Living by the Gospel

Living by the Gospel is a guide to supporting ministers through the Board of Pensions. It details employer incentive programs and includes salary study information.

Updated June 2024

Living by the Gospel lays out how the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) supports the well-being of ministers and other church workers through the Board of Pensions. This guide details the benefits that are available through the 2025 Benefits Plan and how they work together with the education and assistance programs to provide support.

Benefits continuity

Living by the Gospel positions the Church to support all ministers, not just those in installed positions. Benefits continuity, particularly as it relates to financial protection, is important because ministers move in and out of installed positions. The Defined Benefit Pension Plan — included in both the Congregational Pastors Package and the Covenant Package — contributes greatly to their retirement.

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

Guidance for faithful decision-making

The reports in Living by the Gospel can guide meaningful conversation as congregations and ministers engage in faithful decision-making about 2025 benefits. 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.

Breakdowns of data by gender, age, position, and congregation size provide callouts:

  • A gap between the average salaries for men and women enrolled in the Benefits Plan persists, although the gap is narrowing among younger ministers.
  • Smaller PC(USA) congregations are more likely than larger congregations not to have a minister in an installed position.

Salary studies

The Living by the Gospel appendices provide detailed information on effective salary, including the Parish Ministry Salary Study. Effective salary breakdowns by position and age, gender, and congregation size also appear in the appendices.

The appendices are updated as data becomes available, providing a way to track progress toward just compensation for all PC(USA) ministers. This progress is needed to renew the leadership of the PC(USA).