Salarys of Church Staff – Who Should Know

Here is a touchy subject that most Pastors have to deal with.  Churches most of the time pay the Pastor a salary but some pay by a percentage of the tithes, not offering.   It seems there is little information on this subject so I thought I might write about it since so many people think they have a right to know where their money goes.  Some say the body or church members should know how much their  pastor gets paid from the church, and some say it should never be discussed.  Some say the board has the right to determine the salary and some say it should be from an outside source of headship.

Sometimes I just want to scream of the politics of the system that has crept into the church, how people fight about this issue cause it deals with money, or how board run churches have created a hireling instead of a shepherd.  Much has to do with tradition, man-made ideas or denominational guidelines or bylaws.   I do realize the government policy and the safety issue of the people who attend but when should the people of the church know everything.  Here is my point.

When you go to the Doctor, do you ask him how much his annual income is?  You pay for his services and we give to the insurance company who pays for his services.  Does that give us the right to ask him a personal question because we are paying him or do we trust that he will treat us with respect and make us well with ministering the right medications to our illness?  He earned the choice to be a Doctor.  We pay for his service to meet our need.  We might complain about how much he charges but we know it is for our benefit, right?  So we willingly hand over our money without questioning how much he gets paid.

When we have a painter come to our house to give us a service for painting our walls, do we demand he tell us how much income he earns or do we kindly pay him for his services? With each professional or with each hired contractor we might complain how much it cost but we are willing to pay for the services rendered without ever questioning how much in a year he gets paid.  People all over the world gives money to things without ever questioning it cause they want to give.  Of the other churches in which I was a member, I never asked what the Pastor’s salary was because I was happy to give of my tithes to the Lord as instructed in the word of God.  I trusted in my Pastor to do the right things, make the right judgements and do what is acceptable with the money that came in.

So, here is the issue or the question.  Who should know how much the pastor makes?  I know that if the board sees the pastor as a hireling, they will demand service from him instead of allowing the Pastor to minister service to them.  There is a difference and a control issue.  The board is set up to be a help to the Pastor and to be a help to the members.  The Pastor is a God ordained responsibility to teach, preach and to feed his sheep that God has placed in his life, it is his choice and his call given by God. This is so much more than a hireling for services rendered.  This is a person who watches over souls of man and is accountable to God.  If we trust God shouldn’t we trust a man of good Godly character to lead us?  If not, then it is an issue with lack of trust or a controlling factor.  We kindly place our soul into God’s ordained man but demand to know how much he makes doesn’t make sense, even if you see the only factor of just hiring him to do a job.

Years ago in tradition in which I am sure was man instituted was posted on the back wall along with attendance, offering and such.  This gave people the knowledge of what came into the church.  As tithe paying members, the body of Christ does have the right to know what their hard-earned money goes if they want but I don’t think it is necessary that it should be posted.  Why cause division in the body when they want to argue over what or who gets what or where they think the money should be put.  Money is such a dividing point among the congregation and everyone has an opinion. I think salaries should be a lumped sum of outgoing expenses, not necessarily everyone in the entire church know the pastor’s salary, the music director’s salary, the children’s minister salary or they all would be giving their two cents worth.  I think salaries should be known to the board but not necessarily controlled by the board.    The church should have a profit and loss statement for the board and a finalized report from their CPA of all grouped totals of both.

As to end this quest of pastor’s salary, percentage is what we have chosen.  When we had a congregation of 15 people, our salary was determined by our headship of our pastor since we were a daughter work.  It was 75% of tithes only.  We would turn and pay our tithes back to the church, give extra on top, plus pay for other church expenses, so we really didn’t take home the total percentage.  As our church grew, we have on our own decreased more than four times to the amount to 30% and I am sure continue to decrease as our church continues to grow.  My husband and I believe every couple should have at least four streams of income so we haven’t had to rely on solely the church to feed us or as the only source of income nor let the people control what we make when we believe it is God ordained.  I think sometimes seeing the role in which pastor is hired or told by the board what he can teach or preach sums it up with the itching ears Scripture pertaining the last days.

