The topic of a pastor's salary may be a touchy subject to speak about. In today's church a good number of pastors get a very handsome salary. This might be in reaction to the past when many pastors received a very low income. It also may be a result of today's push towards mega churches who can generate lots of money. It could also be a trend to viewing the job of a pastor as a career choice and not a calling.
I know the New Testament teaches that "a workman is worthy of his wages". I also know that Paul said to give double honour to those who preach the word, which in context could easily refer to his salary. I also know that Paul did not like taking money from any church, and for the most part he didn't, although that was his choice. Peter, on the other hand appears to have received some kind of financial remuneration for his work. How much we don't know. And how much elders and apostles earned back in those days, we don't know either.
Yet I can't help but wonder if some of today's pastor's salaries are getting a little out of line. Sometimes I think that the job of a pastor is more of a career choice for many than a calling from God. Paul felt that he had no other choice than to preach the gospel. Neither Paul, Peter, James and other New Testament apostles preached to get an income. They served Jesus whether they were paid or not.
Our career driven church places pastors along side of lawyers and doctors. Therefore their salary range should fall in line with these professionals and other such professionals.
The role of a New Testament pastor is to be a servant of the Lord. He serves Jesus by caring for His people. Pastors who make 2 or 3 times the average salary of the people he is caring for does not seem right to me, does not seem to be like a servant.
So this is my thinking on pastors salary. It is only my thinking. It is not found in the Bible, so do with it what you please. Determine the average salary of those in the congregation the pastor is caring for, and that is what the pastor makes. This makes him no different than the average person he is caring for. He is neither above or below them, but earns an income along side of them. He would still make more than the poorer people in the church.
I once heard a pastor say, who most likely earned double the average salary of his people, that his family had a hard time making ends meet at times. If he made twice the average income of the people he cared for, that means he made at least 4 times the amount of the poor people in his church. I wondered how those poorer people felt when they heard this statement. I know how I felt, because our family income is about one quarter of his salary, and that is with 2 incomes, not one.
Many pastors in larger churches get their salary, then on top of that they get an expense account, has their cell phone paid for, have a house and car allowance, and have many restaurant meals paid for by the church in the name of ministry. Now that's pretty good.
Yet on the other hand a poorer person in the congregation who wants to take someone out for lunch as a form of ministry pays for that lunch himself. Then on Sundays he tithes, or gives his offering to the church. This person may be just scraping by financially on his low income but still wants to minister to people as well.
If a pastor earned the average income of the people he cares for, there'd be more equality in his church when it comes to finances. It would brake down the wall of financial disparity between him and his people. It would also mean that the church could afford to hire more people to help care for the things of God.