Adventist pastors shepherd and oversee churches of the Seventh-Day Adventists denomination. As of March 2011, there are over 68,000 Adventist churches in the world with more than 16 million members and over 16,000 ordained ministers. The North American Division of Seventh-Day Adventists (NAD) recently set a new remuneration wage factor that churches within the denomination are to ascribe. The actual salary the pastor will receive is a percentage of the wage factor dependent largely on education and cost of living at their location. According to NAD, as of July 2011, the US base wage factor is $4,065 per month.
Pastors hired during their seminary education may be paid 30 percent of the base wage factor. This is often considered a work-study or scholarship to the cost of schooling. Once seminary is completed, the rate jumps up to 87 - 90 percent. After ordination, the rate starts at 93 percent, but can quickly rise to 102 percent. The maximum rate is currently set at 105 percent of the base wage factor. Previous experience and achievements will be taken into consideration alongside education when setting the percentage.
An annual increase of the salary is reviewed by the conference overseeing the region the pastor is serving. Cost-of-living increase percentages are surveyed in six nearby districts, including the pastor’s current location. Any increased percentage of the gross annual tithe will be taken into account. The lower of the two percentages will be chosen to apply to the following year’s salary. Special skills, exceptional levels of productivity or other favorable recognized traits can hasten the schedule of percentage raises.
Adventist pastors receive health benefits and, depending on the church, other benefits including, but not limited to, living allowance, utility and telephone allowance, professional allowance and auto insurance allowance (auto insurance credits not allowed in Canada). In the United States, pastoral parsonages may be offered instead of a living allowance, yet the monthly value of the parsonage must not exceed 80 percent of the offered salary, rounded to the nearest thousand. In 2000, the Adventist Review reported that retirement plans would allow an employer-employee match of retirement funds. The vote dictated that pastors could set aside up to 8.5 percent of their annual salary for employers to match.
The Seventh-Day Adventists churches span over 200 countries within their 12 world divisions. Across the denomination, pastors with church memberships of over 100 people were paid more than churches of smaller sizes, based on the level of responsibility pastors with higher memberships carry. Pastors who supervise a large staff are also compensated for the increased level of duties with an additional percentage or two of the base wage factor.
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