By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Having served on a church personnel committee in the past I know the challenges of trying to determine salaries and benefits for church staff. It’s not an easy task. Church staff members are under the same pressure to support their families as is someone who works in any other profession. Yet, it is imperative to work within the resources of the church.
Unfortunately, church members sometimes have the mindset that because the staff is involved in ministry, they should not make as much money as the people in the pews. Well, the last time I looked, the grocery stores in Nashville charge the same amount for food for ministers as they do for everyone else.
Every couple of years, LifeWay Christian Resources, GuideStone Financial Resources, and Baptist state conventions combine forces to produce a compensation study to help committees determine pay and benefit packages.
The 2018 study is complete. See summary on page 8 and a full story about it (“SBC Pastor Salaries Not Keeping Pace With Inflation”) on the B&R website at www.baptistandreflector.org.
More importantly, the study can be accessed by church leaders and personnel committees. The information provided by this study is invaluable in determining compensation for pastors, staff ministers and other staff members. The study can be accessed at LifeWay.com/CompensationSurvey.
What makes this a useful tool for churches is that a church can customize a report based on size, membership, attendance or budget. It will pull information from churches of comparable size to provide an average compensation package and average pay package.
Be sure to study and understand the information provided by the study. It explains the differences between compensation and pay packages and provides a wealth of information that churches need to be aware of.
The compensation study will allow committees to compare salaries of specific ministerial positions such as music/worship ministers, youth ministers, education ministers, etc. It can be compared only to similar size churches in Tennessee or it can include surrounding states or even the SBC as a whole.
Churches have an obligation to provide for their pastors and ministers and church staff. Do your homework and offer a package that provides for the needs of your pastor and church staff. They are your best resources in reaching your community with the gospel of Christ.
Remember this admonition from I Timothy 5:18 (KJV): “… The laborer is worthy of his reward” or as the Holman Christian Standard Bible translates, “wages.”
Pray for your church as it budgets for the coming year. God wants us to be good stewards of the resources He has provided.