According to the Department of Labor, the average minister of a church in the United States made below $48,000 last year.
Catholic priests and Muslim imams make even less, with average salaries of $20,000 or $30,000 each year. Meanwhile, pastors of megachurches, Reform and Conservative rabbis, usually have six-figure incomes.
Churches are houses of worship are exempt from filing public tax statements (990 forms) to the Internal Revenue Service, so it’s difficult to keep a balance sheet of a religious person or corporation’s money. However, it is still mandatory for many religious charities, nonprofit and social justice organizations, and media ministries to make their salaries known to the public.
The following are the top earning leaders of religious nonprofit organizations. According to HuffPost Religion, the list includes base salaries and other types of earnings, such as contributions to retirement account, deferred compensation and benefits. Many of these ministers and pastors also receive additional money from other investments and projects, like book sales, academic institutions and associated religious and nonreligious organizations:
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1. Franklin Graham – Samaritan's Purse; $612,884 in 2012
2. Mike Novak – Educational Media Foundation; $489,423 in 2011
3. Robert Aronson – Birthright Israel Foundation; $466,838 in 2011
4. Gordon Robertson – Christian Broadcasting Network; $429,644 in 2011
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5. Paul Crouch / Jan Crouch – Trinity Broadcasting Network; $400,100 for Paul, $397,884 for Jan in 2011
6. Denny Rydberg – Young Life; $395,132 in 2011
7. Ruth Messinger – American Jewish World Service; $321,684 in 2011
8. Charles Stanley – In Touch Ministries; $296,468 in 2010
9. Les Steckel – Fellowship of Christian Athletes; $285,201 in 2011
10. Jim Daly – Focus on the Family; $265,753 in 2011
11. Father Larry Snyder – Catholic Charities USA; $219,929 in 2010
12. Alexander Hill – Intervarsity Christian Fellowship/USA; $208,809 in 2011
13. Jim Wallis – Sojourners; $203,451 in 2011