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Children's Ministry Salary Survey
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7 Surprising Stats: 2013 Children’s Ministry Salary Survey

Check out the 7 surprising stats: 2013 Children’s Ministry Salary Survey. No one else does a survey like this, so the results are exclusive. We’ve asked paid children’s ministry professionals to tell us how they are compensated for what they do.

Here are the results. After reading through the data, I thought I would point out some of the more unexpected findings and talk about them here. Here are seven surprising stats from the 2013 salary survey.


  1. Going Up. According to our exclusive survey results, overall visibility, compensation, and benefits are on the upswing for professional children’s ministers everywhere. More people are falling in the median full-time salary range, $40,000 to $44,999, with 22 percent in this pay range. Across the board, more children’s ministry professionals are seeing an increase in benefits, including 40 percent receiving pension and retirement contributions.
  2. Equip Yourself. Half of you are given a book and magazine allowance, and 44 percent are given an allowance to buy supplies. If you are part of the 56 percent not given a supply allowance, here are some craft supplies you can make from scratch.
  3. Rest and Relax. In 2013, the average paid children’s ministry staffer has four personal days to use and 12 paid vacation days. We’ve talked about how important it is to take some time off every now and again. Use that time off!
  4. Here and There. According to the survey, 35 percent of you are bivocational, working two jobs to help supplement your income. As someone who served in children’s ministry as well as holding a full-time job, I know the challenges that come with bivocational ministry. A huge thank you for all those out there that give two (or more) jobs their all.
  5. Gender Equality. In 2008, our survey showed men in full-time children’s ministry made about $10,000 more than women. Today, those figures have balanced out. Both men and women make the median salary of $40,000 to $44,999.
  6. Raise Rates. A little over half (51 percent) of children’s ministers were given a raise this year. That’s great news, because only 11 percent asked for one. If you are part of the 89 percent who didn’t ask for a raise, and you feel you deserve one, check this article out on how to get a raise without being pushy.
  7. Missed Opportunity? We asked survey participants if they would ever turn down a children’s ministry position because of salary. In 2008, only 14 percent said they would. Today, 55 percent said yes. Are churches missing out on talent because of their pay range? Are children’s ministers missing out on God’s calling because of money? What do you think?


What conclusions do you take from the findings? Again, you can find the full results here. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. We know money isn’t the reason you got into this line of work. The work you do, leading kids to Jesus, is priceless. I want to leave you with this story of ministry and money. I hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

20 thoughts on “7 Surprising Stats: 2013 Children’s Ministry Salary Survey

  1. kayla

    I get paid $450 bi weekly. i have no "vacation days" or "time off" other than most Saturdays. im expected to sit in my office at my desk for 4 hours/day/m-f. my schedule is pretty flexible. I have a pretty great boss and are given "free run" of the childrens ministry to use the gifts and talents God has given me. I really love and enjoy what I do. I see it as more than a "job" but I feel so under appreciated by our leadership and parents. it's hard work. managing volunteers is a pain (for the most part). not having the space we need. not having the items we need. having no budget to work with. it gets tiring and sometimes you feel like you're always spinning your wheels. other times its fantastic. it's ministry and it's tough. that's the bottom line. if I got paid more I would like to stay longer. but I don't feel like I am "doing my part" to help provide for our family and I don't see a raise anywhere in my future.
    needless to say.. i'm considering my options I suppose… with a heavy heart.

  2. Chad

    Thank you so much for all that you do. Please allow me to encourage you and others who find themselves feeling just like you. In 2004, I found myself in a very similar ministry opportunity as you and honestly I felt very alone. Here's what you do:
    1. Light the world on fire right where you are and others will notice.
    2. Make connections and friendships with larger churches that share your common values and uncompromising biblical principles.
    If you can kindle the relationship with the ones you really admire, they can really help you. If they are good, they have amazing connections and are always looking to add the up and coming stars to their teams. With the right heart, passion for ministry and someone who will invest in you, you too will quickly find yourself in a position to return the favor and invest in others.

  3. Helmut Egesa Wagabi
    Helmut Egesa Wagabi

    It is so encouraging to note that reasonably good money can be made through the children's ministry in some parts of the world. Where I live, one must have some other job for his/her subsistence. The children's ministry tends to be voluntary and so fewer people take it up.

