Compensation Guidance

Because of the large number and diversity of job titles, position responsibilities, congregational settings, and much more, no simple table or graphic is sufficient to provide salary guidance for various Episcopal Christian formation and education positions. Nevertheless, below are a number of surveys that can be utilized to help insure adequate wages are being paid. Also, please think of the below as compensation guidance rather than compensation guidelines.

Another resource to consult is your own diocese. Are there applicable diocesan minimums for various positions? Could diocesan minimums for clergy be applied to other job descriptions? What diocesan policies are there on mandatory fringe benefits (health care, retirement, etc.)?

If you know of additional resources for compensation guidance please do share.

Finally, you are encouraged to negotiate for salary and benefits. We do believe in the mission of the church and want its resources to extend as far as possible. At the same time the gifts we bring are worthy of acknowledgment and reward and the churches we serve should compensate appropriately for the effort received. Engaging in negotiations helps insure this will be the case.


Salary Surveys

2013 Salary Survey from Children’s Ministry Magazine

2013 Salary Survey from ELCA Youth Ministry Network (membership required)

All Staff
The 2014-2015 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff (for purchase)
2012 Southern Baptist Convention Compensation Study (online resource)
2008 Comprehensive Lay Employee Study from Church Pension Group (pdf) the definitive source on ministry salaries (subscription required)
2013 Church Workers Salary Guidelines from Texas District LCMS (pdf)
2013 Minister Compensation Guidelines from Vermont Conference UCC (pdf)

An additional helpful resource from the Presbyterian Church (USA) is a salary worksheet that helps account for levels of education, experience, etc., when determining a beginning wage.


Questions to Consider When Setting a Salary Range

  • Is the position full-time or part-time?
  • If full-time exempt, are additional hours above 40 per week expected regularly?
  • If part-time, how many hours per week on average?
  • What is the size of the congregation?
  • How many people are regularly involved in the activities that will be overseen?
  • Are there curriculum writing responsibilities?
  • What is the required/preferred level of education (high school, undergraduate college, etc.)?
  • How many age groups is the position overseeing?
  • How much travel is involved?  If a substantial amount of travel, how many nights will be spent away from home in a typical year?
  • Is there an expense account?
  • Is there reimbursement for mileage or fuel?
  • How many days are available for continuing education and is there a continuing education budget?
  • What is the sabbatical policy and when is the position eligible for sabbatical?
  • What is unique about the position that would demand a higher quality and higher paid candidate?
  • Are there other positions/salaries with which to compare the responsibilities of this position, in the same congregation or others in your community?


Additional Considerations

By resolution, TEC requires pension and health benefits for lay employees. This should be taken into consideration during the budgeting process.

Episcopal employers subject to the authority of the Church are required to provide a pension to all lay employees scheduled to work a minimum of 1,000 hours annually.  Visit the Lay Employee Pension System web page.

Employers are required to provide all eligible clergy and lay employees with equal access to and parity of funding for healthcare benefits, to be provided through the Episcopal Church Medical Trust. Under the terms of this resolution, an eligible employee is someone who is scheduled for at least 1,500 hours of compensated work annually for any domestic diocese, parish, mission, or other ecclesiastical organization or body subject to the authority of the Church. Visit the Denominational Health Plan web page.


Cost of Living Index by Metro Area

These are helpful resources for determining the difference in cost of living between United States metropolitan areas. Since the above salary surveys are averages, the below tools would help a supervisor contextualize the salary range for real housing, food, transportation, etc., costs in a given city or town. Especially helpful is the “728 – Cost of Living Index—Selected Urban Areas” document on the website.

CNN Cost of Living Calculator
Numbeo Cost of Living Rankings
US Census Cost of Living Index


Other Resources

Workplace Values in the Episcopal Church (Resolution A125, General Convention 2006)

General Convention Resolutions Affecting the Employment of Laity in the Church

Archdeacon Michael S. Kendall of the Episcopal Diocese of New York speaks about economic justice and the Episcopal Church support for a Living Wage