RESEARCH: Average SBC Lead Pastor pay: $60k – $72k

The average pay of a senior pastor serving a Southern Baptist church in America for 2012 was $60,774.  That’s for pastors that live in church housing.  For those who don’t, the average is more like $72,840.  That doesn’t include cash payments that most pastors get as reimbursements (like for mileage, conference reimbursements, books, etc.

That’s the synopsis from SBC Voices.

LifeWay and GuideStone collaborate on the compensation survey. The  latest is available here.


Does this strike you as high, low, or just right?

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  • janiskw January 9, 2013 Reply

    This is based on pastors who respond to the surveys. My husband doesn’t think this is a right figure. He thinks the lower end people don’t report. The higher end ones have their secretary fill it out.

  • Pastor Tom Smith January 11, 2013 Reply

    I think that janiskw has it right, but not for just that reason. I am a Bi-Vocational Pastor, and according to most of my dealings with other pastors, we are slowly becoming the norm, not just in SBC Churches, but in almost all denominations.

    I did not report my income from the church that I pastor, because there was no place to put a zero. (Is it B-Vocational, if my income is all from outside resources)?

    Don’t get me wrong here, I love my congregation, and I would serve no where else.

    God has purposed my pastor-ship here, where I am, and I am pleased to serve Him here.

    What bothers me though, is people see these figures bandied about, and say to us, “see, you make too much money for just a single day of work”. My week just starts on Sunday, 8:00 am, to 1:00 pm, then again at 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Then Tuesday for 1.5 hrs, Wednesday for 2.5 hrs. Friday for 3.5 hrs.). Not to mention all the hrs. of research and study, counseling, phone calls……. well you get the drift.

    Some seminary student will look at this and say, “Wow, I can make that much by being an SBC pastor! That’s for me………… DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT!

    If you go into pastor-ship for all the right reasons, you will be blessed, go into it for the money, and be sorely disappointed.

    End of rant!

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