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Some Allowances and Benefits Churches Should Consider Giving To Their Pastors (Part 1)

Contrary to the public perception that pastors are “living large” at the expense of their flocks, the majority are actually some of the m...

Contrary to the public perception that pastors are “living large” at the expense of their flocks, the majority are actually some of the most poor species under the sun. They are languishing in abject poverty, thereby misrepresenting the Kingdom of God which they stand for.

Tapiwa Zuze

Pastors are even funding ministry work from their own pockets. Even on rare occasions where pastors are on salary, the monetary package usually falls short of meeting the most basic of family requirements.

Through my experience and professional exposure, I have compiled a list of some basic financial allowances and benefits that progressive churches may consider to provide to their pastors. Though you might not fully address them all at once, but making strides in adopting them gradually may go a long way in relieving your pastors of the financial stress they are currently going through.

1. Basic Salary:
Churches should seriously consider putting their pastors at least on some basic salary. This is one figure which is sort of mandatory, and should be paid as such every month. When one has some guaranteed income, at least they can plan on what to do every month. Remember, besides the church flock that pastors shepherd on a day to day basis, they have families to look after. While the church might be committed to meeting the pastor’s basic requirements, do they also think about his other dependents? Some might be having parents who are suffering in rural areas, or dependents who are being treated on chronic illnesses. They still need to plan for their families and be of help.

Professionals in their workplaces get good salaries that are usually able to cover their families and dependents. What about our pastors? Let’s not be naïve and be self-serving to our interests. A pastor is also a human being. If we put ourselves in the same shoes, we will understand it better.

2. Housing Allowance:
In my administrative experience and professional judgement, housing allowance should be considered part of the “base package” for a pastor. It is very embarrassing to see your pastor being harassed by the landlord, or in waste case scenarios, having their belongings thrown out of their lodgings. What will then happen if at the same time that your pastor is being harassed you also get a spiritual attack that require his immediate presence? Can he afford to come and attend to you when his family is under siege? When he doesn’t attend to your issue, you are the first to badmouth him to the rest of the church and society. Are we not being inhuman here?

Funds permitting, the church should just build a pastoral house and solve this housing predicament once and for all.

3. Self-Employment Tax Offset:
Your pastor might be embarking on other personal projects in order to diversify his revenue streams, which is applaud able. These may include publishing books, chicken or piggery projects. However, this normally attracts some tax obligations. It will be so helpful if the church could consider providing additional funds that cover the tax liability portion. This can go a long way in augmenting a pastor’s retained earnings.

4. Health and Life Insurance Cover:
Churches should provide some basic cover to the pastor and his family, especially on health and death issues. It is a fact that one day the pastor will be visited by illnesses or even death in his family.

It is embarrassing to hear that your pastor’s wife has been detained at the hospital because of unpaid medical bills. Think of it again that your pastor may lose a child and stays with a body at home because they cannot afford mortuary fees. Churches, let us be responsible and cover our pastors both on health and life insurance. Otherwise such embarrassing moments may befall you and damage the church’s reputation beyond repair.

Tapiwa Zuze

5. Motor Vehicle Wear and Tear Reimbursement:
Many times pastors travel a lot for church business but in their personal motor vehicles, and using their personal fuel. While churches usually do not have a problem with reimbursing fuel expenses, but rarely do they think of the wear and tear of the pastor’s motor vehicle.

The pastor is left to replace the gasket, shock absorbers, tyres, blowing exhaust pipe, fan belts, blown headlamps and other general wear-and-tear related expenses alone. While the church may not foot all of these expenses, but surely they should approve a certain amount that can assist the pastor to repair his motor vehicle. As much as the asset could be personally owned, but there will be some reasonable wear and tear that comes through its use for church business.

6. Retirement and Pension Funds:
Pastors usually start their work at an early age. It is very tempting to focus more on recurrent expenditure requirements thereby neglecting to invest in their future. Help them think about their tomorrow by contributing to a retirement fund for them. Even a few dollars per month can pay off very well in the long run. Help your pastors to avoid potential destitution in their twilight years if they do not invest wisely in their former years.

Watch out for the continuation of the article in Part 2.

Church organisations, let us get out of the general stigma that a pastor should suffer in the vineyard. Pastors are professional messengers from God who are doing their “father’s business”. Just like what corporates do to their employees, let us also value them and aim to compensate fairly for their work and assignments here on earth. It is godly and should be embraced across the world.

May God help us in changing our mindsets.

Tapiwa Zuze –

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