This is not an angry post about how pastors are practically stealing money from their churches by accepting large salaries.
The Leadership Network completed a study of salaries among mega-church pastors, finding that among churches with 2,000+ weekly attendees the salary of the lead pastor can range from $40,000 to $400,000, with the average coming in at $90,000. I’m tempted to post how many times more that pastor makes than me working 60 hours a week at two jobs as a drug & alcohol counselor, but I’ll refrain.
Now the study admits it is not “statistically accurate for all large churches,” but was more of a sampling of the greater trends in North America’s mega churches.
Like I said, I’m sure most of the initial responses to these findings included some sort of judgment and/or outrage at how much money pastors are earning. But a post on that would be boring – you could probably guess each sentence before you read it.
So just how much is too much for a pastor to make? Since our gut reaction is that is too much – well then what dollar figure is the boundary line?
And just like that you have jumped head long into legalism – where one amount is perfectly fine and a dollar more demands instant judgment. Geez it’s so effortless!
For me, instead of debating over the correct salary for a pastor let me say this – the guys running those mega churches deserve every dollar they get. For what they are doing – that’s a fair figure. I can’t even imagine the innumerable headaches involved with keeping thousands of people coming back (and waking up early no less!) to hear you lecture each week. With today’s hostile climate to spirituality and Christianity in particular – that’s no easy task.
Now I said for what those pastors are doing, they are worth $90,000. However that entire system is flawed. You can run the bases quickly and efficiently even if its from third base to second.
So I totally think pastors deserve that much money when they are juggling corporate-like church organizations, managing millions of dollars in donations appropriately as well as an enormous staff team, coming up with interesting topics to preach on in the middle of a big production put on WEEKLY – all the while spiritually counseling and keeping close tabs on God.
That’s all well and good if you think that is the mission and purpose of the church and it’s pastors. Then yes, pay them handsomely. But maybe the church was never meant to be a big show and a big machine. Maybe it was intended to be nearly the opposite…