By Victor Ochieng
A recently released report by the Leadership Network and Vanderbloemen Search Group revealed some trends that resonate with major American and Canadian churches. The research looked into 26% of all the megachurches in America and 56 churches in Canada, all having an average attendance of between 30,000 and 500. The covered churches attract people of different ethnicities, including Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, and African-Americans.
Below are the trends as outlined in the report;
Pay increment – Executive staff members, holding positions equivalent to or lower than senior pastors, recorded an average of 3.1% in pay raise last year, a percentage above the annual U.S. inflation of 0.1% in 2015.
High benefit costs – Senior pastors of these churches were awarded additional 21% in cash benefits, covering retirement, bonuses and health insurance. Executive pastors were close by at 20%.
Bonuses – More than half (54%) of the churches awarded senior pastors with financial bonuses over the last one year.
Staffing expenses – The targeted megachurches spent 49% of their total budgets on staffing costs, which include such items as salaries and benefits.
Salaries dictated by budget – The biggest predictor of the salaries of pastors and other staff members was the individual church budgets, although other factors such as race, geographical location, and theological tradition also play a role to some extent.
Income source – Congregations support 98% of the budgets, with the remaining 2% coming from business revenue, investments or schools.
Salary of the immediate position below senior pastor – The second highest paid person in the church, usually the executive pastor or church administrator, earned 70% of what senior pastor earned.
The ratio of members to staff – Of every 76 members of the congregation, there was one staff member working full-time, whether it’s a custodian, pastor or any other staff member.
The ratio of giving to salary – For every $1 of the average annual rise in giving per attendee, salary at the executive level shot by $15.49.
Missions outside the church – 52% of participating churches channeled 10% of their church budgets towards facilitating outside ministries, including church planting, world missions and more.
Knowledge of staff salaries – Of the churches, 81% revealed that not every church member is informed about the salaries, saying only board members, board subcommittee or senior staff know about such.
Outsourcing of church employees – Over a period of the last five years, 33% recorded increase in outsourced employees. The most outsourced include the positions of information technology, payroll, graphic design and custodial.