Support for ministers

​The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) regards benefits as a matter of justice. It vows to justly compensate those who do kingdom work. Living by the Gospel shows that breaking that promise risks the long-term vitality of ministry.

Newly updated November 2019; translated versions of the updated Living by the Gospel are forthcoming.

Living by the Gospel is a guide to structuring ministers' terms of call. It lays out how the Church supports the well-being of ministers through the Board of Pensions. This guide details the benefits, programs, and assistance that are available through Pastor's Participation. It shows how they work together to support ministers and their families.

Benefits continuity

Living by the Gospel positions the Church to provide the full coverage of Pastor's Participation to all ministers, not just installed pastors. Benefits continuity is important because ministers move in and out of installed positions. And the Pension Plan, included in full coverage, contributes greatly to their retirement.

Data suggests that benefits help sustain ministerial leadership. Living by the Gospel shows, through one lens, that 36 percent of those who did not participate in the Benefits Plan left ministry. That compares to a 24 percent drop-out rate for ministers who had been plan members.

Inspiration for conversation

The reports in Living by the Gospel can inspire meaningful conversation as the Church undergoes reform. The Church lives out its identity as a just, caring community when it supports its ministers with benefits. This also enables them to devote their best gifts to leading God's people.

A graph in Living by the Gospel shows the trends of ordination and newly ordained plan enrollment since 2007. Elsewhere, breakdowns of data by gender, age, position, and congregation size provide call-outs:

  • A clear distinction exists between average salaries for men and women across all pastoral positions and congregation sizes.
  • Most PC(USA) churches have fewer than 150 members, and are more likely than larger congregations not to have an installed pastor.