From Jeff Munroe
How much money should ministers make?
I was a part of a conference last week sponsored by the Association of Theological Schools on “Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers,” where this question was raised by Daniel Aleshire, the CEO of ATS. Aleshire, always a compelling speaker, said that there is probably more agreement about the nature of the trinity than over how much those in religious vocations should be paid.
Aleshire’s comments came in the larger context of a conversation about theological student debt. I’ll come back to that topic in a bit, but want to say some things about ministerial compensation first.
There are problems on each end of the religious pay spectrum. One’s ability to serve is compromised both by making too little and by making too much. I’ve experienced people in ministry with deep resentment from being poorly paid, yet also learned the other day of a seminary president living in a $4 million home with a lifestyle described as “opulent.” That story made me cringe. Yes, this person has raised millions upon millions and brought all sorts of recognition to his school. His board of trustees is rewarding him with the most tangible form of currency they have. But is this good? Is it good for him?