Thom Rainer: Who Should Know Specific Church Salaries?

Dr. Thom Rainer
Dr. Thom Rainer

Who gets to see all the salaries in a church?

Warren Bird and Leadership Network have completed an exhaustive study on large churches (500 attendance and up) and ministry pay. The research is excellent and the conclusions are fascinating (see the study at

Dr. Bird prefers our article on the study to coincide with the date the story goes to the general public. For that reason, I will offer this teaser and provide the full story on social media when it’s released.

This study was broad. The researchers surveyed 1,251 churches. Most of the churches are in America, but a small percentage of them were outside North America. As a researcher of churches, I know this study has to be one of the most comprehensive of its kind.

Among the fascinating tidbits is that nearly three-fourths of the responding churches are growing. Simply stated, we are hearing from larger churches that are reaching people.

Here are four excerpts for you to consider:

1. No churches made the salaries available to the general public. That is 0%. None. Zero. Nada. Out of over 1,200 churches.

2. Only 1% of the churches made the salaries available to the entire congregation. This data point was the most surprising and the most fascinating to me. I knew anecdotally that most larger churches do not give out the salaries to the full congregation, but I am really surprised that “most” equals 99%.

Click here to read more.

Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.