Church employees—both ordained and lay—devote their time and talents to ministry. With their compassion, experience and vision, they help make the world a better place.
At the center of this effort is the minister. The minister’s work goes far beyond preaching on Sunday and leading a mid-week Bible study. The minister is responsible for attending to both the spiritual health and day-to-day functioning of the congregation.
Leading a community of faith requires widely varying skills—from preaching and teaching to counseling and administration. Churches expect their minister to provide spiritual guidance, effective programming and a vision for the development of the church. For the church to have vital worship, financial stability, effective education and meaningful programs, the minister must also lead the people who serve as staff and volunteers.
Those who attempt great things for God deserve to be esteemed and honored by those who have called them to this service. In Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, he writes, “ . . . respect those who labor among you and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work” (I Thessalonians 5:12-13). By honoring their pastoral leaders, the congregation found peace and spiritual blessing as they worshipped, prayed, shared together and lived out the Gospel message in their secular culture. So it is today.
As congregational leaders, you determine how to compensate your minister and church staff. In doing so, you establish a value for the entire ministry of the church. For this reason, as a church leader, you have the responsibility to provide for the financial needs of your pastoral staff to the best of the congregation’s ability. The New Testament makes clear that those who serve in ministry deserve compensation for their labors.
For over 100 years, MMBB has counseled churches and faith-based organizations about compensation and related matters. It is as true today as when MMBB was founded that both churches and their ministers benefit from a deliberate process to determine salaries, benefits and expense reimbursement policies. This booklet gives you the benefit of that experience by providing suggestions on how to determine and review compensation, how the Internal Revenue Code affects compensation and how to build your church’s pastoral staff budget.
From the 2012 MMBB Guide for Church-Related Employers. For the full guide, please visit our Download Documents & Resources section.