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Average Pay for the Senior Pastor?

What is the average pay for a senior pastor these days?

Well, of course, it depends… on your experience, the size of your church, and what sex you are.

According to the 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff (which surveyed about 4,600 churches and 8,000 church positions), the average senior pastor overall makes…

[drum roll please]…


That’s up from last year’s average salary of $80,745.

Another interesting finding is that women church employees (senior pastor or otherwise) make on average 28% LESS than men across all paid positions in the church.

QUESTION:  Regardless of your position on women in ministry (at least in Senior roles), is it OK for women working in vocational ministry to make 28% less then their male counterparts?

Why or why not?

Take a look at your personnel expenses… Do you pay your women staff members less then your male staff members in equal or near equal positions?

Let us know your thoughts below…



26 Responses to “ “Average Pay for the Senior Pastor?”

  1. As I read the Bible, it seems to preclude women from serving in a pastor/elder role. That being said, I see no reason why they can’t serve in just about any other role, and when they do they should be compensated at the same level as their male counterparts. To do otherwise is

  2. Oct25
    Pete Scribner

    As I read the Bible, it seems to preclude women from serving in a pastor/elder role. That being said, I see no reason why they can’t serve in just about any other role, and when they do they should be compensated at the same level as their male counterparts. To do otherwise is simply immoral.

  3. Jared says:

    I’m a complementarian, as well, but if you’re gonna have a female pastor, you ought to pay her the same as you would a male pastor. No woman should be paid less than a man in the same role simply because she’s a woman.

  4. Kent says:

    Couldn’t you come up with a better question?

    • Todd Rhoades says:

      probably. But I haven’t heard anybody here weigh in yet on whether they do or don’t pay equally between men and women.



  5. Peter says:

    It’s not okay to pay women less. No way.

  6. Stacy says:

    I don’t think women should be paid less for any job. My question on this issue is at those churches where the senior pastor is making $82K a year, what are the other ministers such youth pastor and worship pastor being paid.

  7. Holly says:

    We pay our female Director of Children’s Ministries more than our male Youth Pastor. That’s because she’s been there longer and our children’s department is much larger than the jr/sr high group.

  8. Erin says:

    On paper, our pastoral positions aren’t “equal” so they’re not paid equally, regardless of the gender of the person filling the appointment. Should we be appointed a female senior pastor, she would be paid what we pay our senior pastor.

  9. Betsy says:

    As a bivocational FEMALE pastor and Human Resourse Administrator in the private sector, I think I can address this issue. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits discrimination based on gender for wages and benefits, where men and women perform the work of similar skill, effort and responsibility for the same employer under similar working conditions. There are ways to get around that but they are unethical which translates as “sinful”. Todd said it’s not a debate onwhether you think a female should pastor. God called me to preach, I answered. He told me He would handle my critics. Take it up with God. He fights my battles. When I stand before God to account for my ministry He is not going to count testicles. He’s going to count souls.

  10. Marty Boller says:

    Does anybody know how much Jesus was paid for His 3 years of pastoral ministry? :0)

  11. Tim Viola says:

    Do you think that 28% number might be a little bit skewed because it includes senior pastors? I have nothing against women in ministry or women as senior pastors, however I think there is an overwhelmingly large difference in the number of men senior pastors to women senior pastors. That would obviously make a huge difference in what men vs. women in ministry make. What would the difference in salaries be if the senior pastor role was excluded? My guess is that it would be a lot closer.

  12. Leigh says:

    Not many of us want to whine, but there are also many women pulling a lot of weight in the church working for nothing or “treasure in heaven” because we believe in what we do. So we will keep doing what we do, but appreciate anyone who is willing to take a closer look at the issue! On a side note, I once read that male business execs who have more egalitarian views of women in the workplace also make less on average. Go figure!

  13. i MADE AS SENIOR PASTOR $300 A WEEK. I teach a Sunday Bible class. Preach Sunday Morning and Sunday Night, and again on Wednesday Night. Have all the duties of any pastor. I have never made more that $400 per week. I work just as hard as any pastor in America. I love what I do, God’s grace is so good to have called me to teach his word.

    God has never called a woman to preach or pastor a church.

    • Tim Viola says:

      “God has never called a woman to preach or pastor a church.”

      That is a VERY dangerous comment to make.

      You can speak for God on His call on every, single woman for all time?

      • Dennis says:

        Thank you Tim! I was afraid I might explode if I had to respond… LOL

      • Tim

        My mother was training to be a preacher when she meet my father. She knew her bible, she could have become a Paula White.

        Nevertheless, Mom became a wonderful helper to my Dad in ministry. God calls us to do His will. My Mom roll in ministry was no less than my Dad.

        Scripture seems to say, God has a special roll for the man and the woman.

        Yes I believe God has never called a woman to pastor a church. But He has called many a woman to be teachers.

        • I would challenge you to research who it was that pastored Timothy. Paul makes specific reference to them. Also, when Israel was a theocracy and ruled by Judges, you might want to research Deborah. Regarding what I’m assuming is a very surface level interp of 1 Corinthians 14:34,35 and 1 Timothy 2:11,12, I would caution you that a text without a context is a pretext. please look more closely at the context of those passages. Especially after you consider the praise Paul gave to the ones who pastored Timothy.

  14. Dennis says:

    Please remember $83,000 a year for a minister is the same as about $110,000 for regular people with all the tax advantages. Maybe we have gone too far?

    • Mike says:

      You must be one of those regular people as you call them. Or you don’t live in MN because there isn’t as you put it all the tax advantages here.

      • Dennis says:

        They are federal tax advantages for ministers. Doesn’t matter what state you live in, Ask any tax consultant. The advantages are massive…. I know, and I was shocked when i re-entered the “regular” world.

  15. Pastor Phil says:

    Women should never be paid less than a man. If the job is being completed, if the work is excellent unto the Lord then why would the pay be any different for a man or wom


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