Florida Conference, United Church of Christ
2019 Compensation Guidelines
for Called and Interim Clergy
The following chart summarizes salary and housing guidelines for employment in churches of the Florida Conference in 2019.
Full Time Authorized Minister
Salary and Housing (Excluding the Cost of Benefits)
Size of Congregation Average Salary Median Salary
The Committee on Church and Ministry recommends churches pay a minimum of $46,000. plus benefits as described below. Without question, some congregations, because of their smaller membership and/or financial constraints, are not able to provide an adequate compensation package for full-time pastoral service. They are encouraged to consider creative options, such as part-time, bi-vocational pastors or sharing a pastor with another congregation in the area in order to combine resources to offer adequate compensation.
The Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, concerned with the growth of its churches and the compensation of its ordained leaders, commends the efforts of local congregations in endeavoring to reach the goals recommended throughout this booklet. These guidelines apply to all full-time pastors, associates and assistants.
The work schedules and compensation packages of local pastors should be healthy for the pastor and for the church. That would require a balance of time spent in the church's ministry and time spent with family and friends-a balance of work and recreation, a balance of exercising the body and the mind, a balance of care of others and care for self.
For more information on compensation packages for full and part time ministry positions, please contact your Regional Minister or the Conference office.
The Committee on Church and Ministry recommends that:
Considerations for Determining Clergy Compensation
2. The Salary and Housing levels suggested (consider inflation since 2013) in the Florida Conference.
3. Social Security Allowance
The church should provide an amount equal to at least one-half the effective self-employment Social Security tax liability of each clergy person (7.65% of salary + housing). This allowance is taxable income, but it will ease the burden of the large Social Security tax paid by ordained persons.
4. Housing That Provides:
(a) furnishings allowance, all utilities and an equity development plan for those provided a parsonage; OR
(b) a housing allowance, including furnishing and utilities, for those who own or rent their homes.
5. Benefits That Provide: (based on UCC Pension Board plans, which are
6. All Professional Expenses
The tax law allows deduction of business expenses on Schedule A only after he/she has spent more than 2% of family adjusted gross income on such expenses. THEREFORE, it is important that churches reimburse or pay directly all costs which the pastor incurs for "doing business" for the church, so that the pastor is not paying income tax for church expense. Including but not limited to:
For reference, the following is an illustration of a minimum salary, housing and benefit package:
Salary and Housing $46,000
Annuity (salary + housing x 14%) 6,440
Life Insurance & Disability Benefit Plan (salary + housing x 1.5%) 690
Medical/Dental Insurance (rates offered by PBUCC) TBD
Professional Expenses 1,500
Continuing Education 750
Auto Reimbursement (6,000 miles/year @ $.545 (2018 tax year) 3,240
Social Security offset (7.65% salary + housing ) 3,519
TOTAL COMPENSATION PACKAGE $62,139
+Health Coverage per PBUCC Rates
Additionally, the congregation needs to consider establishing a church savings plan to provide for pastoral services during the pastor's sabbatical leave.
As voted by the Committee on Church and Ministry on September 14, 2018
1. Additional information may be found in: Tax Guide For Ministers. Order by calling UCC Resources 800 537 3394.
The work of the church of Jesus Christ is a holy and wholesome vocation. The cooperative ministry of laity and clergy is greatly enhanced by responsible and sensitive compensation policies for all that serve in the local church. This booklet, prepared by the Committee on Church and Ministry (hereafter, C&M), focuses on full-time ordained pastors and associate pastors.
Each local church in the Florida Conference sets personnel policies and salary levels. Usually, the pastor's compensation package is based on a budget developed by the appropriate church board in cooperation with a pastoral relations committee.
C&M strongly recommends that each church have an active Pastoral Relations Committee to facilitate communication between pastor and parish. The functions and makeup of such a committee is well described in a booklet published by the UCC Parish Life and Leadership, "The Pastoral Relations Committee" which is available from UCC Resources, 1-800-537-3394.
