Compensation Guidelines

We have prepared the following compensation guidelines for use by congregational councils, other ministry agencies, and church workers. These guidelines offer guidance regarding the minimum levels of compensation that are appropriate for pastors, rostered lay leaders, Synodically Authorized Ministers and non-rostered employees of congregations in the synod.

These guidelines are designed to be a resource to assist church leaders in compensating church workers in ways that are fair, supportive and mission-driven. As you use these guidelines, please keep in mind that pastors, rostered lay leaders and other church workers are valuable resources for the whole church.

Compensation decisions should be viewed in light of other significant commitments by a congregation — such as a commitment to justice for church staff persons and a commitment to supporting the work of the wider church through ELCA/synodical mission support.


Table of Contents

  • Introduction: How Our Faith Informs Us
  • I. Making Compensation Decisions
  • II. Compensation for Pastors
  • III. Compensation for Rostered Lay Leaders
  • IV. Compensation for Synodically Authorized Ministers (Sams)
  • V. Compensation for Other Church Staff
  • VI. Provisions That Normally Apply to All Employees of Congregations
  • Appendix A Northwestern Minnesota Synod Parsonage Guidelines
  • Appendix B Northwestern Minnesota Synod Travel Expense Reimbursement
  • Appendix C Compensation Worksheet for Rostered Lay Leaders and Other Lay Staff
  • Appendix D Compensation Worksheet for Ordained Pastors
  • Appendix E When a Congregation Compensates Staff Members Above or Below
  • Synodical Guidelines: Implications for Discussion
  • Appendix F Resources for Personnel and Compensation Issues in Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America