Compensation Guidance

This page contains guidance and resources for churches that are determining their pastor's compensation.

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Minimum Compensation Chart

Minimum compensation is determined by a percentage of the Conference Annual Salary, which is the average compensation minus the amount included for housing. 

2020 Conference Average Salary $53,287  
Years of Service Percent of Cash Salary 2019 Salary


1 to 5 80% $41,509 $42,630
6 81% $42,028 $43,163
7 82% $42,547 $43,696
8 83% $43,066 $44,228
9 84% $43,585 $44,761
10 85% $44,103 $45,294
11 86% $44,622 $45,827
12 87% $45,141 $46,360
13 88% $45,660 $46,893
14 89% $46,179 $47,426
15 90% $46,698 $47,959

Completing the Compensation Form on the Dashboard

Line by line guidance on what should be completed on the compensation sheet in the conference dashboard

Cash Salary

LINE 1. Previous Cash Salary: What was the cash salary portion from the previous year. This can be found on line 4 of the last Compensation record. For new pastors, simply enter 0.

LINE 2. Cost of Living Increase or Minimum Salary Increase: Cost of living amounts can be computed but consulting the most current annual Consumer's Price Index for the inflation rate for your area. Multiply Line 1 by this figure  and place it on Line 2. CPI-WEST as of 7/2016 was 1.4%.

LINE 3. Additional Increase:  Each church should study its own situation, making appropriate increases when feasible. Factors such as pastoral effectiveness, size of congregation, size of budget, length of service, family needs, and income standards in a church and community may be considered as reasons for additional or merit increases.

LINE 4. Total Cash Salary: Total of lines 1 through 3. Note: Check the Minimum Compensation Chart above. The The total on Line 4 must meet the Conference Minimum Compensation figures for pastors. Enter into Line 4a. any amount set aside for INDIVIDUAL health care insurance such as insurance purchased through the Exchange (Covered California, e.g.). This amount is considered taxable income. DO NOT ENTER any amount set aside for a GROUP Health Care Insurance plan (such as the Conference Blue Shield Health Care Insurance plan). That amount should be reported in  Line 13.

LINE 5. Amount WITHIN Cash Salary Designated for Tax Deferred (Pension) Contribution: Many pastors are entering into tax-deferred salary plans with local churches. If your pastor wishes to participate in such a plan, please place the amount designated on Line 5. This is not additional salary. (For more information about the General Board of Pensions Tax-Deferred Salary Plan, contact Paul Extrum-Fernandez at the Conference Board of Pensions Office @916-913-1049. To find out how to enroll your pastor in the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP), visit our Setting up UMPIP page.

LINE 6. Amount WITHIN Cash Salary Designated for Home Furnishings: After consultation with the pastor, designate an amount for home furnishings on Line 6.  This is not additional salary.  This designation allows the pastor to utilize special income tax laws available to clergy.

LINE 7. Amount WITHIN Cash Salary Designated for Health Care Cafeteria Plans: After consultation with the pastor, an amount for a health care cafeteria plan (e.g. Flexible Spending Account [IRS Sec 125]) may be set, subject to legal limits.  This is not additional salary.

Housing and Utilities

LINE 8a. Parsonage: Simply Answer Yes or No.

LINE 8B. Parsonage Value:  Parsonage value is Total Cash Salary (Line 5) plus Utilities (Line 10) multiplied by 25%.

LINE 9. Housing Allowance (if no parsonage is provided): Each local church is to provide housing for its pastor(s). In lieu of a church-owned or rented parsonage, the church may pay a housing allowance. The rule regarding housing allowance reads, “Whenever mutually agreeable by the local church and pastor, and with the concurrence of the District Superintendent, an adequate housing allowance may be provided by the local church, which shall be used by the pastor for the purchase or rental of the housing of his/her choice. If there is no parsonage alternative and the pastor does not purchase a home, then the church shall provide appropriate rental housing and appliances as in Standing Rule X.C.” 

LINE 10. Utilities: Standing Rule Division VII.D.5.c, page 234 of the 2016 Conference Journal states: “The actual amount of parsonage utilities or an amount based on the cost of parsonage utilities for previous years, should be paid.” Included in “utilities” would be: water, gas, electricity, garbage, and basic telephone costs.

LINE 11. Total Housing and Utilities: Add Lines 9 and 10 (not 8b).

LINE 12. Total Compensation: Add Lines 4 and 11

LINE 13. Health Insurance:  The Annual Conference offers two Group Health Insurance plans. The first is the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plan and the second is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). Payment for a Group Health Insurance plan is considered a non-taxable benefit for employees (and dependents), including clergy. Pastors are eligible to change enrollment options on January 1 or later if there is another qualifying event such as a move or loss of other coverage.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of January 1, 2014, all Individual health insurance plans are considered a taxable benefit for employees. If the church pays for your INDIVIDUAL (including coverage for dependents) health insurance plan or reimburses you for the cost of the plan, the amount paid for the insurance is considered taxable income and must be reported in Line 4 above, not in Line 13. This includes Individual Health Insurance purchased through the California (Covered California) or Nevada State Health Insurance Exchanges. NO EXCEPTIONS. If the church pays for a Group Health Insurance plan other than the one offered by the Conference, please indicate the name of the carrier in Line 13 and the amount paid.

LINE 14. Pension and Benefits: See the Pension and Benefit Worksheet Guidance section for more information. 

LINE 15. Total: Add lines 12, 13 and 14. 

LINE 16. Total of Accountable Reimbursements for Professional Expenses

LINE 17. Grand Total: Add lines 15 and 16.

Pension Billing Calculator

Click here to estimate the annual and monthly cost of the pension billing, which is the combination of the Defined Benefit (DB), Defined Contribution (DC) and Comprehensive Protection Plan (CPP) for clergy members