Personnel policies and salary levels should be reviewed annually. We further recommend that the local church have a public policy of being an equal opportunity employer.
Faith Foundations for Compensation
church workers realize that there is an undergirding of stewardship for them and their families, they are set free to love and serve.
3. Spiritual Obligations: The apostle Paul often quoted Scripture in relation to salary considerations (cf. I Corinthians 9:9-14; I Timothy 5: 17- 18; Romans 4: 1-4; Galatians 6:6). There is a scriptural mandate, and therefore, a spiritual obligation to provide a just and fair salary to all who labor in the local church. The compensation should be sufficient to ensure that all church workers are spared the extraordinary stress of living on an inadequate salary.
4. Christian Love and Candor: The connection between pastor and people is a sacred trust. An open, caring, healthy relationship is important for the well being of the local church. Unfortunately, the question of the pastor's compensation is often passed over quickly and unfeelingly. Sometimes salary issues can become the focal point for unresolved tensions and misunderstandings. C&M strongly recommends that annual salary negotiations be carried out with candor, clarity and a loving supportive spirit of mutual respect. Christian love further requires that individuals not be compensated at lower levels because of age, sex, race or marital status.
(a.) Use of a church-owned house (Parsonage): When the use of a parsonage is provided, the house should be on a par with the average housing in the community; it should be attractive, conveniently arranged and well maintained. The church customarily pays for all parsonage utilities (heat/AC, light, water, refuse service, local phone calls, etc.). Pastors who live in parsonages have the benefit of being able to tax exempt their furnishings costs through a budgeted "furnishings allowance." The church's Board of Trustees (or appropriate board) should vote (in consultation with the pastor) annually, before the ensuing year begins, what part of the pastor's salary is to be treated as a furnishings allowance, and include this figure in the Trustees’ records. An annual furnishings allowance (not to exceed the fair rental value of just the furnishings) could save the pastor in income tax. Any unused allowance is always taxable income. Any over expenditure of the allowance is never deductible. The burden of documenting expenditures to the
(b.) When a pastor owns her or his own home: Home ownership is still considered advantageous by many clergy because it allows a pastor to build equity in real property and to gain annual appreciation. This equity is then available for the pastor to use as collateral for an education loan or as payment toward retirement housing. Also, home ownership ensures that a pastor's spouse and family will have a home and a community in the event of a pastor's untimely death.
Many churches have found that with the capital realized from the sale of an existing parsonage, or that with the help of the income from the rental of an existing parsonage, they can provide their pastor with a housing allowance.
There is a recurring question about whether or not a congregation can loan their pastor money to purchase a home. Florida Law prohibits loans to officers of non-profit institutions by the institution. Legal counsel should be consulted before negotiating any such arrangement.
If a housing allowance is provided, several factors must be taken into consideration, both by pastor and congregation:
that she or he can show that the actual housing costs do in fact equal the entire housing allowance. Any amount of the allowance that is not actually spent on housing is taxable to the pastor
Equity Allowance: An equity allowance is not a housing allowance. The two different types of allowances should not be confused. For a pastor living in a parsonage, an equity allowance is part of basic compensation, and is only fair and just.
In fairness, there is a need to enable parsonage dwellers to accumulate some equity that can eventually be used to provide housing, either owned or rented. After a lifetime spent in parsonages, the family may have no assets with which to provide housing. In other words, at death, disability, or retirement, the pastor's family is on its own.
The mechanics for funding an equity allowance should be as simple as possible. A written statement outlining a plan, the funding and specific procedure is crucial. (We strongly suggest that this be done in consultation with a qualified tax attorney or certified financial planner to assure that the plan conforms to the requirements of the
How much? Some congregations figure out how much the parsonage has increased in value during the past year, and pay that annually to the pastor. (A 2% increase in value on a $125,000 parsonage would be a $2,500 equity allowance payment.) Other churches estimate the typical payments on mortgage principal, and pay that. Still others pay a percentage of salary, say 7.5% as an equity allowance.
