UCC Ministerial Employment: Facts and Figures

The Fall 2014 UCC Statistical Profile is now available! As I previously mentioned, this year’s edition features a special report on ministerial employment and compensation in the UCC. In looking at this information in conjunction with general statistics and demographics on authorized ministers, there are a number of summarizing statements we can make with regard to the state of authorized ministry in the denomination:

1. The number of retired ministers has increased dramatically in recent years, while the number of active employed ministers has decreased. At the end of 2013, 10,015 ordained ministers in full standing were reported, including retired ministers and Pastor Emeriti. Of those 10,015 ordained ministers, one half (50.4% or 5,044) were employed, with 72.7% (3,668) of those employed actively serving in a local church (either a UCC church or non-UCC church). Over one-third (38.0%) were retired ministers or Pastor Emeriti, and 11.6% were unclassified (ministers who did not hold a position or whose position had not been reported) or were on a leave of absence. From 1983 to 2013, ordained ministers decreased in number by a net total of 80 (-0.8%). While currently employed ministers decreased by nearly one-third in the last three decades (-32.7%), unclassified / leave of absence ordained ministers increased significantly in the same time period (+154.9%).

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2. In the last decade, the number of missionaries / chaplains / campus ministers has increased dramatically.
3. The vast majority of active ministers (non-retired) are age 50 and over (83.2%). This trend will most likely continue in the future.
4. Nearly half of all authorized ministers are female (47%); however, male ministers continue to hold the majority of single and lead / senior pastor positions (62.5%). Female ministers hold over two-thirds of all associate and assistant pastor positions (half of which are part-time positions), as well as over two-thirds of all interim and supply pastor positions (of which a majority are part-time positions).

figure135. The average length of tenure for pastors is about 8 ½ years. For associate or assistant pastors, the average length of tenure is about 5 years.
6. Roughly one in ten UCC congregations have associate or assistant pastors.
7. One out of three pastor positions are part-time.

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8. The overall average salary for a full-time pastor is $38,855 (excluding housing allowance and other benefits). Average salary figures increase or decrease depending on church size and region.

Read details about these findings here. What is surprising to you about these findings? What is not surprising? What do these numbers indicate about the UCC as a whole? I’d love to read your thoughts!

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