3. Financial Pressures
Slide 5 of 8
This, of course, is a stressor experienced by many individuals and families. What makes this particularly stressful for Christian leaders is that their compensation is relatively low. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, clergy salaries range from $26,160 to $85,040 with the median wage at $48,990.
Granted, some positions may include housing and a modest stipend, but depending on the cost of living and the number of children, it barely covers the basics—regardless of where you fall on the scale. Let’s look at two tips for handling financial pressure:
Tips for Handling Financial Pressure
Financial Tip #1: Assess Your Living Standards
In spite of low wages, as with any couple or family, some live beyond their means. It may not be intentional. Often it’s a gradual drift and before you know it, the credit cards are maxed out and monthly expenses are out of control.
Take a hard look at your expenses and buying patterns. Identify areas where you can cut back.
Financial Tip #2: Advance Your Career
I do not make this suggestion lightly, and to be clear, I’m not suggesting you leave the ministry. Rather, I’ve coached some clergy who’ve become somewhat complacent in their position. They’re very comfortable and somewhat resistant to change.
Consider taking on a stretch position in another town, city, or state. Yes, it can be daunting, but taking on a new assignment with greater responsibility usually comes with greater compensation. You shouldn’t do it simply for the money, however. In my experience, a greater role can also be extremely rewarding from a professional standpoint.
When employed at the Norman Vincent Peale Center for Positive Thinking, I remember Mrs. Peale telling me how Norman was called from an upstate congregation to serve as pastor of the Marble Collegiate Church on 5th Avenue in New York City. He was somewhat reluctant at first. This was moving to the “big stage!”
Of course he discerned that this was the right move for him. And with the blessings of his wife, Ruth, took on the position back in 1932. He went on to serve for 52 years!
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