How do church pastors make a living?

Parish pay


The livelihood of a clergyman in the Middle Ages was ensured through the beneficiaries of the respective church. This included land, rights of use as well as claims to cash payments and benefits in kind. In the 19th century, with the transition from the natural economy to the money economy, the benefice system was gradually replaced by the salary system. Today the ecclesiastical order for parish pay and provision in the Protestant churches is closely based on the state civil service law.

The amount of the salary is based on the salary tables of the Federal Salary Act or a rate (percentage) set in the member churches. The starting salary for a pastor is usually based on the grade A13 of the starting salary for the higher service. Similar to the state, the remuneration of a pastor is made up of the basic salary and a family allowance.

If a company apartment is made available, either a flat-rate deduction from the basic salary or a withholding due to the corresponding application of state company housing law. In any case, any remaining monetary benefit must be taxed.

Parish priests are always subject to the residence obligation and the obligation to be present, even if no official apartment is available to them. In other words, your home must be in the municipality. Reliable accessibility for parishioners is thus made possible. This can best be ensured in the rectory. Also, because service and personal life have their place here in equal measure, the parsonage has become a spatial expression for the fact that office and person in parish service form an inseparable unit.

To secure their pension obligations, the member churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) have set up pension funds, concluded reinsurance contracts with private insurers or founded their own pension foundations.