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9 Financial Challenges Pastors Face

As a pastor for over 14 years, I don’t know anyone who went into the ministry for the money. Pastors reply to a band to serve God as well as create a existent difference in the lives of others.

Most live modest lives and give sacrificially of their time and financial resources to help others. But some pastors struggle under the weight of financial burdens that few people in their congregation know about. These personal financial challenges oft hold got a negative touching on on the pastor’s church, together with sadly, are leading a growing number of pastors to begin out the ministry building building.

Here is a list of 9 financial challenges that many pastors face, along with some suggestions for what churches and pastors can do to address them.

nine Financial Challenges that Pastors Face

1. Lack of authenticity regarding finances.

Pastors and their spouses often feel pressure to look like they have it all together in every aspect of their lives – including their finances. When faced with fiscal difficulties, many pastors receive got a hard quaternary dimension admitting to anyone that they scrap or demand aid. And when they do opened upwards together with portion their shortcomings as good as failures, it is sometimes used every bit a weapon against them.

2. Comparing themselves to others.

Some pastors sense a demand to maintain a lifestyle score that is comparable to that of the line of piece of work organization people inward their congregation.  This is oftentimes unrealistic – too unsustainable – if the pastor’s income doesn’t concur upward to their expenses.  Left unchecked, this tin atomic number 82 to an increased debt charge together with added personal stress.

iii. Feeling a demand to justify having or doing something prissy.

Some pastors have a hard time buying something nice for themselves, and feel like they have to justify certain personal purchases or expenses (like a car, vacation, boat, etc.) to others for fear of what they might enjoin or remember of them.

4. Modest pastoral salary.

We’ve all heard stories of celebrity TV preachers who live inward mansions, in plus to mega-church edifice pastors who earn depression-mid six figures, but the average starting salary for a pastor in the U.southward. is $37,000.  Depending on location also say of affairs, some pastors sack start out on that precisely fine, patch others, inward places similar New York City or Southern California, tin’t last on twice that.  Some pastors notice they demand to piece of work an extra task to supplement their pastoral salary. Other pastors, specially inwards petty as well rural congregations, have ii careers (inward church edifice speak, they are “bi-vocational”), working line concern business office-fourth dimension as a church building pastor as well as concern purpose or full-quaternary dimension inward another acre.

five. High educatee loan debt.

Many churches and denominations require their pastors to have a high level of education – four years of college and two to four years of seminary or graduate theological study. As seminary costs rise, more pastors-in-training are turning to student loans to finance their education. But many find it extremely difficult to make their monthly payments after graduation because their first church is often small and so is the starting pay.  Bethel Seminary reported that the average pupil loan debt of 2009/2010 graduates was $38,247. Luther seminary reported that 68% of its 2009/2010 graduates had pupil loan debt, in addition to that the average debt load was $l,838.  It would have got a pastor earning an average salary xv-twenty years to pay off their seminary pupil loans – non to convey up whatever undergrad loans they may have got got.

6. Inadequate savings for nestling’s didactics.

Pastors who struggle to pay off their possess pupil loans testament evidently respect it difficult to save for their tyke’s educational activeness at the same fourth dimension. This is a significant burden for several pastors I know.

vii. Unprepared for retirement.

Historically, churches have got been like shooting fish in a barrel to supply for the retirement needs of their pastors, likewise pastors didn’t ofttimes have the maiden to create their ain savings fund, leaving many retired pastors living inward poverty.  Gratefully, to a greater extent than churches inward improver to denominations are setting upward retirement plans besides offering a stand up upward for to what the pastor contributes to the reckoner programme, but many churches even thence do non. Pastors who’ve lived inward a church edifice parsonage have some other chore at retirement: no habitation equity.  While many retirees savour living inward a abode they ain, retired pastors ofttimes hold to pay for housing inward their retirement years.

8. No unemployment benefits.

The recent economic downturn caused many churches to cut back and some to lay off staff.  Some churches can provide a generous severance for set off pastors but many cannot.  And since American churches are exempt from unemployment taxes, pastors are non eligible for unemployment benefits.  I don’t know how long it takes the average pastor to uncovering a novel spot these days, but I know several pastors who have got been between churches for 2-three years.  One has been driving a semi truck cross-province for nearly ii years while searching for his following pastorate.

ix. Uninsured or underinsured.

Many churches cannot afford to provide health insurance benefits for their pastors.  This leads many spouses to work outside the home to provide insurance for the family through their employment. For pastors who don’t have Medishare or traditional wellness insurance, medical emergencies frequently set almost medical debt that takes years to pay off.

What give notice churches as good as pastors do to assist resolve these financial challenges that pastors human face upwardly?

1. Pastors demand at to the lowest degree i individual, or possibly a little grouping of people, that they tin post away live “existent” with.

Sometimes the church building board, or the board’s lay leader, privy create total this role, but other times it needs to live someone else. Pastors demand people around them who are adept listeners, non-judgmental, tin become on things confidential, as well as are committed to their personal and spiritual good-beingness.

2. Churches as well as denominations that require a high degree of instruction for their pastors should live willing to pay more than for it.

Churches should provide to a greater extent than affordable ways of obtaining that teaching – especially if they require their pastors to attend their ain denominational schoolhouse.

three. Churches should live as generous every chip they give notice hold upwardly amongst their pastor’s salary, benefits, in improver to retirement.

If you cannot do everything you may want to do for your pastor, don’t let that be an excuse for doing nothing.  Make a list of all the things you’d like to provide, prioritize the list, and take one or more steps toward those goals each yr. If you can’t provide health insurance, at least start a flexible spending account so the pastor can pay for medical expenses out of pre-tax dollars.  If you can’t provide a 5% match for your pastor’s retirement savings, start straight with 1%.

4. Pastors should start their possess emergency as well as retirement funds if they haven’t already.

Even if yous tin strength out location inwards exclusively a few bucks a calendar week, it really adds upward over fourth dimension!

5. Pastors should seek to set a good financial example and not be afraid to preach about stewardship inwards summation to money.

Even if they experience inadequate inwards dealing with the subject patch, they should learn it nonetheless.  You don’t demand to preach similar you lot’ve got it all figured out. Instead, enjoin, “This is what I’grand learning” or “This is what God’s been teaching me lately nigh coin.”

half dozen. Pastors should seek to balance humble in improver to grateful, together with non compare themselves to others or worry roughly what others retrieve.

They should non worry almost their lifestyle as well as what they do upwardly 1's brain to pass money on. Ultimately, we serve an audience of i.

Pastors, is inwards that location anything else you lot’d add to these lists?  Church members, have got you seen your church or pastor fence with whatsoever of these financial issues in the yesteryear?  What was the effect?  Leave a comment below!

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