Author Topic: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)  (Read 12707 times)

D. Engebretson

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2021, 10:24:05 AM »
Our parish did send one 50 year old man to Concordia Seminary, St Louis.   He was an engineer
who had been laid off from the construction industry.  Our parish paid $5,000 each year toward
his tuition. He did complete his seminary education and received his first call to a parish in
Florida.

I wonder if the future of pastoral recruitment will lean heavily on second-career candidates.  I realize that there has long been a concern that alternate route programs, like DELTO and the SMP program that replaced it, have created a concern that such routes would become the norm rather than the traditional M.Div route.  However, at least in my experience with the SMP program, I have seen a number of more mature men pass through who are already have established careers (e.g. lawyers), who are retired, or who have a strong, stable job to supplement the lower salary of a small, struggling parish.  I had 10 men in my class last summer, which was the largest yet.  And that was at Ft. Wayne.  :)
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

peter_speckhard

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2021, 10:43:43 AM »
I think a long time ago there was a much stronger sense of sacrifice going into the ministry. Pastors were held in high regard, but expected to live in a fishbowl-- parsonage living, livable salary for those willing to model frugality, available all hours, very little time away, etc. I think that may have worked way, way back in the in the day, but in the 60's and 70's when two income families became more normal, retirement became a standard expectation, and home ownership became the normal means of saving for retirement, the pressure on marriages and families became too great. Fewer and fewer pastors were willing to live in a parsonage, use their homes for meetings, be gone all the time, and have their wife and children serve in unpaid auxiliary roles. Churches had a pay a professional salary with benefits, one that would allow pastors to afford to buy a home and also live comfortably in retirement. That was a fair tradeoff until increased the cost of doing that year after year made it untenable.

Probably a lot of tiny parishes were never so very large, but they had a parsonage that was paid for and they could afford to pay what amounted to little more than a monthly stipend to have a pastor. They're still in that position, but the only people in a position to be their pastor are retired pastors who might need the stipend to augment their income and help pay health insurance premiums but who aren't expecting to live on what the congregation can afford. 

The bivocational model is on the comeback, and I think retired clergy or empty-nesters who are willing to move around and do interim ministry are the first spearhead. It just doesn't seem bivocational because it is the same vocation, but really it is one vocation by which one  served in a traditional setting and raised one's family and "retired" and another vocation whereby one does the same thing for a much smaller church. Soon it won't be a retired pastor, it will be a semi-retired car dealer, farmer, or restaurant owner/manager whose main income is secure and who can afford to serve in a part time role as pastor. How he gets the education he needs to do that will be the trick.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2021, 11:23:56 AM »
I have lived in a parsonage for my entire ministry (33+ years), even when I pastored a 1,600 member church. But I realize my situation is an anomaly, especially in this time. I may be the end of an era. I have also been blessed with a sufficient salary, and in my present parish, a mid-sized rural church, the people have been very supportive to make sure that I have a very livable salary and good benefits.  As I look around my circuit, where two of the young pastors are actually still living in parsonages, I realize the landscape is quickly changing, and the pandemic may have accelerated the changes we will witness in the near foreseeable future.  Although I know many are not supportive of seeing a lot of bi-vocational clergy, the reality of it is now upon us.  Recruitment at the seminaries will have to take this into account, where fewer and fewer calls may be available for men to be able to live off of a single salary and still support their families. 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2021, 02:21:52 PM by D. Engebretson »
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Likeness

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2021, 03:58:08 PM »
Obviously, the call to become a pastor was never intended to be based on a high end salary.
However, the pastor is still worthy of a decent salary to support his family.  LCMS Districts
have salary guidelines based on years of experience which parishes are expected to enact.
Most pastors who have a servanthood attitude toward pastoral ministry will never ask for
a raise and have confidence that the Lord will provide for their needs.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2021, 04:09:45 PM by Dave Likeness »

