IN FULLTIME MINISTRY?
I want to serve God.
We want to help you to gain clarity in order to get closer to your career aspiration. As an academy for pastoral leaders, it is important to us that you find your right place.
Just look around. On this page, we also introduce you to a new profession in the church work sector every month. Have fun browsing.
Table of content
pastor, missionary, priest – simply explained
What does a pastor actually earn?
What is a pastor doing?
Where to get training?
Who is suitable?
Pastor, counselor, missionary?
The pastor or shepherd is the one leading a local church. A pastor has to organize his congregation, preach sermons, counsel people with a need, pray for the sick, and raise lay leaders.
The counselor is someone people seek when they need advice. This can be an individual, a couple, or a group. He or she has to listen in order to understand the specific situation their client might have to help them with clarity, spiritual advice, or prayer.
The missionary is like a pastor someone who brings god’s word to people, train leaders, or helps to build a community. The difference is that he is usually dealing with another culture or ethnic group. The challenge is to understand what the people you want to minister really think and feel.
The term “pastor”, “priest” or “minister” are definitions by which different denominations describe their spiritual leaders. The term “pastor” refers to the Latin word “shepherd”, describing the task of herding a flock. It is more used in the evangelical world. The “priest” is referring to the office of someone connecting people with God by being a connector. Mostly the catholic church refers to their leaders as priests. A priest is normally not married. A “minister” is a more general term translating as “servant”. He or she can work as a teacher, bishop, counselor, pastor, or choir leader.
How much does a pastor, counselor, or missionary earn?
The average salary for priests is $53,000 per year. The top 10% earn more than $85,000 per year and the bottom 10% earn $26,000 or less per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020.
In an evangelical church, one can expect a pastor earn between $35,000 and $45,000 annually. But if you pastor a large congregation it can be substantially more.
Missionaries typically get paid by a missions organization. They receive the funding from a group of supporters or by a sending church. The income varies a lot according to where your destination is. Your lifestyle has to somehow fit into the community you serve. In addition, you have costs for furlough, healthcare at home, and other insurance. Expect an annual salary between $15,000 and $25,000. Consider that cost of living is usually way different than in your home country.
Counselors make an average salary between $35,000 to $50,000 depending on what field you are working in.
If you are more interested in this topic, you should ask the respective church you intend to be ordained.
What is a pastoral leader doing?
- preaching and teaching
- leading and building groups/teams
- helping people through listening and prayer
- organizing events
- financial and resource management
Pastoral leaders influence others.
Paul of Tarsus
One of the first pastors in a multicultural society. He has shaped Christianity in its present form. He moved through the Mediterranean area and planted churches. For his faith, he was later arrested and brought to Rome.
Hildegard of Bingen
The abbess dealt with the cosmos, ethics, music, and medicine from the perspective of faith. Her visions and reports are still known today. She traveled through Europe on her horse to encourage the people and admonish the powerful.
We know him as the great Reformer of the church. His foundations were “sola scriptura” (Scripture alone), “sola gratia” (by grace alone), and “sola fide” (by faith alone). With this, he made the established Catholic Church his enemy. His legacy has shaped the whole world until today.
Martin Luther King Jr.
The name sounds familiar, but this pastor was a civil rights activist in the US. His phrase, “I have a dream,” still resonates today. His goal was the equality of the black population and the abolition of racial segregation.
College, seminary, bible school?
In Addition, statistics show that more than 64% of pastoral leaders on average feel that their training does not prepare them well for their professional life. All the more important is the decision to choose the right school/university for you.
Usually, you have to study theology between 3-5 years. During this time you will do internships in churches. Remember that Ordination is only given by a church or denomination, not a school. You decide whether you will attend a seminary, a university, or an academy.
Serve God in different ways
Pastor & Pfarrer
Am I suited?
There is one thing you need to ponder about. Since we said in the beginning that all these jobs are trying to serve not only men but ultimately God you want to know if you are called? Conduct the little test we provided here to find out some more.