Church salaries comprise a growing percentage of church budget allocations. Large churches spent 52 percent of their total budgets on staff salaries in 2018, compared to 49 percent in 2016, according to data from the biennial Large Church Salary Survey conducted by Leadership Network.
As Church Law & Tax has previously reported, churches have no legal obligation to disclose salaries to the public or to church members. Even where denominations ask for pastor salary data in annual reports, they often do not require the salaries to be itemized by person, said Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).
As a result, it is often up to the church leaders at individual churches to decide how transparent they will be about salaries. Where churches report salaries to their congregations, they most often take the form of a lump sum that includes all salaries and fringe benefits and are not itemized by individual, Busby said.