The important consideration is that the pastor be allowed what most parishioners have a build-up of equity.
It must be remembered that an equity allowance is additional compensation (deferred income), and eventually will be taxable. Of course, the tax, also, may be deferred. Generally, a separate fund is set aside and is not available to the pastor until retirement. It becomes taxable when it is used. If a pastor moves, it will be desirable to agree further that the depository of such set-aside funds will be changed upon the pastor's relocation, but that the fund and the restrictions on its use be continued.
Benefits In Addition to Salary and Housing Allowance
5. Medicare: C&M recommends that when a pastor reaches the age of 65 and goes under Medicare, her or his church pick up the cost of The Medicare Supplement Plan. (This cost would be more than offset by the sharply lower premium required.)
8. Malpractice Insurance: Each church should consider purchasing malpractice insurance. (This insurance is included in the Conferences of the UCC Insurance Program.)
9. Flexible Spending Account Plan: Through the Pension Boards, local churches participating in the UCC Health Benefit Plans may establish a Flexible Spending Account for clergy. Aside from a modest initial set-up fee making this Account available does not have a cost to the local church as it is funded by the clergy person’s voluntary salary redirection into the Account. The Account provides participants with tax-savings related to medical deductibles, copays and dependent care expenses and is an attractive addition to a compensation arrangement.
Vacations and Leaves of Absence
1. Vacations: It is recommended that pastors be given at least one month paid vacation each year, with complete freedom from all parish responsibility during that time.
8. Sick Leave: C&M recommends that churches give their pastor(s) sick leave accumulated at the rate of one day per month, up to thirty days. In cases of prolonged illness or disability, churches should continue to provide clergy compensation and all benefits, except travel, for ninety days, when the Disability Income Plan takes effect. Travel expenses should be paid for the first month. Parsonage use or housing allowance should be continued for the three-month period, and thereafter be negotiated month-by-month.
9. Death: In cases of clergy death, churches should provide salary, housing and all benefits, to the spouse and/or family for three months. Continued use of the parsonage, and other expenses, such as moving, should be considered on an individual basis, in close consultation with the Conference Minister.
C&M strongly urges churches to adopt an "Accountable Reimbursement Policy" (acceptable to the
An alternative to this method might be for the church to provide the minister with an automobile for which the church pays all expenses and for which the minister would then record and compensate the church for personal miles traveled.
2. Ecclesiastical Meetings: The church should pay for its pastor(s) to attend the meetings, conferences and assemblies of the Deans’ groups, conference and wider church In addition, some allowance should be made for the pastor's expenses while participating in ecumenical activities on the local or state level. Also, attendance at such functions, or work within the wider church such as camps and conferences, or committee work should not be considered vacation or "days off."
3. Other Business Expenses: The costs of subscriptions to religious journals, the costs of entertaining guests of the church, the cleaning or procuring of vestments to be worn in service, professional dues and the expenses of "in service training" all are legitimate professional expenses and should NOT be taken from salary compensation. Upon written and timely account of these expenditures, they should be reimbursed by the church. C&M urges each church to keep in mind the principle of fairness:
All business expenses of the pastor should be covered by the church.
Additional Terms of Employment
Loans to Clergy
The staff of the Florida Conference has been asked for guidance regarding loans to clergy persons by their employers. If the congregation is incorporated, most are, and if the clergy person's position is named in the constitution or bylaws as an officer of the corporation, then it is likely that the following excerpt from the State of Florida Statutes regarding Not For Profit Corporations apply to your situation. Obviously, you will want to consult your own legal counsel regarding this issue. "Loans to directors or officers,- Loans, other than through the purchase of bonds, debentures, or similar obligations of the type customarily sold in public offerings, or through ordinary deposit of funds in a bank, may not be made by a corporation to its directors or officers or holds a substantial financial interest, except a loan by one corporation which is exempt from federal income taxation under s. 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. A loan made in violation of this section is a violation of the duty to the corporation of the directors or officers authorizing it or participating in it, but the obligation of the borrower with respect to the loan shall not be affected thereby."1
The minimum cash salary guidelines apply to any pastor engaged in full-time work.
