Help & Info
- +The ChurchSalary Team
We are a team of editors, marketers, designers, church compensation experts, and IT professionals. We work hard to keep ChurchSalary evolving and offering the best compensation resources available for churches—and we power it all with the National Church Compensation Survey. Our offices are at Christianity Today’s headquarters in Carol Stream, Illinois.
- +ChurchSalary and the Lilly Endowment
ChurchSalary is made possible through funding from the Lilly Endowment Inc. As part of Lilly's "National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders," ChurchSalary is committed to helping church leaders and pastors develop an atmosphere of healthy financial stewardship in the area of church compensation.
- +Our Mission and Vision
ChurchSalary was born out of the National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. Extensive research across theological lines and geographical locations in the US shows that in many cases, if not most, pastors are facing serious financial stresses and obstacles. Some key research findings include that pastors’ compensation contribute to these challenges, including experiencing high levels of financial anxiety, struggling to make ends meet, and considering a future outside of ministry in order to alleviate their financial strains.
Obstacles to fair pay abound; many are legitimate while some aren’t. But the effect is the same: a serious burden for church workers and their families that can make a tough vocation even harder and ultimately hurt ministry.
We believe when those employed to serve in the church are paid adequately and fairly through a culture of generosity and blessing, they’re free to focus on the good work of ministry. The result? Ministry flourishes. It’s that simple.
- +ChurchSalary: From Church Law & Tax
ChurchSalary is a resource of Church Law & Tax that addresses compensation in the unique setting of church ministry. Our team has been serving churches in the legal, financial, and administrative areas for over 30 years. We get it. That’s why we have a heart—and the expertise—to help both churches and those who serve in them set fair pay.
- +ChurchSalary: Part of the Christianity Today Network
ChurchSalary is a resource for all churches of any denominational affiliation or theological stripe. We serve evangelical and mainline Protestant churches, Catholic and Orthodox, conservative and liberal. Church compensation and its effects on ministry span them all.
We’re also proud to be a part of Christianity Today International, a global media ministry. Christianity Today’s cause is “Beautiful Orthodoxy”—to strengthen the church by richly communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. At ChurchSalary, we do that by focusing on ministry compensation and advocating for fairness, healthy stewardship, open and honest conversations, and great data.
- +How do I download my report?
Once you have confirmed your report criteria, you’ll be notified your salary report is ready. You’ll then be directed to select payment. You can choose to download a single report ($24.95 per report) or you can get all-access to ChurchSalary with unlimited reports ($99 per year). Upon payment, you can view the web version of your report and then select to download in as a PDF.
- +Where are my saved reports?
On the Salary Calculator page there is a blue "My Saved Reports" button above the salary graph. Click the button. This opens any saved reports you have. Simply click the red "PDF" button to see the saved report. To see the saved report loaded on the Salary Calculator page, click the “Create new report” link next to the report's name.
- +How do I rename a report?
On the Salary Calculator page there is a blue "My Saved Reports" button above the salary graph. Click the button. This will open a menu with your most recent reports shown. Find the report you wish to rename here—or click the "View & Manage All Reports" link in the bottom left of this menu to find it. Once you've found the report you wish to rename, simply click the "Rename" button next to the report's current name. Type in the new name and click "Submit." Your report is now saved with the new name.
- +What if my report is not in the Saved Reports?
You may have purchased a report but did not complete the last step, which is View Report. This is the step that saves the report with your login. Please go to this page on ChurchSalary.com and login. If you’ve purchased the report already, it will allow you to view it
Please make sure you open this link in the same browser you used to originally create the report.
You should see that you completed Step 1 and Step 2 but not Step 3. Click on View Report. You will be able to view it, and that will save it in your account.
Manage My Reports
- +Where does ChurchSalary’s data come from?
For the past 20+ years, we’ve conducted a National Church Compensation Survey and provided the results in print format. With the launch of ChurchSalary, we’ve made the survey accessible 24/7 and year-round so that it can continuously update the data feeding the tool.
- +What does the COLA data include?
The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) data we use is based on a cost of living index from the Council for Community and Economic Research. The index uses average costs of over 60 goods and services collected at the local (ZIP-code) level from over 300 independent researchers and is the only local level cost of living index currently available for the US. Our Median Household Income (MHI) index uses the most recent data available from the US Census Bureau.
