The Average Salary of a Presbyterian Minister

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The Presbyterian Church originated in Scotland in the 17th Century.
The Presbyterian Church originated in Scotland in the 17th Century. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Presbyterian ministers believe that they've been called to invest their lives in the church. Part of that call involves investing for eternity in the kingdom of God, and also in helping others invest their lives in growing closer to Jesus. Presbyterian ministers don't seek wealth of the material kind, but they must be justly compensated for their work, usually calculated according to the size of their parish or by their years of theological training.

Average Salary

On average, a Presbyterian minister serving a small congregation receives a median salary of $33,000 to $39,000, according the website Simply Hired. There is a wide variation depending upon the location of the parish, education, training and congregation size. Presbyterian ministers have a "Terms of Call" or contract that outlines their salary package. Newly ordained pastors on average receive $6,000 dollars less than a minister with 10+ years experience.

Benefits

Presbyterian ministers usually get generous benefit packages, including medical/dental insurance and pensions upon retirement. Pastors and clergy are also entitled to paid extended sabbaticals and planned study leave as a time of personal and professional enhancement for ministry. This time is in addition to vacation or days off.

Manse or Parsonage Compensation

Presbyterian ministers often get "manse" or "parsonage" payments to cover housing costs (or to report a value to the IRS if the minister is provided with an actual house). Manse payments are not subject to income taxes, but they are subject to self-employment taxes, which ministers must pay.

Variables

Presbyterian ministers must pay both employer and employee portions of FICA and Medicare taxes (15.3 percent), which takes a larger chunk out of their salary. Tithing back to their churches also factors into their take-home pay. Presbyteries are routinely encouraged to analyze comparable data about clerical positions and identify and correct identify and correct pay equity.

Education

Presbyterian ministers must obtain a four-year degree and typically spend four years in seminary. To enter a Master of Divinity degree program, an individual needs a bachelor’s degree, a satisfactory transcript from an undergraduate school, along with a sponsorship by the Presbyterian ordination authority and letters of recommendation.

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