All the other guidelines in this booklet should apply to the associate pastor(s), with only those adjustments that fairly reflect differing expectations from the senior pastor.
Presenting a Pastoral Compensation Package
in an Annual Report Booklet
Given the fact that church members inevitably make comparisons between their own earnings and those of their pastor, thought needs to be given to the way this information is presented in the church's Annual Reports/Budget.
C&M strongly urges local churches to use a budget format that clearly distinguished among line items. A breakdown such as occurs in this booklet might be reasonable. In that case, the pastor's "earnings" would be categorized by:
Compensation (Salary... Housing/Equity)
Benefits (Annuity, insurance, Social Security, etc.) Study/Sabbatical/Other Leaves
Professional Expenses (Travel, Meeting/Business) Additional Costs (Childcare, Allowances)
In this way, congregations can help to ensure that their members have full (and fair) information as to the contents of their pastor's total compensation package.
Where Can You Get More Assistance
C&M wants to remind/inform the churches and pastors of the Florida Conference that we are available for consultation, as are the Conference Minister, Regional Conference Ministers on matters pertaining to pastoral compensation, benefits, leaves, expenses, and other terms of employment.
Lastly, we are providing, additional resources which churches/pastors might find beneficial.
Useful Phone Numbers/Addresses/Information
Florida Conference Office 407-835-7501
The Pension Boards, UCC 800-642-6543
Federal Income Tax Information 800-829-1040
Social Security Information, call your district office listed in the White pages
Internal Revenue Service, Publication 517, "Social Security for Clergy and Religious Workers"
Sabbatical Planning This booklet is based upon that created by the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ.
Sample of a proposed Covenant Between Pastor and Congregation
(This could also be used as a position description with minimum rewording. Again, keep in mind that in the Florida Conference, allowance should be made for mutual expectations and evaluation, pastor and congregation.)
Pastor and Teacher
Our Pastor is responsible, in cooperation with the Church Council (or other appropriate body) for the total policy and program of the work of Christ within this congregation of the United Church of Christ.
Our Congregation is responsible to give you all proper attention, respect love and support in your Pastoral/Teaching ministry on behalf of Christ Jesus within this congregation.
In order that mutual expectations might be clarified and evaluation possible, fair, just and mutual, these Principal duties are envisioned:
1. Our Pastor shall oversee the worship and work of the congregation. He/she shall provide direction and evaluation for all aspects of the church's ministry.
We (the congregation) shall support his/her oversight by our worship attendance and by our willingness to receive guidance, and example from our Pastor.
We shall support and encourage his/her sacramental leadership among us, and receive, in a spirit of mutual need, his/her counseling and training relating to the Rites and Sacraments of the Church.
3. Our Pastor shall plan and conduct services of worship each Sunday while on duty, and at such other times as may be appropriate. He/she shall be expected to research, preach and teach God's Word.
We shall be a congregation committed to being teachable and reachable in Worship, and to receiving, in all honor, our Pastor's sharing relating to God's Word.
4. Our Pastor shall visit and give comfort to the hospitalized, sick and shut-in members of our congregation, on an appropriate and continuing basis. He/she shall also seek out, and provide adequate instruction to those with sincere desire to unite with our congregation.
We, as a congregation, shall provide our Pastor with the assistance of Deacons and others that may, at his/her request, engage in this ministry.
5. Our Pastor shall act as the primary Counselor of those within the congregation who need guidance and assistance.
We shall see that he/she has adequate time for such duties and we commit that he/she shall not be expected to bear a counseling load beyond responsible expectations, or the limits of his/her skills.