- +I have a question about the data in a report. Who can I contact?
Send us an email and we’ll reply within 48 hours (weekdays).
- +How often is ChurchSalary’s data updated?
Originally, the National Church Compensation Survey was run every 12 to 18 months. Starting in January 2018, the data will be gathered 24/7, 365 days a year. Updates to the data are incorporated on a regular basis.
- +My position isn’t listed. What should I do?
While our list isn’t exhaustive, we currently have 18 church positions available that we think cover the vast majority of common church positions. We offer descriptions for each on the home page, so browse those if you’re uncertain which one is closest to your own.
If you think we’re missing a crucial position, we want to hear from you! Send us your suggestion by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us more about the role.
- +There isn’t data for my position. What should I do?
We work hard to canvass adequate data for all positions. That said, gathering data for certain positions is a lot easier for some (e.g., Senior Pastor) than for others (e.g. Custodian). If there isn’t data for your paid position in the church, you can do two things.
First—and most importantly—share your data with us! Take our survey. Chances are, others out there in your same role also wish more data was in our database. The only way to make that happen and help others, too, is to share your data with us!
Second—try to approximate a similar position whose data we do have. Job titles vary widely in churches, but another role’s duties may overlap your own, so read the descriptions for each (found on the home page under the Staff Position selection bar) before giving up. If that still doesn’t work, we recommend looking at other secular or nonprofit salary sources, which may help approximate your role.
- +How do I interpret the data?
The curved line on the graph represents our estimate of salaries/pay for the parameters selected given the data from survey responses we have received. You can approximate pay for a position relative to others by finding the salary/pay amount on the curve. (If you input the position's actual salary, it will be shown as a vertical dotted line on the graph.)
The graph includes markers at the 25th percentile, median (50th percentile) and 75th percentile points. If a salary falls on the 25th percentile, that means a person earning that salary would earn more than 25% of similar church workers in that role, according to our data estimates. If a salary falls at the 64th percentile, that person would earn more than 64% of similar workers' salaries. Generally, it is a best practice to keep salary/pay for positions within the 25th–75th percentile range. The median is often considered the target, all things being equal.
- +I’ve got my report. Now what?
Good decisions—and informed conversations—start with objective data. We also offer insights, tips, a worksheet, and guidance in your report. Prayerfully discern your next steps, and don’t be afraid to initiate healthy conversations with your leadership and staff. When it comes to your compensation needs, churches will be able to meet them, be unable but willing to work to meet them over time, or be unable to meet them.
- +Can I get a report that is even more specific to my job duties, location, etc.?
The reports are powered by the National Church Compensation Survey, an ongoing self-reporting survey hosted by ChurchSalary. In order to generate a report, we need sufficient valid surveys for a given church position that also share the same selections for at least some of the same church characteristics, like "church size" and "church budget." Each new category added—like specific job duties or others within your same ZIP code—would narrow the number of results to an insufficient level. The way the tool currently functions allows for cross reference with similar roles across the country without decreasing results to an insufficient level.
Understanding the Data
- +How do I get access to ChurchSalary?
ChurchSalary is a subscription website. If you’re already an annual access subscriber, you’ll need to login on the home page with your Christianity Today network email address and password. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can set up a subscription here.If you purchased a single report in the past, you would have created a login. Using that login will allow you to view your single report online or download a PDF version again.
- +How do I set up my login?
If you are a new subscriber to the network of Christianity Today websites you should have received an email shortly after subscribing, instructing you on how to create your password. Please make sure this did not go into your spam folder. If you did not receive the email, you can click on Forgot Password? link in the Login box and a password reset email will be sent to you.
- +How do I renew my annual access?
You can renew your annual access through customer care.
- +We are a local church and have purchased a subscription to Church Salary. With whom can we share the login?
Your annual membership provides access for everyone in your church, including clergy, board members, a church treasurer, paid staff, volunteer workers, and any other member of a single, local congregation or parish. If you meet together, work together, and worship together at the same site, then you can use the same membership plan. Otherwise, each group needs to purchase its own membership.
- +What is included in my “annual access” membership to ChurchSalary?
With your “annual access” you can run as many reports as you want and store them for future reference. In addition, you have access to articles about compensation and personal finance in our Resources section.