The Healthy Church Staff Podcast

What Youth Pastors Are Getting Paid in 2024

February 05, 2024 Todd Rhoades Season 1 Episode 21
The Healthy Church Staff Podcast
What Youth Pastors Are Getting Paid in 2024
Show Notes Transcript

Could your paycheck from youth pastoring be dictated more by your church's size than your years of hard-earned experience? Together with my colleague Dan Navarra, we've cracked open our latest Youth Pastor Compensation Study and found some trends that might surprise you. In this episode, we get real about the numbers, and they're more than just dollars and cents. We're talking a slight rise to an average salary of $52,186, but what's really influencing that paycheck isn't necessarily what you'd expect. 

Join us for an eye-opening conversation where we examine under-recognized factors affecting youth pastor salaries, highlight the importance of advocating for yourself during annual reviews, and discuss the potential income boost that comes along with these evaluations. It's not all about the numbers; we're also tackling the average age and tenure of youth pastors and shining a spotlight on the persistent gender wage gap within the field. If you're a youth pastor wondering about your financial future or a church leader pondering budgetary priorities, this episode holds crucial insights for you.

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Speaker 1:

Okay, you saw the title. You just want to know the number. Here it is $52,186. Okay, but don't go away because we're going to unpack those numbers. Thanks so much for joining us here on the Healthy Church Staff Podcast.

Speaker 1:

My name is Todd Rhodes. I'm one of the co-founders here at Chemistristaffingcom and I am really excited today we get to release we released it, I believe, last week our new 2024 Youth Pastor Compensation Study. That's done every year for the last I don't know five or six years from chemistry staffing and our partners over at the Youth Cartel and along with one of our teammates here at Chemistristaffing, dan Rivera, we are excited to release this. So here's the headline. The average youth pastor salary is continued to slowly climb during last year, but when you peak underneath the hood, there are a few troubling trends and we're going to talk about all of that today. Okay, but let's start with that number. Right? It's $52,186. That's, on average, what the salary is for youth pastors in the United States in 2023. It's up almost 2% 1.9% from 2022. So let's unpack that just a little bit. About 54% of youth pastors did not receive an annual review where their compensation was discussed. That's over half 54%. Those who did do an annual review where their compensation was discussed, received an average of 7.7% higher salary in 2023. So really, the squeaky wheel here has a chance of getting the oil, and those with a review earn 7.7, almost 8% more on average compared to the national average of about 1.9%. So just remember, if you're a youth pastor, that silence can cost you a raise. If your employer or your church is not saying, hey, let's have an annual review, let's talk about this, it might be a good idea for you to spearhead that conversation or at least ask if that conversation can be had. So $52,186. All right, you're listening.

Speaker 1:

You're a youth pastor, or you are in charge of the budget at your church or the personnel team, or you know exactly what your youth pastor is being paid. Maybe it's more than $52,000. Maybe it's less. $52,000 is the average, but Guess what the two biggest factors are? Church attendance and church budget. No surprises there. Those are the two biggest factors affecting compensation, and that really is regardless of experience and education. You might have more experience, you might have more education, and those definitely are factors, but church attendance and church budget are the two biggest factors in that 52,000 average number. In fact, churches over 1,000 pay about 14.4% more than churches under 1,000. And, like I said, education matters, but less than before. Master's degrees If you're a youth pastor with a master's degree, you can probably guesstimate that you're going to make about 10.7% higher pay than if you didn't have that master's degree. And experience really starts to pay off after 10 years, particularly if you're in the same church.

Speaker 1:

Ok, so let's take a look at kind of the typical youth pastor from this survey. Average age is about 34 and 1 half years old. That was a little surprising to me. It sounds a little older than what I thought it would be. I thought it would be late 20s, maybe around 30. But we are seeing a lot more people staying in youth ministry longer. Don't want to call them lifers, but yeah, a lot of people are staying into youth ministry well into their 30s and 40s and 50s. Even so, average tenure at a church this surprised me as well About 4.6 years Now. The reason that's the problem we've heard floated around. The average tenure for a youth pastor in particular is about a year and a half. I always thought that was a little bit low. There are definitely people that don't last a year or a year and a half, but for the most part. I think it's a little higher than that. 4.6 years for the average tenure did surprise me a little bit, but that's what the survey told us. And let's talk about gender gap for a little bit. Women saw a 7.2% increase in 2023 as far as the number of youth pastors that are women, men seem to stay pretty flat. That's interesting as well. Let's talk denominations and then we'll get you out of here and get you on with your day and your week.

Speaker 1:

Denominations Did denominational affiliation make any difference? Yes and no, just like education and experience, certain denominations pay better. Certain denominations pay underwhelmingly, we should say. But the two biggest factors still are church attendance and church budget. But when it comes to denominations non-denominational churches the average is about $52,636. That's what? $500 more than the average If you're non-denominational. They pay pretty much on average. Maybe slightly higher Baptist denominations and believe me, there are all different kinds of Baptist. If you're a Baptist, like I, grew up Baptist that we don't like to play in the same litter box sometimes, but Baptist as a group paid the best as denominations about $54,961. Of course, there's going to be Baptist churches that pay a lot higher and some that pay lower. Lowest denomination from our survey, assemblies of God comes in at around $45,722 on average. Now you have to consider the past year and a half, the high inflation.

Speaker 1:

The churches have had to make some really difficult choices to adequately compensate to youth pastors. And my admonition to you if you're in charge of what you pay for your youth pastor, pay for some coaching so your youth pastor can grow and they're thinking and their skill set. And really there are some unique ways that you can. If you're trying to compensate your youth pastor, well, you as a church really have some power through some non-cash benefits as well things that don't cost you like really tangible dollars, but things like maybe some extra time off, maybe some tuition reimbursement. I guess that does cost a little bit A housing allowance. If you can work out for your youth pastor to take advantage of housing allowance. If they're not, that can also supplement some compensation if your money's tight.

Speaker 1:

But I think one of the lessons here is prioritize those annual reviews, particularly if you're a youth pastor. You might not look forward to it, but just know that annual review is one of the factors that showed that you might be getting a little bit better of a raise and if you just if they forego the annual review, you might not get nearly as much. Consider giving your youth pastor a raise. They work hard. It's imperative that we just treat our people well, and one of the ways to not lose your youth pastor is to pay a fair salary.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so you might be saying to yourself self where in the world do I go to get a copy of this report? And there will be a link in the show notes, or you can just head over to chemistrystaffingcom. If you go to our website at chemistrystaffingcom and go to the resources tab, you'll see a listing that says 2024 youth pastor compensation report. Just click on that and you'll be able to full, read the full and download the full PDF report. Okay, that is our update on what youth pastors are getting paid in 2024. So thankful that you are here and that you found the Healthy Church Staff podcast. If there's other people maybe your youth pastor on your staff, or maybe you're a youth pastor and you want your pastor to listen to this episode, feel free to forward on to it. We want to grow our audience as much as we can. But thank you so much for listening and we'll be back tomorrow. Same bat time, same bat channel right here on the Healthy Church Staff podcast.