The Hard Truth About Pastors' Pay
Published December 5, 2018
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    We’re in the midst of what could be a significant transition for American pastoral salaries. A lawsuit challenging the longstanding clergy housing allowance is in the court of appeals. Last year’s tax reform bill made significant changes to the standard deduction, which could have dramatic effects for the level of giving churches have historically relied upon. As CT Pastors recently reported, “staffing costs typically account for 45 to 55 percent of a church’s budget. But with recent changes in costs, demographics, and giving in US churches, many are questioning that model.” Beyond these larger changes, churches, whether part of denominations or nondenominational, have long struggled with knowing how to fairly compensate pastors and other employees, says Brian Kluth, who currently leads the National Association of Evangelical’s Financial Health initiative, which seeks to improve the financial health of pastors and church. “There are real critical pay issues for people in church and really at all levels and all genders,” said Kluth. Kluth joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the inconsistent ways pastors are compensated, how American Christian giving (or lackthereof) affects this conversation, and the perks and breaks pastors receive and how they should be considered when determining salary.
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