It's hard to figure out how much pastors should be paid. We've all seen ads from churches asking for an M.Div'ed pastor to serve a congregation of 500 for $12,000 a year. And in some Pentecostal churches, pastors can make millions. Here in the Florida Conference of the UMC, I think that the minimum is around $33,000.
Pastors don't want to be greedy, but they also want to feed their families. Churches want to keep their pastors fed and shod, but they don't want to break the bank in the process. So I'd like to offer a few alternative methods of calculating pastoral pay:
1. By The Word: Lots of people address their pastor as "Preacher" because that is the most familiar context. Let's work with that role and pay pastors by the number of words in the weekly sermon. Say, perhaps $0.50 a word.
2. By The Hour: Keep a timeclock and a punchcard. When the pastor has work to do, he clicks it. For those late-night sudden hospital visits, bring a portable timeclock and click it when you enter the hospital room. Maybe we should start with an hourly wage of $22.
3. On Commission: The pastor keeps 10% (or whatever figure) of the total revenues of the church. He is therefore highly encouraged to preach on tithing and shove extra fifth Sundays into the calendar. The church benefits and the pastor benefits.
What do you think? What should be the basis of pastoral compensation?
UPDATE: Jeff the Baptist examined what the Apostle Paul wrote about pastoral compensation.