to no one: church income and pastoral salaries have a strong correlation. In an article by Kevin Miller concerning the forthcoming 2008 Compensation for Church Staff Handbook, he observes, “Briefly, if you want to earn more as a senior pastor, become a Presbyterian. If you want to earn more as a youth pastor, become a Baptist.

“Presbyterian senior pastors earned the most in our survey-their average salary plus housing/parsonage was $78,000-while Baptist senior pastors earned next to last-$67,000. But virtually the opposite was true for youth pastors. Baptist youth pastors earned near the top–$44,000 in salary plus housing-while Presbyterian youth pastors earned near the bottom–$36,000. Why?

“The answer comes from two factors: church income and denominational values. Our research consistently shows that the biggest single factor in determining any pastor’s pay is the church’s income. And among churches with senior pastors, Presbyterian churches have the highest-reported church income, so some of that gets passed along to their senior pastors.”

Miller also reports on the website that despite the fact that only 6 percent of reporting churches had women as solo pastors, “female solo pastors reported 10.4 percent higher total compensation. Their average salary was 8.6 percent higher than men’s ($49,219 compared to $45,259); and better housing and retirement benefits made up the rest. Why the difference? Why do female solo pastors earn, for total compensation (includes health insurance, retirement, and continuing education), $62,472, when their male counterparts earn $56,558? . . .

“The more-likely explanation is regional. We know that solo pastors receive the highest pay in the New England and Pacific states (not surprisingly, given the higher cost of living in these regions). And these regions probably have the greatest cultural acceptance of women serving as solo pastors. Thus, women solo pastors tend to find work in regions with a high cost of living, and consequently, get a higher salary.” (Click here to read the full article.)

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