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 September 2023

Living by the Gospel 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 and Minister’s Choice and shows how they work together 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 Pastor’s Participation and Minister’s Choice — 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 dropout 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 callouts:

  • A clear distinction exists between average salaries for men and women across pastoral positions and congregation sizes.
  • Most PC(USA) churches have fewer than 150 members, and 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 positions and age, gender, and congregation size also appear in the appendices.

The data is updated and expanded regularly. This provides a way to track progress toward just compensation for all Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ministers. This progress is needed to renew the leadership of the PC(USA).