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How Much Money Do Megachurch Pastors Make?

The Story: A new study released by the Leadership Network examines the salaries of 209 of the very largest churches in North America, all with weekend worship attendance of at least 2,000.

The Background: According to the report, the study represents the “largest-scale window that anyone has compiled to date on the continent's largest churches in terms of their financial dynamics.” The report includes survey results of 164 churches with attendance between 2,000-4,999 and 44 churches with weekend worship attendances of 5,000 and higher. (Among North America's 325,000 Protestant churches, only 1,600 (0.5%) have attendances of 2,000 or higher.)

The churches included in the report are from 34 states and 3 Canadian provinces. The oldest were founded in the early 1800s, and the youngest ones in 2005. In terms of ethnicity, 83% described themselves as predominantly Anglo/white. The other 17% said they are predominantly African American/black, Hispanic/ Latino, Asian, or “no majority group.” Selected churches also span a wide variety of traditions, both non-denominational and denominational.

The senior pastors of these churches ranged in age from the low 30s to the low 70s. The median age was 51. The median tenure of the senior pastor is 13 years at their current church. Each congregation's annual giving ranged from almost $2 million to over $30 million.

The Takeaways: Some of the more interesting findings from the study include:

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