Pastor’s Salaries – How much is too much?

Like I stated in my annual conference post, the most heated discussion this year was around the salaries of the cabinet. In the Western North Carolina E-News it was reported the final numbers.

Cabinet salary clarified following change at annual conference: The cabinet salary for 2009 was approved at $97,971 with 18 positions scheduled to earn that salary: 15 district superintendents, assistant to the bishop, director of connectional ministries and conference treasurer. During 2008, 20 staff positions are earning the cabinet salary: 2 have been eliminated from that salary level for 2009. The two positions no longer at the cabinet level salary are the conference secretary and director of congregational development. The annual conference increased the cabinet salary by the December 2007 cost of living (4.08 percent) plus 2 percent for merit. The total increase was 6.08 percent over the current $92,356.

Now, the cabinet doesn’t make the most money in the conferece. There are about 30 other ministers who make equal or more than this salary level within the conference. In our conference there are 15+ ministers who make a six digit salary. As the debate raged at AC I wondered what is a suitable salary? The minium salary for an ordained elder of the conference has for the first time broken the $40,000 mark. It was quoted at AC that the medium salary is around $63,000.

With all this said, I do realize that what is on paper is not what we really get paid. UM pastors are hammerd with taxes, roughly 35%. Rumor has it the IRS has a special section for the “Self-employeed Employees” aka: UM pastors.

How much is too much to get paid to do ministry? I can only talk about the UM system because that is all I know. I am sure there are other ministers out there that get paid more than our highest paid minister…but should they. Can we do ministry and live comfortable at $40K?$50K? $60K? $90K? $150K? When is it too much?