Multiplication Center

An Inside Look at Large Church Salaries

September 4, 2012

Published on 9/4/2012

by Warren Bird

Leadership Network’s latest church salary report, just released, is the largest-scale project that anyone has compiled to date on North America’s largest churches. It reports on 209 large churches, including 44 churches with weekend worship attendances of 5,000 and higher.

Here are what I believe to be the most important findings for churches with attendances of 2,000 and higher. They are among the many points highlighted in the executive summary.

  • Senior pastor salaries in very large churches increased 2% per year for the last two years, and 0% per year for the two years before that.
  • Church size – represented by budget and attendance – is the most influential factor in salary differences for congregations of all sizes, including very large churches.
  • Geography and location (suburb, downtown, etc.) affect salary differences, but only mildly.
  • Founding pastors tend to receive higher pay than successor pastors.
  • Senior pastor pay in single site churches is higher than in multisite churches until attendance reaches about 6,000; then multisite churches begin to pay higher.
  • The second-highest paid staff member typically receives 66% of the salary of the senior pastor in very large churches.

To download the 10-page, illustrated executive summary 2012 Large Church Salary Report: Research Trends from Leadership Network, click here.

Leadership Network has been a pioneer in salary, budget, and staffing reports for very largechurches since 2001. To participate in our future surveys (all conducted with highest confidentiality) send an email to research@leadnet.org. Survey participants receive a much fuller report than the public-level executive summary.

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