How Much Should Ministers of the Gospel Be Paid?

I was recently asked what my opinion was toward ministers receiving 70 – 100 thousand salary, plus monthly allowances. In light of our current economy is this too much? Would the apostles have taken this much? Here was my response:

A few thoughts from the Bible:

1. Love of money and possessions is sinful (1 Tim 6:9-10; 1 John 2:16).

2. Ministers should not seek to selfishly gain from their ministry (1 Pet 5:2).

3. God commands that those who labor in the ministry should benefit from it, that is be paid (1 Cor 9:8-14; 1 Tim 5:17-18). Although, some ministers may choose not to burden a church and support themselves by other means (1 Cor 9:15-18; 2 Cor 11:7-11).

4. It is wrong for a church to not treat a minister fairly in regards to paying them (Gal 6:6-7; 1 Tim 5:17-18).

A few thoughts from me:

1. There may not be a one-size-fits all answer to your question. Different ministers living in different places in different circumstances will determine what is fair pay. That amount may not be too much for someone ministering in NYC or DC where the cost is living is so high, especially if they have a large family. But it may be too much for someone working in a place where living is less costly, especially if they are ministering to a poorer community.

2. I don’t think that the church should view ministers as business-type executives. The business world should not determine what ministers are paid.

3. I do think that a church should do their best to make sure that a minister and his family are cared for well. It is not good for a church to try and pay the minister as little as possible.

4. Since Scripture is silent as to how much a minister should be paid (and how much the apostles were paid), I think this is ultimately a matter of conscience. Individual churches have the right to pay their ministers what ever they believe to be fair.

5. We can only see what is public not private. We see budget reports and find out how much a minister is paid. But we don’t see what he does with the money. We don’t know what a minister is giving back to his church or to missions. It would be just as greedy for someone to make 100 grand and give nothing away as it would be for someone to make 30 grand and give nothing away.


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