Charles Austin

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2021, 05:31:28 PM »
Dave Likeness writes:
Most pastors who have a servanthood attitude toward pastoral ministry will never ask for a raise and have confidence that the Lord will provide for their needs.
I comment:
This is, in my not so humble opinion, is a warped view of “servant attitude.“ It enables congregations to abuse their pastors by not paying them an adequate salary. It puts the pastor and the pastor‘s family in severe peril when it comes to things like higher education, healthcare, and most of all, pension. Pastors who do not take an educated, aggressive, and realistic view of their family finances are not exercising good stewardship of their calling, their resources, and are not providing properly for the care of their families. Congregations who pay miserable salaries need to be told by someone that this is abuse of the clergy. I have seen elderly pastors who were “successful,” supposedly beloved, and who had distinguished careers of dedicated service face retirement wondering how they were going to pay their monthly bills. And if they lived in a parsonage is during their whole career, and were not granted any kind of housing equity, it was even worse.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2021, 05:53:43 PM »
I will admit that I have never "asked for a raise," although I have been very fortunate that the churches I have served have taken good care of me (and I also earn some income from other areas like teaching and district work). That said, I do believe that a pastor's salary and benefits should not be left to chance or simply taken for granted.  Often it is hard to advocate for yourself. It feels awkward and presumptuous.  In my system (LCMS) this is a good area for the "circuit visitor" to be of assistance (also called a "dean" or "rural dean" in some non-Lutheran jurisdictions).  He is one of the area pastors, a neighbor to the given parish, yet represents the district and its president for 9 to 11 churches.  He can often be a lot more forthright than the local pastor feels comfortable being.  Looking back I realize that I could have done much better in this area in my years of service as a CV. 

The pastor also needs to look ahead.  As I noted elsewhere, I have lived in parsonages my entire career.  So, I have no equity in a home to use.  However, as my parents and in-laws passed away and we were the recipients of inheritance money, we made sure that much of this was invested to be later used for housing when that day came.  Personally, I think that it would be nice for churches to set aside money on behalf of the pastor specifically for this.  I suspect few do. 

Paul did say that that a "laborer is worthy of his wages." (1 Tim. 5:18)  As one who also has trained musicians in my family, who also work in the church, I notice that this can also be an area that needs to be looked at closer, especially in a time when finding a competent musician is as tough as finding a pastor.  Funeral homes in my area compensate keyboardists/organists $75-$100 for one funeral.  Some mid-sized church may pay the organist $40 per service, but smaller parishes probably don't compensate more than $30. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Likeness

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2021, 06:20:08 PM »
As Pastor Engebretson mentions a pastor's salary should not be left to chance

When LCMS District Presidents do their homework this should not happen. They
are involved in the call process and usually sign off on parish requests from the
two seminaries for candidates.  If the call document does not measure up to
the basic salary guidelines the District President should be ready to take some
action.  The same thing would apply to parishes who are calling from the field
for a pastor and entering his District..

Weedon

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2021, 06:25:10 PM »
I also have been blessed as far as congregations taking good care of us. And no, I’ve never asked for an increase in salary. Just figured that that end of the matter was never any of my business.

Nevertheless, not all the congregations’ good care-taking came close to helping us with what we really needed in the area of finances: and that was remedying our ignorance through Financial Peace University. I know, people love to hate on Dave Ramsey. But the man clearly sets forth a path so simple and straightforward that even a financial idiot like myself can understand and follow it. And I did and have been hugely blessed, as has everyone I know that took it and stuck with Dave’s Baby Steps.

The result has been shocking to both my wife and myself. I cannot recommend it highly enough for pastors in pressing financial circumstances. Well, for ANYONE in such situations. I fully believe it’s the single best “stewardship” (aka, money!) resource you share with your congregation. A bunch of parishioners in debt are hamstrung in their ability to do with their money what they know they want to do! Best of all, the program is inexpensive and it’s very easy to teach and super effective when followed.

P.S. The worst part of FPU is wanting to yell at your previous self for being such a ninny in not finding the thing years earlier!
« Last Edit: May 03, 2021, 06:32:09 PM by Weedon »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2021, 07:08:00 PM »
Obviously, the call to become a pastor was never intended to be based on a high end salary.
However, the pastor is still worthy of a decent salary to support his family.  LCMS Districts
have salary guidelines based on years of experience which parishes are expected to enact.
Most pastors who have a servanthood attitude toward pastoral ministry will never ask for
a raise and have confidence that the Lord will provide for their needs.


