National Survey Reveals Compensation Trends for Church Staff

Benefits such as retirement and health insurance often vary by position on church staffs.
Benefits such as retirement and health insurance often vary by position on church staffs. (iStock photo )

A recent national survey of pastors and church staff reveals that benefits vary significantly from one position to the next. This is especially true for health insurance and retirement programs.

The numbers of church staff receiving health insurance varied from 46 percent to 75 percent, depending on the position. A similar gap is seen among those reported receiving retirement benefits (35 percent to 64 percent). Part-time staff members receive fewer fringe benefits.

This survey, conducted and compiled by Christianity Today and reported on in the 2016-2017 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff, is based on survey data from more than 2,500 churches, representing over 8,000 staff members. Staff members in 15 different positions, ranging from senior pastors to administrative assistants, reported on their total compensation package, including details such as salary, housing allowance/parsonage, retirement, life insurance, health insurance, and continuing education allowances.

Senior pastors and executive/administrative pastors rank at the top in total compensation plus benefits. Music/choir/worship pastors/directors and solo pastors receive the next highest compensation amounts, followed generally by adult ministry/Christian education pastors/directors and youth pastors. Associate pastors and administrators come next, with an almost equal average compensation.

The comprehensive results and analysis for this year's survey are featured in the 2016-2017 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff. The complete analysis includes breakdowns based on church denomination, income budget, size, and geographical setting. To order your copy, visit or call 800-222-1840.

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