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SBC DIGEST: Church Compensation Survey still open; Wright book on leadership transition

Still time to participate in the 2022 SBC Church Compensation Survey

By Roy Hayhurst/GuideStone

DALLAS (BP) – Churches still have time to participate in the biennial SBC Church Compensation Survey. The survey, a cooperative effort among GuideStone, Lifeway and Baptist state conventions, is used by churches of all sizes to help determine fair wages and benefits.

The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete; it can be accessed through June 30 at GuideStone.org/CompensationSurvey.

As of May 31, almost 3,000 churches have provided compensation data for more than 7,500 pastors and other church staff.

The survey’s results will be made available in the early fall, in time for many churches considering their 2023 budgets. The survey is the largest, free, church compensation study available in the United States.

“Scripture is clear that we are to provide for those who labor in the Word,” GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck said. “I believe most churches want to properly care for their pastors. The SBC Church Compensation Survey helps churches determine what comparable churches pay their pastors, and thus helping them know what to pay their own pastor.”

“Once churches have this information and combining it with ensuring pastors are paid in a salary and benefits model, rather than an outdated lump sum pay package model, they can make informed decisions that follow best practices.”

The survey was last conducted in 2018. It was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

In order to have a more complete report, more churches are needed to participate. Individual survey results can be contributed anonymously: Survey results are not reported individually. Lifeway Research will compile the results once the survey closes on June 30. Survey respondents will receive advance notice of the survey’s availability.

Respondents should have the church’s average weekly attendance, church membership and 2022 annual budget. Additional information needed to complete the survey includes respondents’ annual salary, annual contributions to a retirement plan and annual church-paid insurance premiums, annual housing allowance, Social Security offset and the rental value and utilities for church-provided housing.

Southern Baptist church ministers and staff have until June 30 to complete the online survey.

Bryant Wright shares practical help on church leader transitions in new book

By Lifeway staff

NASHVILLE (BP) – In the summer of 2012, Bryant Wright sensed God was telling him to prepare for his next season of ministry. Wright, the founding pastor of Atlanta’s Johnson Ferry Baptist, had just completed 30 years of ministry leading the church and was preparing for his fourth decade at Johnson Ferry.

His new book, “Succession: Preparing Your Ministry for the Next Leader,” shares not only the personal lessons Wright learned, but practical advice for churches and church leaders as they plan leadership transitions. “Succession” released June

“When I turned 60, I realized there were limited days left in my ministry,” Wright said. “And a number of people in the church began to ask, ‘how long are you going to stay?’ ‘Are you going to hang it up soon?’ Those two factors caused me to start thinking about retirement and next steps. I knew we needed to develop a succession plan.”

Wright’s book tells the story of how he and the leadership team at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church walked through an intentional, leadership succession process and provides suggestions for churches and church leaders nearing the next phase of ministry leadership. Succession” discusses this journey in a way that shows the leadership of an experienced pastor, the wisdom of a knowledgeable shepherd, and the humility of an obedient servant. This book not only displays the heart of a man who loved and led his church well, but also serves as a model for those preparing for a similar journey.

“There is a tidal wave of Boomer pastors who are about to retire in the next five to 10 years, and there aren’t many younger pastors identified to take their place,” Wright said. “In addition, most churches don’t have a succession plan in place for when the time comes. I’m hoping this book will help pastors—both those leaving and their successors—as well as the lay leaders in our churches to help prepare for this very significant transition.”

Wright said he doesn’t expect all churches to follow the same timeline and game plan as Johnson Ferry. But churches of all sizes and contexts will find insight from the book they can adapt for their own situation.

“Every church is unique and will need to develop a plan that fits their context,” he said. “No pastor is going to stay forever; having a succession plan in place contributes to the overall health of the church. The health of the church is the priority.”

About Bryant Wright

Wright has served in Southern Baptist life as both a pastor and SBC president before becoming the first president of Send Relief in 2020. He retired as the founding senior pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church on December 15, 2019, where he pastored for 38 years. In addition to his role at Send Relief, Wright serves as founder and chairman of Right From the Heart Ministries, a media ministry with an international presence, and continues to mentor younger pastors through this platform. He and his wife, Anne, live in Marietta and have three grown sons, three daughters-in-law and seven grandchildren.  

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  • BP Staff