Conference seeks compensation data for use in developing guidelines


The Massachusetts Conference is seeking data from churches on compensation of clergy and other church employees, to be used in developing compensation guidelines for local churches.

The Conference uses data gathered from churches to develop guidelines based on congregation size and years of ordained experience which then get voted on at the Conference Annual Meeting.

"Every year the Conference seeks this data, and the response rate has consistently been around 10% of our churches," said Quentin Chin, who leads the Conference's clergy compensation task force. "While we can produce guidelines with this data, more data from a larger pool will enable us to refine our work and provide clergy and churches a clearer, more reliable picture for compensation. We would like to have at least 25% of our churches respond."

Chin said the task force of clergy and laity has been working to review clergy compensation since 2012.

"As churches increasingly have difficulty paying for full-time pastoral work, the current methodology for determining compensation has come under stress," he said. "This task force's objective is to rework clergy compensation so that it benefits the clergy and the church in order to foster a sustainable relationship between pastor and congregation."
Chin said that as this task force has become more widely known in the Conference, it has started to receive inquiries around compensation for other church staff positions, such as church musicians and administrative assistants. That is why this year’s survey asks for data for all church positions.

The survey should take users no more than five to seven minutes per position to complete. Those completing it should have information on the following:
  • Cash salary information for each position
  • Housing allowance or parsonage value
  • Social Security/Self-employment provision
  • Health insurance costs
  • Hours per week for the position
  • Worship attendance and membership numbers
  • Years of ordained experience (clergy only) 
Data collected will be kept confidential: information about specific church or individual salaries will not be shared.

Note that data for all the positions do not have to be entered in a single session. A person can fill in the pastor's information, and then return later to enter data for other positions.

The survey is available here:
"The task team's overriding objective is to have fair and just compensation for all church staff members. The task force believes that fair compensation contributes in subtle ways to the congregation’s health and well-being. Having accurate and comprehensive data from across the entire Conference will contribute significantly to this objective," Chin said.

Anyone with questions about completing the survey can contact the Rev.Quentin Chin.

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