So in reference to money being the object of this entire scenario, Jesus thought it very important to teach about in over half of his parables along with the warnings.  He tells us to give and give from the heart.  If there is a problem with any money misuse, whether it be from the board, the members or from the pastor it will eventually service and the truth will be manifested.  In the mean time, let God be God, trust Him in putting a shepherd over your soul and give to the works of the Kingdom with a loving attitude cause God already knows who gets what and how much.

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About Melissa Phillips

I never meet a stranger! I love to talk, minister, take pictures and be a friend!
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3 Responses to Salarys of Church Staff – Who Should Know

  1. Melissa Phillips says:

    Upon hearing another pastor preach this in a sermon to other pastors and leaders, his thoughts upon what a pastor should receive is between 20-30% of the tithes that come in. He also had other thoughts on how much should go out for mission and local help.

  2. Christian Bosah says:

    I have read quite a number of comments on pastor’s remuneration and wish to advise that we must all approach this issue with a neighborly attitude knowing that Christ is the owner of all resources and is watching our actions and inactions even as we fellowship especially after He had come and left us a model to follow in the propergation of His good news. Shouldn’t we follow His footsteps in carrying on this mission? Shouldn’t the pastors copy Jesus’s style in humilty and unconditional love? Shouldn’t the church workers or ministers copy the disciples in obedience and commitment while the members copy the early churches in faith and support? The problem we have today was predicted in the scripture when it prophesied we would have FALSE prophets among us and please don’t forget our legal environment today have laws which all must be subjected to. The above premise predisposses the church to ensuring that she observes governmental rules as well as follow the footsteps of Christ who himself enjoins us all to obey the governments of the day. What I see happening these days in some churches are deviations from the afforementioned standards and rules. The life style of some pastors are so glaringly, superfluous, scandalous and definitely lacking in Christlike humilty. Furthemore, the church is not exempt from governmental financial regulations and therefore must file the theirs zero tax returns with the required full disclosure. In other words their should be satutory full disclosure of financial transactions to the IRS and by extension to it’s membership as a means of encouraging more giving in the general sense of it instead of promoting scandal for why should there be any fear for unpleasantness occurring?
    I order that we as a church should set the standards in obedience both in church and government, church’s books must be open to all who care, afertall it’s all public property. Proper accounting at all levels must be demonstrable and open to all members and government. There are life styles that are unjustifiable in the light of the abject poverty that abound in our constituencies. How can we treat the church’s wealth as not belonging to God and as such to be used in the care of His hurting children? How can anybody or church justify the purchase of aircrafts or things of out andish dimesions for personal uses in the light of so much poverty in the world? Did Christ use any aircraft or couldn’t He afford one if he wanted?Of course He could, BUT instead He went and borrowed a mule, why? He wanted to ensure accessability and reach by all who needed Him. He knew that certain lifestyles had the potential of alienating the down trodden and the hurting so He chose to be reachable and accessable all through His ministry. Remember He said in the scripture that the birds have nests and the foxes have holes but that the son of man had no where to lat down his head. The pastors in my humble view have to ensure that they do not receive gifts that have a tendency to bring about avoidable scandal to their mission and stewardship. There is the need to bring about some balancing and letting God be God. If Christ is not the example to follow, then I must have read my bible upside down. I am therefore surprised to hear when the scripture is quoted out of context thus: “……He became poor so that you through His poverty might become rich” 2Cor 8:9. I believe the richness here is not just material richnesss as some would have you believe. Brethren we must return to Christ’s established standards or we will selfdestruct. The prophesy in the srcipture ( Matt.24:4-9 )always should guide our work and walk with Christ. Remain blessed.

  3. Andre says:

    Churches are non profit organizations and thier income comes from donations. Good pastors deserve a decent salary. My church salaries are 70% of our operations. Our current pastor backs payroll but does not attend prayer partners, Tuesday morning bible study that has folks from the community. Makes all finance meetings. We can lose our way as christians when we take our eye off of Jesus and missions. Now we are put into a situation where we have to call in the district superintendent to save our church from going broke because of payroll. Pastors are self employed contractors and thier salaries should be known to the church members. Churches should have the lowest payroll possible so money and time can be devoted to missions.

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