The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Youth ministry salaries

For the 10th year, the ELCA Youth Ministry Network conducted a salary survey of its youth workers.

The survey indicates that salaries and benefits for professional youth ministry leaders have increased steadily long-term but remained flat in the past year.

Salaries have gone up 38 percent since 1998, but the gap between pastors and lay leaders is wide.

Pastors who work with youth receive salaries that average $51,363, while lay leaders are paid between $36,000 and $37,000.

Rostered professionals are also compensated more, and men continue to make more than women.



Stephen "Wally" Seibel

Posted at 11:01 am (U.S. Eastern) 6/26/2008

I tried to find out the rest of the information on this, but in order to do that, you have to join the youth ministry network -- which involves paying something.

Significant questions (that normally would be part of such a survey, but were left out here) are:

education level.  My guess is that the majority of youth ministry workers do not have a bachelors degree (especially in a related field), let alone a masters.  Please note that rostered professionals are compensated more.  My guess (all that I can do) is that those are the ones with more education and/or experience.

years of experience and/or years serving in that position.

levels of certification.

sizes of churches.

size of community/location (metropolitan area vs rural).

additional responsibilities expected (I have had one yeouth worker that was described as a Family Ministry person, and another as a Youth Director - in the same church.  There were obvious differences in expectations)

Full verses part time.

I would welcome recieving this iformation, which might be more interesting on a "grid."  And again, my experience (limited as it is) is that the women in the youth ministry position were looking for a part time position, while the men a full time.




Todd Buegler

Todd Buegler

Posted at 3:04 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/4/2008

The actual survey does break down and compare information by all of the categories that you mentioned, with the exception of "size of community."

 Rev. Todd Buegler

Executive Director - ELCA Youth Ministry Network



Stephen "Wally" Seibel

Posted at 12:54 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/9/2008

and isi it possible to get that without paying to join?  Or is this just good for a headline that shows "discrimination"?


Pastor Stephen "Wally" Seibel



Posted at 3:29 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/6/2008

just wanted to thank Todd for sending this information to me .  It was indeed an interesting read.



Linda Fevold

Linda Fevold

Posted at 9:28 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/26/2008

We are looking at changing our Youth Director's position with responsibility changing to focus on High School Youth and Young Adult ministry.  He as been with us for 9 years but does not have a degree in youth ministry.  This is a congregation of approximately 1,000 members with only 300 attending services on Sunday.  This is in rural Iowa.  What would you consider a fair base salary and additional benefits?


Linda Fevold


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Embracing diversity