Pastors lead Christian congregations in churches of all sizes around the globe. For the most part, people may be drawn to this line of work because they have a calling to help others and to serve God. To be fiscally responsible, they will also need to consider how much money they can expect to earn and budget accordingly. Prospective pastors can plan ahead for this by thinking about the area and size of church they want to work at.
Although every house of worship has different needs, you can get a good idea of the job description of a pastor from Mount Calvary Baptist Church. The main focus is congregational care, which includes leading weddings, funerals, counseling, relationship building and crisis care for congregants. Pastors also manage short- and long-term goals to achieve objectives that are in the church's best interest. This can include spearheading fundraisers, hiring staff members, organizing missions or retreats and overseeing classes.
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Day-to-day responsibilities can include leading worship services, preaching sermons and overseeing the services. Many also create and implement budgets and prepare recommendations and proposals for operations. For a small church with a lower church budget, pastors may be tasked with administrative projects. This can help cut back on the need for other church staff.
According to Online Christian Colleges, would-be pastors feel a "call" to the ministry. If you have felt this, arrange to speak with a spiritual leader or local pastor in your community to discuss it further; this person can help you determine if you have indeed found your calling.
The educational requirements for pastors vary depending on the denomination of Christianity, but you can start by becoming involved with your church and attending Bible education classes. While many churches do not require their pastors to have formal education, most want them to have a mentorship and spiritual direction from church leaders.
Larger churches want their pastors to have a bachelor's degree in pastoral studies, biblical literature or theology. These graduates may then obtain positions as pastoral assistants, youth pastors or interim pastors.
Churches have different processes for ordaining their pastors, but you can usually work with your pastor and church to get started. There will be a formal application process, and you may have to attend more classes and go through evaluations. If all goes well, there will be an ordination ceremony, and hopefully, the pastor pay will fit your needs.
Pastors serve as the face of their church and need strong interpersonal skills to be able to forge strong relationships with staff and congregation members. They are often tasked with outreach to the community, particularly at a small church. They may also get involved with marketing projects geared to increase membership and improve the church's reputation.
Job Mobility and Career Growth
How much does a pastor make? Salary.com shows that the average senior pastor pay in the United States is $102,580, with a range of $84,280 to $116,180 for annual salary for full-time pastor jobs. Reach Right Studios shows more variance and shows senior pastor salary by church size.
According to this source, senior pastors with congregations up to 150 members earn $4,800 to $109,000; with churches that have more than 1,200 members, the salary ranges from $92,255 to $189,053. This average pastor salary may be even higher for a megachurch. Note that some pastors may get a housing allowance and health insurance in addition to their salary for a higher total compensation package.
The worship leader salary by church size range was considerably lower, as expected. For up to 500 members, it was $45,999 to $62,745, and for more than 1,200 members, it was $54,022 to $92,291. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the states that have the highest employment levels for clergy members are: New York, California, Oregon, Florida and Texas. The highest clergy salaries are earned in the District of Columbia, California, Washington, New Mexico, and Vermont.
When it comes to career growth, then, the best way to earn more money or gain notoriety as a pastor is to move to a state with higher employment levels or seek a church with a larger congregation.
Data USA states that clergy should see a job growth opportunity between the present and 2030. It expects a 3.98 percent increase in the number of positions available. This is faster than the average of other industries. Indeed states that the role of a youth pastor specifically will see growth of 6 percent between 2018 and 2028.
That said, you won't necessarily be able to find a role in your specific denomination or in your geographic location. Many churches have closed or consolidated over the last 30 years, so you may need to be willing to relocate to find a position in the clergy.
- Online Christian Colleges: How Do You Become a Pastor?
- Salary.com: Senior Pastor Salary in the United States
- Reach Right Studios: The Ultimate Church Compensation And Salary Guide
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 21-2011 Clergy
- Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church: Pastoral Job Description
- Data USA: Clergy
- Indeed: Common Questions About for a Youth Pastor