Study finds many pastors struggle financially

Despite all the talk about megachurches and their wealth, new research suggests that most evangelical pastors serve in small churches and often experience significant personal financial challenges.

"The vast majority of pastors do not have their own radio or TV show, robust church staff, or megachurch attendance," Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said in a statement. "Rather they faithfully serve in small churches and face financial challenges stemming from student debt, low salaries and medical expenses."

Most pastors serve in churches with less than 200 people in the congregation. The poll, conducted by Grey Matter Research, found that of the 4,249 pastors surveyed, including several in Georgia, 80 percent serve in churches with annual budgets under $125,000 that usually covers maintenance, programs and pastor/staff payroll. Fifty percent of pastors receive less than $50,000 per year in salary.

Other findings:

  • Eighty-five percent of pastors said they did not receive financial training while in seminary.
  • Thirty-three percent have under $10,000 in retirement funds.
  • Seventy-six percent of pastors know other pastors who left the ministry due to financial pressures.
  • Around 60 percent of pastors do not receive health insurance or retirement funds from their church.


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