For District Congregation Presidents and Treasurers
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Please find this copy of the 2023 Pastoral Salary Guidelines Table - These guidelines were approved by the Atlantic District Board of Directors at the December meeting. These guidelines are applicable for next calendar year, beginning in January 2023.
The information below is designed to help you formulate a practical compensation package for your pastor(s). The figure in the Pastoral 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 suggested salary level for its 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 4.0%. This increase was determined in October of 2022 by the task force formed by the District to review this matter.
Congregational Discretionary Adjustments: In addition to the annual changes, congregations will want to consider:
- Does the pastor supervise a large staff?
- Does the pastor serve a congregation with a school?
- Does the pastor have an advanced degree?
The salary should be adjusted to compensate his service in these areas. Health and Retirement are provided by the congregation in addition to, but not part of, the salary. The congregation is encouraged to offer financial assistance for items such as the pastor’s continuing education, professional memberships, and conferences.
Housing Allowance: Each congregation is expected to provide a means of housing for its 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 in the minutes of the meeting when that decision was made.
Starting Year: The salary guidelines reflect the years of pastoral experience. Year one is the figure used for the candidate newly ordained into the Holy Ministry. It is important that the congregation is aware of the number of years a pastor is ordained so that an appropriate compensation package may be developed.
Evaluating pastoral compensation is a vital method by which congregations and the LCMS Atlantic District attract, compensate, and support our pastors who are essential to the work our gracious Lord has given us to do. Task Force 3 and the LCMS Atlantic District leadership appreciate the dedication of so many individuals and committees in congregations as they address this important issue.
If you have questions or concerns about the guidelines, please contact the LCMS Atlantic District Office.
Our Lord continue to bless and keep you.