6. Our Pastor, as Teacher, shall be accountable for a strong program of Christian Education (in conjunction with the Director of Christian Education and/or Religious Education Committee), oversee the preparation of those preparing to be Confirmed, and provide leadership and/or encouragement for an active youth program.
We shall assist him/her with the recruitment and training of a responsible Christian Education Committee members and Church school teachers. We also shall work with him/her to secure adequate lay or professional assistance needed to carry out an active youth program.
7. Our Pastor shall direct the on-going administrative matters of the congregation, and supervise all church staff. He/she shall have the right and duty to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees (or appropriate committee) regarding the employment, termination and salary reviews of all church staff.
We shall provide our Pastor with adequate support staff for the size and program of the congregation. We commit to receive his/her oversight, evaluation and input in all matters of administration, operation and personnel.
8. Our Pastor shall ensure that church records are properly maintained, including records of membership, birth, marriage, baptism confirmation, communion and death. He/she shall ensure that all office functions are effectively handled.
We shall provide our Pastor with appropriate office space, equipment and staff. We shall provide him/her with lay/professional assistance in the handling of all records and papers.
9. Our Pastor shall take part in appropriate community activities, and ensure that our congregation takes its responsibility to engage in mission work beyond the local church. We expect our Pastor to be ecumenical in his/her outlook, and contribute to the needs of the community as he/she feels is appropriate, as a representative of our congregation.
We shall support our Pastor's involvement in the community, and ecumenical church and allow adequate and appropriate time for these activities and involvement.
10. Our Pastor shall be expected to represent the congregation at, and where appropriate serve on, [Mission Council] Koinonia, Conference and denominational boards, committees, and related activities.
We shall support and encourage our Pastor's participation in the wider work and witness of the United Church of Christ, and provide lay delegates and workers for same, at his/her direction and/or suggestion. We agree that work for the United Church of Christ beyond our congregation shall not be counted as vacation time, study leave or day(s) off.
11. Our Pastor shall act as an ex-officio member of all organizations, committees and functions of the congregation. He/she shall endeavor to assure that all members of such groups thoroughly understand their purpose, objectives and reason for being. He/she shall attend activities, meetings, and other gatherings as appropriate, and where time permits.
We shall not expect that our Pastor can do everything. We shall endeavor on our part not to place undo demands on his/her time relating to these organizations, committees and functions. We shall not expect our Pastor consistently to be out more than three evenings in any one week, or that he/she becomes too involved that the needs of his/her family are neglected.
12. Our Pastor shall endeavor to assure sound communications between him/herself and the congregation, and two-way communication between the congregation and the wider church.
We commit ourselves to open, honest and loving communications with and about our Pastor, and to the receipt of his/her leadership when it comes to matters relating our congregation to the wider church.
13. Our Pastor shall have full authority granted to him/her by the United
Church of Christ, and by the Constitution and by-laws of our congregation. He/she shall always have freedom of the pulpit, and the right to be consulted in any matters decided by the congregation and any of its organizations, boards, officers and committees.
We shall respond appropriately at all times to his/her authority, and shall have the right of conference with him/her at all times.
14. Our Pastor shall be expected to develop professionally through continued study, reading, conferences and seminars. He/she shall share this knowledge where appropriate, and encourage our congregation to develop in their secular and spiritual growth.
We shall support and encourage our Pastor in these endeavors, and provide adequate time and assistance, so that he/she can fully benefit from continual development.
15. Our Pastor shall be expected to perform those other duties that may be
mutually assigned or developed by Pastor and Congregation.
We shall assist our Pastor at all times in the discharge of his/her duties, and we accept that our ministry is a mutual one, as Pastor and Congregation.
(Note: This covenant/position description may be used in a public ceremony. If used as the official covenant, it should be co-signed by the Pastor and at least 3 appropriate church officers, and all parties should keep copies, and one copy should be forwarded to your Conference Office at < firstname.lastname@example.org>)
1. Florida Statutes, 1997
God is still speaking