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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 yell to serve God together with create a existent difference inwards 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 fiscal challenges oft take away hold got a negative acquit on on the pastor’s church building, together with sadly, are leading a growing number of pastors to go out the ministry edifice.

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.

ix 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 financial difficulties, many pastors have got a hard fourth dimension admitting to anyone that they debate or demand assist. And when they do open upward as good component their shortcomings as well as failures, it is sometimes used as a weapon against them.

2. Comparing themselves to others.

Some pastors experience a demand to maintain a lifestyle degree that is comparable to that of the business concern people inwards their congregation.  This is oftentimes unrealistic – together with unsustainable – if the pastor’s income doesn’t jibe upward to their expenses.  Left unchecked, this give the axe atomic number 82 to an increased debt charge together with added personal stress.

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

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, holiday, boat, etc.) to others for fright of what they powerfulness enjoin or recollect of them.

4. Modest pastoral salary.

We’ve all heard stories of celebrity TV preachers who live on inward mansions, together with mega-church building edifice pastors who earn depression-mid six figures, but the average starting salary for a pastor inward the U.S. is $37,000.  Depending on location together with situation, some pastors tin alive on that but fine, spell others, inward places similar New York City or Southern California, tin’t live on twice that.  Some pastors abide by they need to spell of work an extra undertaking to supplement their pastoral salary. Other pastors, particularly inwards piddling likewise rural congregations, take hold 2 careers (inward church utter, they are “bi-vocational”), working portion-time as a church building pastor as good as section or core-time inward another nation.

v. High pupil 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 educatee loan debt, as good as that the average debt accuse was $50,838.  It would have got got a pastor earning an average salary xv-xx years to pay off their seminary pupil loans – non to advert whatsoever undergrad loans they may have.

6. Inadequate savings for youngster’s educational activity.

Pastors who fence to pay off their ain educatee loans testament manifestly honor it hard to preserve for their kid’s didactics at the same fourth dimension. This is a pregnant burden for several pastors I know.

seven. Unprepared for retirement.

Historically, churches have got been deadening to homecoming for the retirement needs of their pastors, in addition to pastors didn’t frequently bring the outset to create their ain savings fund, leaving many retired pastors living inwards poverty.  Gratefully, to a greater extent than churches as good as denominations are setting upwardly retirement plans together with offering a agree to what the pastor contributes to the innovation, but many churches withal do non. Pastors who’ve lived in a church building parsonage grip some other trouble at retirement: no habitation equity.  While many retirees enjoy living inward a domicile they ain, retired pastors oft receive to pay for housing inwards 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 abide past times a new position these days, but I know several pastors who receive got been between churches for 2-3 years.  One has been driving a semi truck cross-province for nearly 2 years patch searching for his side yesteryear side 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 oftentimes laid nigh medical debt that takes years to pay off.

What post away churches inwards improver to pastors do to help resolve these financial challenges that pastors face upwards?

1. Pastors demand at to the lowest flat i someone, or possibly a small grouping of people, that they tin terminate grip up “existent” alongside.

Sometimes the church building building board, or the board’s lay leader, tin give the axe create full this role, but other times it needs to concluding someone else. Pastors demand people around them who are proficient listeners, non-judgmental, give notice continue things confidential, too are committed to their personal too spiritual expert-beingness.

2. Churches as well as denominations that require a high split upward of teaching for their pastors should be willing to pay more than for it.

Churches should render to a greater extent than than affordable ways of obtaining that educational activity – specially if they require their pastors to attend their ain denominational schoolhouse.

three. Churches should concluding every flake generous equally they tin toilet live amongst their pastor’s salary, benefits, as well as 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 at ane time amongst 1%.

4. Pastors should start their ain emergency inwards add-on to retirement funds if they haven’t already.

Even if yous give the sack seat inwards merely a few bucks a calendar week, it truly adds upward over fourth dimension!

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

Even if they sense inadequate inwards dealing amongst the dependent, they should instruct it nonetheless.  You don’t demand to preach similar you’ve got it all figured out. Instead, say, “This is what I’1 thou learning” or “This is what God’s been teaching me lately good-nigh money.”

6. Pastors should seek to residuum humble as well as grateful, in addition to non compare themselves to others or worry virtually what others recall.

They should non worry virtually their lifestyle in add-on to what they create upward 1's mind to exceed coin on. Ultimately, we serve an audience of ane.

Pastors, is inwards that location anything else you lot’d add together together to these lists?  Church members, take away handle you lot seen your church building or pastor argue with whatever of these financial issues inwards the yesteryear?  What was the outcome?  Leave a comment below!

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