2014 Salary Guidelines

Suggested salary guidelines for rostered leaders

“The gift he gave were that some would be . . . evangelists, some pastors, some teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

“This church affirms the universal priesthood of all its baptized members. In its function and its structure this church commits itself to the equipping and supporting of all its members for their ministries in the world and in this church. It is within this context of ministry that this church calls some of its baptized members for specific ministries in this church” (ELCA Constitution 7.11).


The 2014 Salary Guidelines for Rostered Leaders in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod are provided by the synod to assist in establishing appropriate salary packages. These guidelines are developed with awareness of both urban and suburban circumstances in our synod and of the other synods of Region 5. These synods are striving for uniformity in guidelines, although the dollar amounts may vary.

For 2014, we are recommending a 2.0% cost of living increase for rostered leaders. This is based on forecasts that US Consumer Price Index for 2014 will be roughly 1.8% - 2.2%.

Based on median housing costs in our synod, obtained from the 2012 data available, we determined that the minimum recommended housing allowance should be raised by $3,000.00 from $15,000.00 to $18,000.00. In the 2012 guidelines, we recommended that this increase be made in $1,000.00 increments over a three-year period. Therefore, the 2012 minimum housing allowance was $16,000.00, the 2013 was $17,000.00, and in 2014 it is $18,000.00.

Changes in the guidelines include:

  • Part II, Option 1: recommended minimum housing allowance increased to $18,000.
  • Part IV, Pension and Other Benefits: ELCA Medical and Dental Benefits; and
    Disability, Basic Group Life, and Retiree Support.
  • Appendix F: Portico Benefit Services Contribution Ranges

Additional Information

In 2014, ELCA-Primary health benefits will offer a choice of four different-priced options, and sponsoring employers will pay different health contribution rates based on the age of their members. Portico designed the 2014 health benefit options to compare with the types of plans expected on the new health insurance exchanges, scheduled to open Oct. 1, 2013. Exchange plans will carry a “metallic” label — platinum, gold, silver, or bronze — to indicate the percentage of health care costs paid by the health plan and the member. In April 2013, the ELCA Church Council recommended that sponsoring employers provide their plan members with the Gold+ option for 2014 because it most closely resembles today’s ELCA-Primary health benefits and preserves the compensation packages (salary plus benefits) being offered today. We concur with this recommendation.

In 2014, ELCA employers can expect an average increase of 6.5%, which reflects a 5.2% anticipated rise in medical costs and a 1.3% increase due to new health care reform fees. According to the most recent survey, U.S. employers expect health premiums to rise by 7%. The ELCA Disability contribution is suspended for one year due to the strong financial position of the Disability Benefits Trust. According to the Rev. Jeff Thiemann, CEO of Portico Benefit Services, “It’s been our goal to hold rate increases below the national average. We managed the plan efficiently in 2013, using 92.5 cents of every contribution dollar to pay for members’ health claims . . . be(ing) good stewards of ministry dollars.”

Help from Portico

Until now, health care reform has been a national discussion but now it’s becoming a more personal conversation. Portico Benefit Services is asking your congregation to select one of four health benefit options to offer your employees in 2014. You’ll make this selection online during 2014 Open Enrollment between September 16 and October 14, 2013.

To help the congregation you serve have a constructive and faithful conversation about this selection — one in which the Spirit is invited to enter and guide the process — plerase find posted a communal discernment tool. It helps a facilitator/leader (in many cases, the pastor) guide participants through a prayer-based alternative to conventional decision making.

The Communal Discernment tool includes:

  • A Leader’s Guide to explain communal discernment and provide step-by-step directions on how to facilitate a meeting using this process.
  • A Communal Discernment Handout a leader can use to guide participants through the discernment process.

Two online videos at porticobenefits.org support this tool:

  • Communal Discernment: A Prayerful Practice for Decision Making (6 min.) acquaints you and congregation members with the process.
  • Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow (3 min.) explains why Portico is changing ELCA-Primary health benefits for 2014.

If you have questions or concerns about this tool or the 2014 health benefit selection process, please contact Steve Homberg at shomberg@mcselca.org or 773-248-0021.

Page URL: http://www.mcselca.org/congregation/admin/salary_guidelines/