You could be a $2 million clergyperson


In studying the Call To Action report, I was clued into a report that I missed a few months back: the Sustainability Advisory Group’s April 2010 Final Report. You can read the 25 page report here and I’ll have more to say about it later.

This is a heavily financial piece, talking about pensions, clergy numbers, and how to sustain the UMC.

But one section jumped out at me on page 13;

GBOPHB has estimated that for each clergyperson who enters into the system, the UMC incurs costs of $2.1 million if the person has a full career (entering ministry at age 25), and $1.6 million if the person has a partial career (entering ministry at age 45).

Note: I’m sure that number includes salary, pension, health payments, parsonage, business expenses, travel expenses, etc. Obviously if I saved every penny, it would be nowhere close to $2m.

I entered ordained ministry at 26. Thus, I will cost the UMC $2 million during my professional career.


Unbelievably humbling. And such a staggering responsibility reminds me again that while I can be irreverent online, it’s a serious position that I’m in as a clergyperson and requires 100% of my heart, mind, body, and perhaps soul.

But that’s not the worst part.

The worst part? The lay people who are paid nothing and indeed give funds to the UMC as part of being a lay member…the laity are worth more than me to the local church.

So, laity:

  • Confirmation Bible: $22
  • Donation to the Building Fund: $1000
  • Cost of clergy: $2m.
  • Value of laity: Priceless.

You are worth more than $2m. Really. Congrats. And I hope you realize the massive responsibility that you and I both share as we build the kingdom together.


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  1. Dave L says

    Pretty cheap for increasing the kingdom in America. Enter into ministry at age 25, serve for 40 years and that works out to $52,500/year. Tithing will send $210,000 back in to the church.


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