WHAT IS A MINISTER REALLY WORTH?
What’s the fair market value of the services a pastor renders? How can
you compare the pastorate to the business world? The varied
responsibilities of pastoral ministry demand that the pastor be a
versatile and time efficient professional. What other executive faces
the pressures of research and multiple presentations every week, gives
administrative leadership to a complex organization, makes personal
visits to care for the spiritual well- being of members, enlists the
unchurched and is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week? A company
would have to hire three or four people to fill the corporate positions
corresponding to the pastor’s job description!
In order to put some objective valuation of pastoral ministry, I checked
the wages of comparable professionals. The reasoning is, if you hired a
professional with a similar job description to do each part of the
pastor’s job, what would you expect to pay? The startling results are
below. Remember, “The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (The worker
deserves his wages). I Timothy 5:18.
A. Preaching and teaching. To ascertain the value of the pastor’s
speaking ministry I checked on the costs of hiring a speaker from a
talent agency. I called Gemini Talent Association in Denver and talked
to Jim Sullivan. He said that the low figure for a competent speaker for
a workshop would be $350 per speech. The least expensive motivational
speaker was $1,500 for one of the few available in the Denver area. If
you figure that a pastor preaches to motivate on Sunday morning and to
teach during the other two presentations during the week (although the
distinction is not always that clear), you could compute the value of
the pastor’s speaking ministry, which would also compensate for the 20
or so hours of study each week in preparation for those messages:
$1,500 X 50 sunday mornings = $75,000
$350 X 2 teaching sessions a week = $750
$750 X 50 weeks = $37,500
Annual total = $112,500
B. Counseling. Counselors get between $50 and $95 for a 50-minute
session. A pastor will probably average five in-office counseling
sessions a week with individuals or families.
Counseling at $50 hour X 5 X 50 = $12,500
Counseling at $75 hour X 5 X 50 = $18,750
C. Home visiting. A local M.D. informed me that the minimum rate for a
house call is $62.50. A plumber will charge $35 plus parts and mileage.
Let’s use a conservative figure of $50 per hour for pastoral visitation
to homes, rest homes or hospitals. That includes evangelism, checking on
church families, and etc. Our surveys indicate that a pastor will spend
between 11 and 18 hours a week in personal work outside of the church
So $50 X 11 hours a week = $550 X 50 = $27,500
Or $50 X 18 hours a week = $900 X 50 = $45,000
D. Administration. A pastor is the chief operating officer responsible
for a sizable business. To get a comparison I checked with our school
system for the salary of a grade school principal. Figures hourly, the
principal of a small grade school makes a little more than $20 per hour.
That would be low for the manager of a small business. But we’ll use the
$20 per hour figure. Let’s say that the pastor spends 15 hours a week
planning, programming, attending to details, training and overseeing.
So 15 hours X $20 = $300 X 50 weeks = $15,000
Paying comparative professionals to perform the pastor’s job, 51-58
hours a week, would cost between $167,500 and $191,250 per year. You’ll
notice that this doesn’t include a paid vacation, compensation for being
on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, extra pay for “hazardous-
duty” crisis counseling and many other responsibilities the pastor