Pastor Salary Guidelines for 2020-2021

Online Tool

Interpretive Comments
Pastor Salary Worksheet 2020-2021 
Geographical Units
Covenant of Understanding
Retired Ministers

The Leadership Development Team of Mennonite Church USA provides guidelines for compensation of our pastors and conference ministers.  Our goal is to be supportive of ministers, congregations and conferences as they negotiate salaries and determine fair compensation.

We are happy to partner with Everence to provide an online experience that gives you a simple, intuitive way to fill out the guidelines and start a conversation between pastor and church leadership. At the end, you may print or save a PDF summary of the guidelines with your information.  You can access the new online Pastor Salary Guidelines at

Each year the worksheet and interpretive comments are updated and a base salary is suggested.  Guidelines use education, experience, responsibility, and geographical location as factors in adding to the base salary. These guidelines are a starting point for salary negotiations and are a minimum standard for fair compensation of pastors in MC USA. If your church is in a geographical area where housing costs are high, please negotiate additional salary to reflect this reality. The geographical units, which reflect effective buying power (see interpretive comments), do not adequately reflect high housing costs in particular locations..

We know there are many dedicated pastors serving in our system who are self-supporting or bi-vocational. We also know that not every congregation can afford to pay pastors according to these guidelines. The salary guidelines can help congregations determine the level of pastoral support they can afford. They also help pastors determine what is a reasonable workload given a particular salary, etc. We are available to help congregations and conferences work with the guidelines in this way.

It is important to have adequate preparation time each year for completing the annual compensation agreement.  “Negotiating the Pastor’s Salary” lays out some very helpful steps for pastors and congregations in this process.  Particularly with persons new to pastoral ministry, we suggest the topic of student debt be discussed in the negotiating process.

These salary guidelines are updated each year around April 1.  However, with varying fiscal years, each congregation will have its own time frame for using these guidelines.

It is essential that financial arrangements are clear to all parties and written down. A sample Covenant of Understanding is available in a basic Word format, making it easy to customize.  A second Word template allows the user to choose options and fill in their information.

Although worksheets for salary, benefits and expenses are in one document, it is important for church officials to separate these items when reporting budget and expenditures to the congregation.  It is particularly important that financial reporting not leave the impression that expenses are part of a pastor’s salary.

These guidelines are offered as a resource for your congregation and conference in the coming year.  As always, your feedback and questions are welcome.


Grace and peace,




Michael Danner

Associate Executive Director for Church Vitality and Engagement