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General Interest

What Is Ministry Compensation?

By January 10, 2017 No Comments

By Warren Bird

I remember visiting a missionary who had a big sign in his work space: “The pay ain’t great but the benefits are out of this world.”

Several years ago we did a “staff satisfaction” report from 34 larger churches. It concluded that the main motivation behind you or me deciding to work for a church or non-profit, and then staying there year after year, is mission:  we believe in what God is doing there, and want to be part of that calling.  Specifically, survey participants gave the top rank to compelling vision and rewarding work.

But what about money? One great place to understand more about salary and benefits in larger churches is a report we did titled “12 Salary Trends Every Church Leader Should Know.” You’ll find both a free executive summary and a paid longer, more in-depth version.

Here’s how we look at salary and benefits in that report. In short:  Cash Compensation + Noncash = Overall Total Compensation.

– Cash – Wages, Housing Allowance and Bonuses
– Noncash – Everything else of value paid or given to the employee
(Examples of noncash compensation are health and life insurance, retirement, deferred compensation, auto allowance, club memberships, cell phone, and personal use of church assets of a nominal amount.)

To see these reports and many other related compensation resources, please take a look at leadnet.org/salary.

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Warren Bird

Author Warren Bird

Warren Bird, Ph.D. has been named a Leadership Network Senior Fellow in light of his exemplary service 2006-2018 as Director of Research and Intellectual Capital Development at Leadership Network. He serves as full-time VP of Research for ECFA.org (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). An ordained minister with background as both a pastor and seminary professor, Warren is an award-winning author or co-author of 31 books for ministry leaders including Hero Maker with Dave Ferguson, How to Break Church Growth Barriers with Carl George, and Next: Pastoral Succession that Works with William Vanderbloemen. Other recent titles are Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work with Jim Tomberlin, and Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller. Some of Warren’s recent online reports include "Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard," and "The Heartbeat of Rising Influence Churches." See also research reports at leadnet.org/megachurchleadnet.org/salary and leadnet.org/portable. He is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading researchers of megachurches, multisite churches, large church compensation and high-visibility pastoral succession. He also oversees the world's only active, sortable list of global megachurches. Follow him on Twitter @warrenbird.  Click here to subscribe to Leadership Network Advance to get updates from Leadership Network.

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