At least in places were I served, the synod salary guidelines were not followed.


When I began, it was suggested that a pastor, who has an advanced degree, should be paid like the school superintendent. (Recognition of a pastor's professional status and what professionals are paid in the local area.) Next, I heard we should be paid like a school principal. Then our salaries were compared with that of a teacher.


What this indicated is that salaries in school districts went up faster than they did for clergy. (Granted, we have the benefit of a tax-free house or housing allowance; but we have the disadvantage of paying Social Security as a self-employed contractor.)
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2021, 07:19:50 PM »
I also have been blessed as far as congregations taking good care of us. And no, I’ve never asked for an increase in salary. Just figured that that end of the matter was never any of my business.

Nevertheless, not all the congregations’ good care-taking came close to helping us with what we really needed in the area of finances: and that was remedying our ignorance through Financial Peace University. I know, people love to hate on Dave Ramsey. But the man clearly sets forth a path so simple and straightforward that even a financial idiot like myself can understand and follow it. And I did and have been hugely blessed, as has everyone I know that took it and stuck with Dave’s Baby Steps.

The result has been shocking to both my wife and myself. I cannot recommend it highly enough for pastors in pressing financial circumstances. Well, for ANYONE in such situations. I fully believe it’s the single best “stewardship” (aka, money!) resource you share with your congregation. A bunch of parishioners in debt are hamstrung in their ability to do with their money what they know they want to do! Best of all, the program is inexpensive and it’s very easy to teach and super effective when followed.

P.S. The worst part of FPU is wanting to yell at your previous self for being such a ninny in not finding the thing years earlier!
Ditto. We read the book about 20 years ago. Not strictly Christian, but works easily within a Christian framework. FPU really is a blessing to countless people.

Dave Benke

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2021, 07:23:58 PM »
Obviously, the call to become a pastor was never intended to be based on a high end salary.
However, the pastor is still worthy of a decent salary to support his family.  LCMS Districts
have salary guidelines based on years of experience which parishes are expected to enact.
Most pastors who have a servanthood attitude toward pastoral ministry will never ask for
a raise and have confidence that the Lord will provide for their needs.


At least in places were I served, the synod salary guidelines were not followed.


When I began, it was suggested that a pastor, who has an advanced degree, should be paid like the school superintendent. (Recognition of a pastor's professional status and what professionals are paid in the local area.) Next, I heard we should be paid like a school principal. Then our salaries were compared with that of a teacher.


What this indicated is that salaries in school districts went up faster than they did for clergy. (Granted, we have the benefit of a tax-free house or housing allowance; but we have the disadvantage of paying Social Security as a self-employed contractor.)

You should have gone for the janitor.  In NYC they get paid.  Good union.

My advice to pastors was to consider the four-legged stool as the model:  Housing (or equity fund) as one leg, savings/investment (not part of housing equity if applicable) as leg two, pension as leg three and social security as leg four.  Then have a financial advisor who asks "what kind of income per year do you want/need in retirement?"

So if one leg is missing you still have a stool, three-legged version.  Which happens. 

But a ton of pastors are going with a two-legged stool and not much weight in either leg.  Very sad, very real.

Parsonage without equity fund.  No good.
Zero to very little savings
Lack of knowledge of how to maximize pension
Opted out of Social Security.

Option five - spousal income.
Option six - one child, at least, makes a ton of money and kicks in

I think living frugally, tithing and prioritizing personal stewardship are great.  But with no additional plan, there's a gap and then some.  Of course, strength in numbers equates with Luther Haven in Oviedo FL, where lots of pastors go to pasture with their beloved spouses.

Dave Benke

peter_speckhard

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #41 on: May 03, 2021, 07:41:02 PM »
Obviously, the call to become a pastor was never intended to be based on a high end salary.
However, the pastor is still worthy of a decent salary to support his family.  LCMS Districts
have salary guidelines based on years of experience which parishes are expected to enact.
Most pastors who have a servanthood attitude toward pastoral ministry will never ask for
a raise and have confidence that the Lord will provide for their needs.


