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This past week WFAA Channel 8 ran a story that painted Ed Young, Senior Pastor of Fellowship Church, in a very negative light. The gist of the report was that Ed’s salary ($1 mil) and various perks (private jet, $200k+ parsonage allowance) are intentionally kept hidden from his congregation and he’s profiting from his non-profit church behind their backs.

While I think the story had some holes in it and didn’t paint a complete picture (no interviews from people defending Ed), it did raise a few questions that I think are worth asking of every church and pastor. In particular, how much money should a pastor be paid for his work?

I know there are quite a few opinions on how to determine the answer, but here are just a few examples:

  • Pastors should not be paid for their work. While this opinion is rare in the United States today, it can be found. Some people think that all pastors should be bi-vocational (work one job to earn a living while serving the church).
  • Pastors’ salaries should be less than the average salary of their congregations. The idea here is that pastors are servants. If someone is making less money than another then by default they will feel like more of a servant.
  • Pastors’ salaries should be comprable to the average salary of their congregations. There’s an expectation for pastors to live in the area in which they serve and be able to relate to their congregants every day lives, so they’d have to make about the same amount of money to do that.
  • Pastors should make more money than is average in their area. Ministry is a stressful profession. In addition, many pastors are highly trained, well educated people. When you compare the work of many pastors to jobs in other lines of work you’ll see that salaries are pretty high in those other jobs.

The actual dollar amount will of course be different from one town to the next, but these are some ideas that I’ve seen used to determine a pastors salary.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of flickr user borman818.