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

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