  4. Liz

    I know we need to support our families and being paid for it is important. But why do we do ministry is it for gain or is it for service and worship to my saviour. there is nothing greater than seeing a child grow in a life long relationship with Jesus and to be the person who helped lead them to start that journey. I have experienced this over the years and God has always provided. When we put God first amazing things happen. The support of leadership and recognition of the ministry of children is just or more important than others because of the foundation of spiritual life. If not done right will lead to a rejection of Christ and the church by the time the child is 12. I would like to celebrate all Children's Ministries people paid or not and my prayer is that your love for you saviour is the reason for doing your ministry.

  5. Christine

    I appreciate seeing the results of this survey. Thanks for doing it.
    One additional piece of info would be to know how many hours the children's pastors are paid for as compares with their church's and children's ministry weekly attendance.

  6. Pastor Nate

    I think the increase in the number of folkswho would decline a position based on salary indicates an increase in the professionalism in children's ministry. More people are supporting their families with the salary they get from being a minister to children.

  7. Children's Ministry Magazine
  8. Children's Ministry Magazine
  9. Children's Ministry Magazine
  10. BigD

    Sometimes I feel alone in my ministry. Our pastor is supportive but there is no budget for any position. I work 60 hours a week at a job and want to do more ministry but there is nothing in the church budget for a children's pastor. There is a budget for the Youth pastor but he has half the teens than the children ministry. Sometimes, I don't understand.

  11. Avatar

    Many of us in Children’s Ministry have been satisfied to work part-time for an hourly wage, with little or no benefits because we love what we do and want to make a difference in the lives of children. However, it is my opinion that salaries are an important indicator of how much (or how little) a church values their children. When the Children’s Director or Pastor’s salary are in the same range as the other ministry directors or pastors, we can assume children are important and valued members of the congregation.

  12. Avatar

    I found the statistic that 55% would turn down a position because of pay sad. I was the director at my old church for about 8 years and never had any compensation. I was allowed a budget though and whenever I asked for funds for anything it was granted. I also didn’t feel that the lack of pay spoke of the church’s support or lack thereof of the children’s ministry. I understand if it’s a mega church where the minister needs to work 8 hours a day and can’t hold a day job (though I am curious what they do for 8 hours a day…I write our curriculum and plan and host all events and have never needed that much time). My congregation was in the 80s, about the size of the average church in America.

    In my new church (attending the church my fiance is from as we are getting married and deciding to attend his) there is no director. We rotate teachers each week (we have multiple teachers per class who teach 1 class a month) and none are paid. That said, I do a lot of the same stuff here as I did in my old church, just not as accountable for it. Ie scheduling the teachers, I write my own lessons and some for some of the other teachers, hold practices, decorate the rooms, etc. And again, this church doesn’t offer a salary but anytime I’ve ever asked funds for anything it’s been granted.

    I’ve always felt that if people will do it sans pay, then they won’t feel stuck if they get burned out or don’t want to do it later. If they decided they weren’t a good fit anymore they might not leave because it is their job and they need the money, which overall can hurt the ministry. Of course, the laborer is worthy of his hire, so I’m not against leaders being paid, but find it alarming that 55% of leaders wouldn’t do it if not paid.

    • Avatar

      I would have agreed with you two years ago, that turning down the opportunity to serve without pay was sad. I volunteered several hours a week for 13 years before taking my current position as a Children’s Ministry Director. But times have certainly changed.

      I was SO excited to be taking the position for 250 a wk. part time (3 working days plus Wednesday night and Sunday mornings). I knew it was low pay when I accepted it (I had asked for twice as much to replace my teaching salary) , and I needed to pay off my seminary school loans, but I just wanted to work/serve for the Kingdom of Christ. Bills, electric, water, food on the table, coming in at poverty level quickly set it. With kids, a husband who receives a minimal salary, I had to ask myself and pray hard about these new feelings I had. We were struggling and it became clear that it is hard to do anything for free anymore, or underpaid.

      I love what I do! And yes, in work and deed do it all for the Lord (Col. 3:17) . But after seeing this article, I know I’m being underpaid and that is hard to swallow considering all the hours I put into my job and the love that I have for these kids.

      I started working another part time job so now I work 7 days a week. 3 at the church, 3 at my other job, and Sundays. Not a day is wasted. It is really hard and I’m exhausted. I never thought I’d be so concerned about pay, but with a family and cost of living, I do now. I also wonder what message I am relating to my kids. They see me work hard and they know they do without. I don’t want them to grow up and have hard feelings towards the church. This concerns me. But that may be a different topic.

