Salary & Guidelines

For District Congregation Presidents and Treasurers

Dear Brothers in Christ,

Here, you can find a copy of the 2021 Pastoral Salary Guidelines table. These guidelines were approved by the Atlantic District Board of Directors at their October meeting. These guidelines are applicable for next calendar year, beginning in January 2021. Since most congregations prepare their budgets on an annual basis, we strive to provide salary guidelines in the Fall to provide appropriate planning time for all congregations and other ministries.

The following paragraphs are to assist you in formulating a practical compensation package for your pastor. The figure in the salary guidelines table is a starting point to reach this goal. Items addressing housing and other adjustments are explained below.

  • Salary Table: The table indicates salary guidance that includes two points: Cost of Living and the Pastor’s years of experience. Even if a congregation cannot meet the appropriate salary level for their pastor as outlined by the guidelines, the congregation is encouraged to provide yearly increases in accord with these two points. To reflect the rising cost of living, the guidelines were increased this year by 1.9% based upon the rate of inflation in the Consumer Price Index (as of August 2019).
  • Congregational Discretionary Adjustments: In addition to the annual changes, congregations may want to make adjustments in conjunction with specific ministries unique to their congregation. For example, does the pastor supervise a large staff? Serve a congregation with a school? Etc... The salary should be adjusted to compensate his service in these areas. Housing, Health and Retirement are provided by the congregation in addition to, but not part of the salary. The congregation is encouraged to financially support items such as Continuing Education, Professional Memberships, and Conferences.
  • Housing Allowance: Each congregation is expected to provide a means of housing for their pastor. This can be in the form of a parsonage or monetary compensation to rent or to purchase a home in accord with the fair market value of the community.

    In addition, it is almost always advantageous to declare a portion of a pastor's salary as "housing allowance." Current IRS regulations allow pastors to deduct expenditures that are used to provide a home. Deductible expenditures can include rent or a house payment, utilities, furnishings, repairs, and other home-related expenses. The housing allowance designation is a way of categorizing a portion of a pastor's salary specifically for housing needs, and does not affect the level of a pastor's compensation recommended by the salary guidelines. The pastor determines the portion of his salary declared as housing allowance. This amount is approved by the congregation and recorded appropriately.
  • Starting Year: The salary guidelines reflect the years of pastoral experience. Year one is the figure used for the candidate newly ordained into the pastoral office. It is important that the congregation is well aware of the number of years a pastor is ordained to make an appropriate compensation package.

Evaluating pastoral compensation is a vital method by which congregations and the district attract, compensate, and support our pastors who are essential to our mission and ministry. Task Force 3 and the Atlantic District leadership appreciate the dedication of so many individuals and committees in congregations throughout the district in addressing this important issue.

The District is currently evaluating a new tool that will provide salary data based on the location of the church. This will be a tool that is located on the internet. It would provide data from Concordia Plan Services as well as other sources and provide salary suggestions based on these many factors. This tool will be evaluated and shared in 2021 after approved by the Atlantic District Board of Directors.

If you have questions or concerns about the guidelines, please contact the district office or any member of Task Force 3.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Derek Lecakes
President/Bishop of the Atlantic District

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