At least in places were I served, the synod salary guidelines were not followed.


When I began, it was suggested that a pastor, who has an advanced degree, should be paid like the school superintendent. (Recognition of a pastor's professional status and what professionals are paid in the local area.) Next, I heard we should be paid like a school principal. Then our salaries were compared with that of a teacher.


What this indicated is that salaries in school districts went up faster than they did for clergy. (Granted, we have the benefit of a tax-free house or housing allowance; but we have the disadvantage of paying Social Security as a self-employed contractor.)

You should have gone for the janitor.  In NYC they get paid.  Good union.

My advice to pastors was to consider the four-legged stool as the model:  Housing (or equity fund) as one leg, savings/investment (not part of housing equity if applicable) as leg two, pension as leg three and social security as leg four.  Then have a financial advisor who asks "what kind of income per year do you want/need in retirement?"

So if one leg is missing you still have a stool, three-legged version.  Which happens. 

But a ton of pastors are going with a two-legged stool and not much weight in either leg.  Very sad, very real.

Parsonage without equity fund.  No good.
Zero to very little savings
Lack of knowledge of how to maximize pension
Opted out of Social Security.

Option five - spousal income.
Option six - one child, at least, makes a ton of money and kicks in

I think living frugally, tithing and prioritizing personal stewardship are great.  But with no additional plan, there's a gap and then some.  Of course, strength in numbers equates with Luther Haven in Oviedo FL, where lots of pastors go to pasture with their beloved spouses.

Dave Benke
Hey, my wife has an uncle who retired comfortably after working as a plant maintenance guy in NY and her grandpa founded the congregation in Oviedo, FL. Two connections in one post!

Here is the money question, if you’ll pardon the pun. What is a good, fair salary? The LCMS has different charts in every district, some of them wildly different, and all with lots of variables. But to keep it simple, assume a cost of living at the national average, no parsonage, not including the cost of Concordia plans, not adjusted for senior/associate or size of congregation, just straight up salary— What should a pastor with, say, fifteen years of parish experience and some continuing education beyond M.Div expect as a ballpark salary range? What would be overpaid or underpaid? I’m looking for real dollar amounts.

The reason I ask is that I think everyone talks on this subject with any reference points. Nobody says a pastor should make a meager living, but is a pastor making 50k plus benefits earning a meager living? What about 100k? How about 35k?

Charles Austin

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #42 on: May 03, 2021, 08:36:00 PM »
Depends up location, location, location, Peter.
In northern New Jersey, an experienced pastor of a moderate-size congregation will have a compensation package - salary, insurance, housing equity, pension payments - in the neighborhood of $85-$90,000. That is what the package was for the pastor called to one of my interims. Of course the pastor is not "paid" all of that, but that is what the pastor's employment costs the congregation. Some congregations also pay 1/2 the social security the pastor is required to pay.
The flat-out salary, not including insurance, housing, equity or pension, for a pastor with a couple-decades of experience would be in the $30,000 to $40,000 range.
I would also advise looking at census data for the average income earnings in the zip codes surrounding the congregation. And the cost of housing there.
In our first year of marriage (1963-1964) , Beloved Spouse and I earned about $7,000 and not much more for the next three or four years, which were seminary, internship and first parish. Her salary in public education went up quickly. Mine did not. I began graduate studies, a child arrived; and we were learning quickly about what it costs to live.
That's when I started learning about "long-term stewardship.
Near retirement, the assistant to the bishop handling my interim appointments simply gave them the synod salary guidelines, pointed out where I fell on the salary scale and said: "Pay him that."
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #43 on: May 03, 2021, 11:00:31 PM »
My sense is that my ELCA friends expect a higher salary than my LCMS friends. I just don’t know the numbers. Cost to the congregation is a separate thing. What I’m looking for are basic comparable numbers. A teacher making 50k costs more than that to the school district and might lose some of that union dues or copays or whatever. But the gist of it is a 50k salary.

