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A senior pastor writes, teaches, and preaches sermons and provides spiritual leadership. He/She works with the church elders and administrative staff to ensure that the church operations run perfectly. He/She oversees the pastoral team, which may include an associate pastor, executive pastor, youth pastor, worship pastor, and children's ministry director. Moreover, he/she focuses on growing members of the church spiritually. Additionally, he/she manages the overall ministry of the congregation and oversees evangelism and mission outreach to the local community and the world. Besides that, he/she officiates at weddings and funerals and represents the church at community events.

For different churches and denominations, there are different requirements for this role. However, a degree in divinity or theology is what most churches require. Skills like leadership, public speaking, counseling, worship planning, communication, and administration are essential to this role. Senior pastors make an average salary of $62,494 per annum. This varies between $36,000 and $109,000.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a senior pastor. For example, did you know that they make an average of $20.48 an hour? That's $42,607 a year!

What Does a Senior Pastor Do

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a senior pastor, we found that a lot of resumes listed 18.0% of senior pastors included community outreach, while 9.8% of resumes included clinical pastoral, and 6.5% of resumes included small groups. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

Learn more about what a Senior Pastor does

How To Become a Senior Pastor

If you're interested in becoming a senior pastor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 49.0% of senior pastors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 31.0% of senior pastors have master's degrees. Even though most senior pastors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a senior pastor. When we researched the most common majors for a senior pastor, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on senior pastor resumes include associate degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a senior pastor. In fact, many senior pastor jobs require experience in a role such as associate pastor. Meanwhile, many senior pastors also have previous career experience in roles such as pastor or chaplain.

Senior Pastor Career Paths

Average Salary for a Senior Pastor

Senior Pastors in America make an average salary of $42,607 per year or $20 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $61,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $29,000 per year.
Average Senior Pastor Salary
$42,607 Yearly
$20.48 hourly
$29,000
10 %
$42,000
Median
$61,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Senior Pastor Education

Senior Pastor Majors

40.8 %

Senior Pastor Degrees

Bachelors

49.0 %

Masters

31.0 %

Associate

7.9 %

Top Colleges for Senior Pastors

1. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,306
Enrollment
6,975

2. Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,464
Enrollment
9,639

3. Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$48,522
Enrollment
6,557

4. North Park University

Chicago, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$29,860
Enrollment
1,967

5. Brescia University

Owensboro, KY • Private

In-State Tuition
$22,100
Enrollment
918

6. Saint Thomas University

Miami Gardens, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$31,830
Enrollment
986

7. Fordham University

Bronx, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$52,687
Enrollment
9,392

8. Duquesne University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$38,178
Enrollment
6,008

9. Southeastern University

Lakeland, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$25,870
Enrollment
5,570

10. Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$32,000
Enrollment
2,010

Top Skills For a Senior Pastor

  • Community Outreach, 18.0%
  • Clinical Pastoral, 9.8%
  • Small Groups, 6.5%
  • Overseer, 5.9%
  • Bible Study, 4.0%
  • Other Skills, 55.8%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Senior Pastor Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Senior Pastor templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Senior Pastor resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Senior Pastor Demographics

Senior Pastor Gender Distribution

Male
Male
92%
Female
Female
8%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among senior pastors, 7.8% of them are women, while 92.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among senior pastors is White, which makes up 73.1% of all senior pastors.

  • The most common foreign language among senior pastors is Spanish at 56.7%.

Online Courses For Senior Pastor That You May Like

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Best States For a Senior Pastor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a senior pastor. The best states for people in this position are California, West Virginia, Maine, and Delaware. Senior pastors make the most in California with an average salary of $60,434. Whereas in West Virginia and Maine, they would average $55,985 and $53,488, respectively. While senior pastors would only make an average of $52,868 in Delaware, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Senior Pastor Jobs:
8
Highest 10% Earn:
$86,000
Location Quotient:
1.7 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. West Virginia

Total Senior Pastor Jobs:
0
Highest 10% Earn:
$92,000
Location Quotient:
0 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Maine

Total Senior Pastor Jobs:
0
Highest 10% Earn:
$86,000
Location Quotient:
0 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Senior Pastors

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Top Senior Pastor Employers

Most Common Employers For Senior Pastor

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Pastoral$42,607$20.4820
2Trinity Baptist Church$42,607$20.4819
3New Life Community Church$42,607$20.4814
4Faith Church$42,607$20.4813
5Calvary Chapel$42,607$20.4812
6St John Lutheran Church$42,607$20.4811
7River of Life Assembly$36,775$17.6812
8Second Baptist School$36,196$17.4019
9Faith Bible Church$32,306$15.5311
10Abundant Life Christian Center$31,057$14.9310

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