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Poor Pastors—Literally?

Pastors and money—it’s not a subject you hear a lot about.  But the July/August 2016 Christianity Today noted a survey from the National Association of Evangelicals on Pastors and their money.  Here are some of the interesting findings:

  • 29% had no money in personal savings
  • 33% had less than $10,000 in retirement
  • 92% worry about their retirement savings
  • 84% worry about their emergency funds
  • 83% worry about making major purchases
  • 54% worry about being able to send their children to college

On a more positive front, 61% were mostly satisfied with their compensation with 45% feeling that their financial position was better than their peers.  Notwithstanding these positive notes, 36% of pastors considered leaving the ministry altogether for financial reasons.

This survey raises some troubling questions.  Consider:

  • Do we believe that it’s okay for our pastors to live on lower salaries simply because they are in ministry?
  • Do we believe that it would be proper for a pastor to earn the same or similar salary as a business person running an organization with the appropriate people and business challenges?
  • What is the impact upon congregations when a pastor worries about money, retirement, college etc?
  • Should anything be changed?

I’ll be interested to hear your comments.

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. » Learn More. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously.

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