    • Avatar

      Having grown up in a small church, I understand that until you actually work at a mega church, then it could be hard to have a realistic big picture view of how a Children’s Minister could stay busy 8 hours per day. I am the Director of the preschool ministry at a 7,000 member church and it is more than a full time job and couldn’t do it without adequate compensation. It has nothing to do with my heart for ministry, but rather about paying my bills and taking care of my kids. Yes, a church is a non-profit business, but it is a business nonetheless. Managing a ministry budget of 100,000 per year, providing oversight of over 150 volunteers, curriculum for 600 children per weekend, creative programming, policies and procedures, supplies, coordinating a special needs area, discipling and developing new leaders, plus planning for special events = a massive undertaking and it should be compensated. Every church is different, but being in leadership of a large church is a full-time job and if God calls you to that as a vocation, then I would hate for someone to feel misplaced shame over wanting to be paid an honest living.

  13. Avatar

    Let us work together please in children ministry. I love children & I have been serving children for years.

  14. Avatar
    Maureen Ward

    This was very interesting. I run the 3-5 year old group in our church. It’s unpaid & I work another job to make ends meet. I was asked to take over because I have qualifications in preschool teaching & in child protection. When I took over the room was unorganized, with poor and outdated resources or resources that were too old for the kids. It had never been cleaned properly, had no carpet on the floor (though had a good heater on wall). There was a large truck left in plaground & no curtains on the window. I’ve completely revamped it, cleaned, organised, throwing out all broken and unsuitable resources, restocked the room with more suitable toys and art materials. Used our own spare carpet tiles om the floor, my husband scrubbed the walls and removes the truck every Sunday morning. There is still a way to go but I now have children who run into the room very excited to be there. I’ve also started a whanau tree with their photos and personal drawings and put up their art work on wall along with their creation collage they’ve been doing. I’ve had many positive comments from parents & church leaders. I really enjoy it but am now very frustrated about having no budget. There was a misunderstanding & I ve found out that i can’t buy anything at all with out the leadership approval. I have to do a list and they buy it. They will decide if I need it or not, this includes paper, glue, small storage containers etc. I was told that they will find glue sticks somewhere in the church or get extra tracks for the train set from the church op shop if there are some there., nd I can use the office stapler or Cello tape. I have no problems with asking for large ticket items but having to wait 2 weeks for them to decide if I need a roll of Cello tape or a couple of paint brushes or a glue stick, and then they buy something totally unsuitable is very frustrating and hinders the work I’m trying to do. My husband & I have decided to use the money we give to the church on things for my room instead. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good church in many ways and they love getting people using their gifts & talents but they hold too tight a rein on money. Good to see that it seems to be a common problem, I was in a paid childrens Ministry position approx 20 yrs ago in Auckland & had a budget, I didn’t have to justify any small purchases so the childrens Ministry was well stocked & flourishing. I also voluntarily ran another Sunday school in another town 3 years ago and was asked ‘how much do u need?’ They gave that to me in cash & told me to go spend it, just keep receipts. I’m interested to hear from other people.

  15. Avatar

    1 Corinthians 9:13-14New International Version (NIV)

    13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

  16. Avatar
    Pastor isaac

    Thynk u . Your ankreseng Childran gaydreng ministry . I will b allswo ran the Childran ministry. Mi nem is . Pastor isaac iam is very happy in your goll . If you have Childran ministry devlopment books & meterial pls gives . Send me thnk u prise the lord

  17. Avatar

    I am Children’s Director within our church. I do not get paid, there has not been much support from our senior pastor, and only a few volunteers who are fully committed. We have little in our children’s department budget and what we do have comes from fundraising. We have been struggling to get children’s pastor in the church. I have a husband, 3 beautiful children, work 43 hours a week, and I am in college. I love being with the kids and teaching them about Jesus, but the stress is weighing heavy. I have been praying to my amazing Father to keep me strong. I am considering stepping down, but there is no one to step up. I cannot continue to feel obligated to stay when my relationship with God is coming 2nd and my family 3rd. Please if anyone can give some encouraging words and advice it would be very appreciated right now.

    • Avatar

      My heart goes out to you. Children’s Ministry is hard work and support from your leadership is vital. Having a Sabbath Day is crucial to your physical and spiritual/emotional wellbeing and is Biblical. If God is calling you to continue, then keep pressing into Him and he will carry you through. If it is that unhealthy and He is ending your season there, then that just means he has something better in store for you and your family. I would encourage you to talk to your leadership about the strain and tell them that you have to schedule a Sabbath Day as that is what honors God. You won’t be able to sustain in your position long term if you don’t put your marriage and kids over your job. If your leadership doesn’t support that, then you aren’t in a healthy environment. I applaud you for your faithful service to the local church and for your heart to advance the kingdom through the next generation! That’s what its all about!

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