What’s the Best Way for a Pastor to Negotiate His Salary?

Dave Harvey | March 15, 2017

A pastor talking salary can be awkward stuff. Annual incomes are, after all, the things of earth; unspiritual and unbecoming—far from the meditations of the heavenly minded minister. Or so it seems. Why not just parade his sex life before the elders too!

In the world of wages, pastors inhabit some pretty conflicted space.

On the one hand, a pastor must “manage his household well” (1 Tim. 3:4). This certainly includes managing finances in such a way that bills are paid and the family is clothed, fed, and able to travel in a dependable car made in the 21st century. On the other hand, a pastor must not be “a lover of money” (1 Tim. 3:3). We can expect “enough” (1 Cor. 9:8–11), yet we can’t be greedy for gain (Titus 1:7)—a distinction far easier to espouse than discern. The church should desire an unmuzzled pastor (1 Tim. 5:18), yet the pastor can’t determine what muzzled means.

It’s the “salary strain,” an occupational hazard that seems to come with ministry. If navigated unwisely, it can introduce suspicion and stall the church’s momentum toward the future.

So what’s the best way for a pastor to negotiate his salary? Here are six random thoughts I hope will be…

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