Understanding the Network Salary Survey

Hello friends,

Last month we launched the 2021 Salary Survey. Normally, we would have done it in 2020, but we figured that COVID was throwing everything out of whack and our results in 2020 might not be representative of reality.

Our goal is to have as many people who work in faith formation as possible take the survey so that the data can be as helpful as we can possibly make it.

There are two kind of inquiries that we receive:

  • We hear from Network members who are looking to be equipped with good data when they enter into conversations about salary and compensation, typically in the fall.
  • We hear from congregations who are either hiring a staff member and want to know if their salary and benefit packages are competitive, or who are in the budgeting process and want to know if they are still in the ballpark.

The salary survey asks questions about compensation, benefits, pension and vacation and then cross-references the information by geographic region, congregational size, gender, education level and years of experience.

Our belief is that “facts are our friends.” Going into conversations this fall with as much good and accurate information will only help you in your budgeting and compensation conversations. In our experience both the faith formation staff member and the congregations appreciate having the data.

Our hope is that over time, compensation continues to increase. We know that no one is involved in this work to “make money.” But at the same time, we believe that there is a moral obligation for congregations to pay their staff members a living wage. And in truth, the level of total compensation usually shows how congregations do (or don’t) value their ministry with young people.

Please take the salary survey. We need the total number of people who take it to be high enough, and their settings to be diverse enough, to make the data statistically relevant. Our plan right now is to close the survey on July 9. It will take the Network 4-5 weeks to process the data and we hope to release it on or before September 1.

Thanks for being a part of this community! It is wonderful to be a part of a group of people who support each other in their work.

God’s peace,


Rev. Todd Buegler
Executive Director – ELCA Youth Ministry Network
Pastor – Trinity Lutheran Church; Owatonna, Minnesota

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