Salary & Guidelines

For District Congregation Presidents and Treasurers

Dear Brothers in Christ,

Please click here to find a copy of the 2019 Pastoral Salary Guidelines table and worksheet. These guidelines were approved by the Atlantic District Board of Directors at the September meeting. These guidelines are applicable for next calendar year, beginning in January 2019. Since most congregations prepare their budgets on an annual basis, we provide these 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. There are many exigent costs for a parish that must be considered as the budget process is approached. These guidelines cannot exist in a vacuum. They strive to take into account the real cost of doing ministry in NYC, Long Island and upstate. These guidelines are a means by which a conversation within a congregation can be started. These figures are based on a 55 hour work week. 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 2.7% based upon the rate of inflation in the Consumer Price Index (as of August 2018).
  • Congregational Discretionary Adjustments: In addition to the annual changes, congregations will want to make adjustments in conjunction with specific ministries unique to their congregation. For example, does the pastor supervise a large staff, or serve a congregation with a school, etc. 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 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.

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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