By Jessica Griggs for Mennonite Church USA
ELKHART, Indiana (Mennonite Church USA) — Each April, the Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) Church Vitality office and Everence collaborate to update the Pastor Salary Guidelines (PSG). These guidelines aid pastors, congregations, pastoral search committees and conferences in negotiating fair compensation for pastors and conference ministers. The updated 2023-2024 PSG and other resources can be found here.
The PSG begins with a base salary and uses the pastor’s experience, education, geographical location, and other life and congregational circumstances to gauge an appropriate salary for their situation. This figure is intended to be a starting point for pastors and congregations to negotiate salary and should be considered the minimum salary for fair compensation. There are three ways the PSG can be used: an online questionnaire that takes the user through each question, step by step; via a print worksheet; or via a spreadsheet that can be filled out and saved directly to the user’s computer.
Rachel Ringenberg Miller, MC USA’s denominational minister of ministerial leadership, said, “If, as a pastor, you are experiencing anxiety around negotiating your salary, reach out to your conference minister. Your conference minister can offer guidance and support and can advocate on your behalf.”
Updates to the 2023-2024 PSG and interpretive comments include:
- Base salary. The 2023-2024 PSG increased the base salary and unit value by 8%, to adjust for inflation, based on government data.
- Seminary debt. Congregations are recommended to increase the salary by $1,000-$3,000 for pastors still paying off seminary debt, for the remainder of the life of the loan.
- Covered technological expenses. Congregations should provide the pastor with the technology necessary to do their work and compensate them for using their personal cell phone for work.
- 40-hour work week. Pastors may work more than 40 hours some weeks and less other weeks, but the average should work out to be 40 hours per week.
- Parental/family and medical leave. Congregations are required to offer up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for specific medical needs. The updated PSG recommends that congregations offer eight of those weeks as paid leave and allow the other four weeks to be covered by the pastor’s vacation and sick time.
Bill Hartman, Everence’s vice president of Organizational Services, said, “Everence believes each year’s updates are important for congregations and the pastors who serve them. This year seems especially important, given the economic picture we are experiencing. The Pastor Salary Guidelines provide a platform for open and informed conversation regarding compensation between pastors and their congregations.”
“We recognize that not all congregations are able to follow the PSG. If this is the case for your congregation, brainstorm other ways you can support your pastor,” Ringenberg Miller said. “For example, one Sunday a quarter, the congregation could commit to the preparation and implementation of the worship service to allow the pastor a Sunday without formal pastoral duties. Or perhaps, the church can give the pastor a half day off each month for renewal and rest. I also encourage the congregation to share the congregation’s situation with the conference minister and ask for their suggestions.”
Everence, an agency of MC USA, helps individuals, organizations and congregations integrate finances with faith through a national team of professionals. Everence.com
Mennonite Church USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 517 congregations and almost 52,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 59 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana, and Newton, Kansas. mennoniteUSA.org