An Interview with Rev. Tony Cooke and Mr. Tom Winters
Those in the pastoral ministry are not typically thought of as overpaid. Certainly in most cases they are not. Since the vast majority of churches in the U.S. are small, the overall compensation package for Protestant pastors is low when compared with teachers and social workers.
However, the amount of a pastor’s salary is only one dimension of reasonable compensation; the manner in which they are paid is of just as much interest in evaluating compensation from a legal standpoint. In recent years, pastoral and key church staff compensation has come under a great deal of governmental scrutiny. Government representatives and agencies such as the IRS now require increased transparency and public accountability. The revamped IRS Form 990 requires key employees [of non-profits other than churches] to detail the method used to determine the compensation packages for their ministers and key staff.
Thomas J. Winters, Esq., Winters & King, Inc.
It is the responsibility of the church’s board of directors/elders/governing body to determine and document that the compensation being paid to its pastoral and other key staff is indeed reasonable. When selecting a firm to perform compensation evaluation studies for your key executive employees, care should be taken to ensure the firm you select has a significant amount of experience in non-profit law and the preparation of compensation evaluation studies. Read the rest of this article…