The pastor’s lot
A survey of 180 church pastors affiliated to the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) reveals that the typical FIEC pastor is 51 years of age, has been in the ministry for just under 17 years, works 56 hours a week and no longer lives in a manse.
He receives a stipend of between £22,850 and £23,880 if he lives in his own house, and between £18,835 and £20,050 if he lives in a manse – a differential of about £4,000.
The survey findings demonstrate that the traditional pattern is fast disappearing of each church possessing a manse in which the pastor lives. A similar survey in the year 2000 indicated that 46 per cent of FIEC pastors lived in their own homes. Eight years later, this figure has jumped to 65 per cent. Today, only 25 per cent of pastors live in manses, and nearly half of those own a home of their own elsewhere.
The survey reveals that nearly 40 per cent of FIEC pastors are over the age of 55, and only 6 per cent are under 35. Worryingly, on these figures, men will retire from the ministry at the rate of 4 per cent of the total number of FIEC pastors every year, while new pastors enter at the rate of just 2.5 per cent a year.
At this level of intake, every pastor will have to serve 40 years simply to ensure that the present level of ministry in our churches is maintained.
More than one in every four FIEC pastors admits to being unsuccessful in safeguarding his time off, while only 39 per cent of churches make any pension contribution on behalf of their pastors.
The figures are based on details supplied anonymously by pastors and represent a 50 per cent response, so the findings probably represent a reliable guide to the circumstances of FIEC pastors.