Yes it does, but not exactly how you might guess. The reality is that most Protestant churches in North America are smaller, as the visuals illustrate below. Further, about 80% are plateaued or declining. In those churches where attendance inches downward year after year, salaries typically do not likewise inch downward. Instead they’re more likely to stay relatively level. If any portion of remuneration is the first to get trimmed or frozen, it’s often the benefits. Then major reductions in compensation tend to happen when the church faces a financial challenge or when a staff member is replaced, sometimes by a part-timer or a strategy of combining positions in order to save even more money.
For growing churches, salaries do change, but not quickly in most cases. Significant “growth bursts” in attendance or giving rarely translate into significant salary bursts or even a change in . However, our Leadership Network research has not only documented a long-term relationship in larger churches between growth and salaries, but we can put a number on it: For each $1.00 of annual increase in churchwide giving per attender, the typical executive-level annual salary increases by $15.49.
Our report, “12 Salary Trends Every Church Leader Should Know,” a free download for the executive summary (or fee for the complete report), brought to you by Vanderbloemen Search Group, looks at churches with attendances from 500 to over 30,000. It offers many fascinating insights on the financial dimensions of larger churches, whether or not they are growing. Do take a look!