I’ve always thought I was well paid. When I get together with friends from the mainline denominations I suspect that some of them would consider me underpaid by their standards. But I don’t know. I have a lot of dependents, so we always qualify for free/reduced lunches and school vouchers, but we wouldn’t if we only had a couple of children. We’ve been able to raise a family without my wife needing to work, though she does work part time.

If I look at my level of accountability as senior pastor of a large organization, education level (M.Div, D.Min) and experience (24 years in ministry, plus some applicable secular experience) and try to compare it to any other profession, I suspect I would be considered underpaid. But I don’t think that is a fair or accurate comparison. 

If a sem grad gets a call to a congregation offering 40k plus Concordia plans, no parsonage, location with national average cost of living, is that amount normal? Acceptable? An outrage? What does the sem say is too low to be considered viable? What would be consider so high that it goes beyond the worker being worthy of his wages? 

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Call Day For Pastoral Candidates at St. Louis/Ft Wayne (2021)
« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2021, 03:07:43 AM »
Obviously, the call to become a pastor was never intended to be based on a high end salary.
However, the pastor is still worthy of a decent salary to support his family.  LCMS Districts
have salary guidelines based on years of experience which parishes are expected to enact.
Most pastors who have a servanthood attitude toward pastoral ministry will never ask for
a raise and have confidence that the Lord will provide for their needs.


At least in places were I served, the synod salary guidelines were not followed.


When I began, it was suggested that a pastor, who has an advanced degree, should be paid like the school superintendent. (Recognition of a pastor's professional status and what professionals are paid in the local area.) Next, I heard we should be paid like a school principal. Then our salaries were compared with that of a teacher.


What this indicated is that salaries in school districts went up faster than they did for clergy. (Granted, we have the benefit of a tax-free house or housing allowance; but we have the disadvantage of paying Social Security as a self-employed contractor.)

You should have gone for the janitor.  In NYC they get paid.  Good union.

My advice to pastors was to consider the four-legged stool as the model:  Housing (or equity fund) as one leg, savings/investment (not part of housing equity if applicable) as leg two, pension as leg three and social security as leg four.  Then have a financial advisor who asks "what kind of income per year do you want/need in retirement?"

So if one leg is missing you still have a stool, three-legged version.  Which happens. 

But a ton of pastors are going with a two-legged stool and not much weight in either leg.  Very sad, very real.

Parsonage without equity fund.  No good.
Zero to very little savings
Lack of knowledge of how to maximize pension
Opted out of Social Security.

Option five - spousal income.
Option six - one child, at least, makes a ton of money and kicks in

I think living frugally, tithing and prioritizing personal stewardship are great.  But with no additional plan, there's a gap and then some.  Of course, strength in numbers equates with Luther Haven in Oviedo FL, where lots of pastors go to pasture with their beloved spouses.


Another option which happened to us was a sizable inheritance from parents. That has been invested and paying us interest every month.


When I started, I received a salary $8600 if I remember right, there was a car allowance, but 1/2 the amount the senior pastor got - I told the council that that tells me you want me to drive 1/2 as much - they disagreed with my logic. They paid for an apartment. No equity allowance, but I did open a Tax Shelter Annuity, so that we might have enough saved up when we needed to buy a house. No Social Security allowance. No book allowance. At that time, I was filing federal taxes as self-employed so everything I spent on pastor related things, like professional books, reduced my income. I didn't need to pay quarterly taxes because I made so little the first 30 years of ministry that my wife's work, mostly as an associate at Walmart, paid enough into Federal taxes to cover what we might owe. My last call came with a $15,000 increase over what I had been making. I finally had to pay quarterly taxes. By then, our boys were out of college, so we were so comfortable that I didn't ask for (nor did they offer) a raise during the 12 years I was here. Our boys, with less education than I had, and many fewer years in their professions, are both making more than twice I made in my best years.


14 years after I began, we had to cash in the Tax Shelter to have money for a down payment on a house. That meant paying both a 10% penalty for an early withdrawal, plus at least 15% tax on it as income. We had to do it to get into the housing market. That has turned out well for us. My wife was especially happy to be able to have a house she could call "our own." She didn't have to ask anyone if she wanted to paint a room or put up wallpaper.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]