Transitional Pastor Compensation

Transitional Pastor Compensation

Calculating Salaries for Transitional (Interim) Pastor

Transitional or Interim pastors are often called to assist church leadership during the interval after your pastor leaves and before another is called by the congregation. Upon locating a pastor to serve temporarily, the subject of compensation is appropriate.

Church leaders also need to understand that a Transitional (Interim) Pastor, like the pastor of the church, is not a “hireling.” Pastors are not for hire. They are servants of the Lord and called to serve the church. To maintain Biblical integrity, a local church needs to provide a “fair” salary to its ministers. How is fairness determined? The amount of salary is best determined by what the church expects from the Transitional Pastor, and what skills the Transitional Pastor brings to the relationship. What follows is one method to calculate compensation that is both fair to the prospective pastor and responsible to the congregation.

1. To begin, determine the former pastor’s total compensation.

2. Your former pastor was on call 24/7, thus a day can be appropriately divided into four segments, or work units: 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. This results in 28 work units per week.

3. Take the compensation from step 1 and divide it by 52. The result is the weekly salary.

4. Take the weekly salary and divide it by 28. The result is the value of compensation for each work unit. If the Transitional (Interim) pastor does not live on the church field, discount each work unit by 10%.

5. Determine how much time (measured in work units) you want the Transitional (Interim) pastor to invest in your church. Add units for travel time, and one unit for preparation of each weekly message (e.g., three messages per week = three units).

6. Finally, take the number of work units you determined the pastor will invest in the church each week and multiply it by the work unit compensation determined in step 4. This is the Transitional (Interim) pastor’s weekly compensation. Remember to add travel expenses, if the pastor does not live on the church field.

A sample calculation may look like this:

60,000 / 52 = 1,153.85 per week; 1,153.85 / 28 = 41.21 per work unit;
The pastor does not live on the church field so each unit is discounted: 41.21 – 4.12 = 37.09
The church desires the pastor to invest all day Sunday (4), 8 hours on Monday (2), all day Wednesday (4), and 8 hours on Thursday (2).
In this example, the pastor lives 2 hours away. Add 1 unit for travel Sunday-Monday, and 1 unit for travel Wednesday-Thursday, and 3 units for message preparation (Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening).
Total the number of weekly work units: 4 + 4 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 = 17
Calculate the pastor’s weekly compensation: 16 * 37.09 = 630.53
The pastor in this example does not live on the church field, therefore travel expenses will be added to the weekly compensation. Do not forget lodging. In this example, the church will also provide local motel lodging for Sunday night and Wednesday night.

While this process may seem mechanical and pecuniary, it serves to compensate the Transitional (Interim) pastor fairly for the time that will be invested in the church, while being financially responsible to the congregation.