Well at Stodgy Presbyterian, as in many other Presbyterian churches, its budget time. Time to look at the amount of pledges made, and to figure out how much each ministry gets for the following year.
The PCUSA Book of Order has said that the Session is required to be good stewards. It has also been said that the church should provide for the minister so that he ro she can tend to the spiritual needs of the congregation, and not have to worry about the temporal needs of his or her family.
That said, in many churches, the last thing considered is the Call of the pastor. Usually, that's figured in after the cost of keeping the building open. This year, Stodgy Presbyterian was no exception.
As I'm the commissioner to presbytery meetings, prior to the budget discussions, I brought out the list of the terms of call for all the churches in Plodding Presbytery. A quick perusal of the list shows that in comparison with churches of the same size, our minister (of over 25 years) is not making as much as others with less tenure (and no D.Min).
Later once we kicked the minister out so we could do our deliberations, one of the elders on the Personnel committee said that "she personally felt that my bringing up the salaries of others is only rubbing [his] nose in the fact he's not making as much as others", I retorted that this information could be had by [the pastor] anytime he wanted by just a download as it was part of the last Presbyterian meeting materials. I had brought it to Session so that Session would have an idea of what others are getting. In the back of my mind, I had hoped that it would shame those elders into giving a better raise.
However, since pledges are down, and we need to make sure that we can pay the water bill, the pastor got a 3% raise, which is in line with the rest of the Presbytery. Still, based on what I've seen, the guy is about 7 to 10K below what he should be getting. And one of the reasons I was told was that he's not doing visitations to people, and that his next raise would be based on how the church increased membership.
I remarked that putting it all on the pastor is not an answer, the pastor cannot be friend, confidant, teacher, preacher and evangelist all at once. The rest of the officers need to step up and take some responsibility for the growing of the church.
They basically had no idea what I was talking about. Our deacons drop off flowers, a meal to those who are sick, provide donuts on Sunday (the pastor makes the coffee), and hold fundraisers. When I mentioned that the deacons should be contacting the congregation's members on a regular basis, someone said that in other churches they were in, the Deacons never did that !! Its not their job!!! I said that their job is Congregational Care ... in order to care for the congregation, you have to keep in touch with them.
The puzzled looks I was getting were frustrating.
Anyway, because we lost our custodian for a while this year, the pastor was doing a lot of the cleanup, so they decided to give him a $2K bonus for his efforts. It was joked that it was a retention bonus. They didn't want to put it in his salary, as that would raise it up, and it may not be possible to pay that next year.
I didn't mention that if the pastor did leave or retire, they wouldn't be able to hire someone with his experience and degree at the rate they're paying the current pastor. I'll let them figure that out when COM tells them that!!
And so it goes