Each year, the Conference Personnel Committee reviews current market data (the Consumer Price Index, Current Inflation Rate, Inflation Rate Forecast, SSI benefit adjustments, increased cost for medical benefits) to determine what, if any, increase in clergy compensation may be necessary. Their recommendation is reviewed by the Conference Budget and Finance Committee and finally approved by Conference Consistory (While there are no guidelines for other church staff positions, we highly recommend commensurate increases for non-ordained staff members). There are two changes to this year’s guidelines. First, we have changed the membership size increments to reflect a majority of our smaller congregations and the corresponding clergy compensation for each. Second, in the context of the current rate of inflation (3.67%) our 2023 Clergy Compensation Guidelines include a recommended increase of 3%.
We are very aware that this recommendation is simply out of reach for some congregations particularly those experiencing significant membership and financial decline. Other congregations, blessed with the resources to do so, will budget salary increases closer to this recommendation. When that is not possible, there are other options:
- Offer your pastor and staff more paid leave
- Reduce the pastor and staff’s responsibilities
- Agree on a catch-up schedule—churches experiencing a temporary setback, specifying—in writing—how to make up future salary increases.
If there are additional options that have worked well in your ministry setting, please pass them along to me so I can share them around our Conference. If you come to an impasse about compensation, consider inviting me or one of the Conference staff to help facilitate a conversation.
Needless to say, these are anxious and uncertain times. But we will pass through them by the very certain presence and power of the Holy Spirit.