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…




  • Pete Scribner October 25, 2011 Reply

    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

    • alsy01 April 9, 2013 Reply

      Actually the Bible does not say that. The passge you are refrencing has to do with a particular time and place.

  • Pete Scribner October 25, 2011 Reply

    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.

  • Jared October 25, 2011 Reply

    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.

  • Kent October 25, 2011 Reply

    Couldn’t you come up with a better question?

    • Todd Rhoades October 25, 2011 Reply

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



  • Peter October 25, 2011 Reply

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

  • Stacy October 25, 2011 Reply

    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.

  • Holly October 25, 2011 Reply

    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.

  • Erin October 25, 2011 Reply

    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.

  • Betsy October 25, 2011 Reply

    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.

    • missional girl October 25, 2011 Reply

      Yes and amen to EVERYTHING you said.

  • Marty Boller October 25, 2011 Reply

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

    • Adam Reynolds July 9, 2013 Reply

      Enough to where he needed a treasurer (Judas) who was able to steal from the treasury and the ministry was still able to operate

  • Tim Viola October 25, 2011 Reply

    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.

  • Leigh October 26, 2011 Reply

    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!

  • Charles e. Whisnant October 26, 2011 Reply

    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 October 27, 2011 Reply

      “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 October 27, 2011 Reply

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

      • Charles Whisnant October 29, 2011 Reply


        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.

        • Adam Reynolds July 9, 2013 Reply

          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.

  • Dennis October 26, 2011 Reply

    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 December 30, 2011 Reply

      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 December 30, 2011 Reply

        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.

  • Pingback: What Your Local Church Should Know: BiVo Doesn’t Mean The Pastor Is Not Paid « Hello, My Name Is Doug

  • Pastor Phil January 24, 2012 Reply

    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

  • Pingback: Consider Classic Audemars Replica Timepieces

Leave a Reply

16 Total Shares
Current Events Humor Leadership Staffing
Businessman running in a hurry with many hands holding time, smart phone, laptop, wrench, papernote and briefcase, business concept in very busy or a lot of work to do.
Pastors Don’t Own the Church and Churches Don’t Own Pastors

Timothy Paul Jones writes that a deacon saved his ministry and...

Content Distribution Is Changing And So Must the Church

How people interact with content and institutions is changing, but that...

Soup Kitchen Shut Down for Two Months and Came Back Stronger

Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn had plans to feed 25 people...