Worship -- or music -- ministers usually direct the musicians and vocalists in churches, running services during the week and assisting church pastors with Sunday services. Worship ministers also coordinate choir rehearsals, ensure all musical instruments, speakers and lighting systems operate effectively and plan special services for holidays. If you want to work as a worship minister, you'll likely need a bachelor's degree, a strong faith and the ability to lead others in worship. In return, you can expect to earn between $30,000 and $35,000 annually.
Salary and Qualifications
The average annual salary of a worship minister was $33,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Simply Hired. To work as a worship minister, you'll probably need a bachelor's degree in music or theology, and experience running a worship service -- one or more years, for example. Requirements are contingent on the church that hires the worship minister, as the church pastor may serve as worship minister in a smaller church. In that case, you need at least a bachelor's degree in theology. Other essential requirements for the job are musical talent, stage presence and technical, communication, leadership and organizational skills.
In 2013, average salaries for worship ministers varied the most within the South region, according to Simply Hired, where they earned the lowest salaries of $26,000 in Mississippi and highest of $52,000 in Washington, D.C. Those in the Northeast made $30,000 to $40,000 per year in Maine and Massachusetts, respectively. If you worked as a worship minister in South Dakota or Minnesota, you'd earn $26,000 or $35,000, respectively, which were the lowest and highest salaries in the Midwest region. In the West, you earned the most in California and Alaska and the least in Montana -- $37,000 and $26,000, respectively.
A worship minister may earn a higher salary in larger churches, just as church pastors do. For example, church pastors in smaller churches -- with 50 to 100 members -- earned average annual salaries of $33,145, according to a 2009 survey conducted by Worship Leader. Pastors in large churches with at least 3,500 members made $75,500 annually. Experience also may dictate your salary, as church pastors with at least 30 years of experience made nearly $20,000 more than those with two years of experience or less, according to Worship Leader -- $59,623 versus $39,700, respectively.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't forecast jobs for worship ministers. It predicts an 18 percent increase in employment for clergy from 2010 to 2020, which is statistically about average. Job opportunities for worship ministers may be commensurate with clergy, as church pastors are the ones who hire them. You likely will find more job opportunities as a worship pastor in high growth areas.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail: Clergy
- Mars Hill Church: Worship Pastor
- Calvin Institute of Christian Worship: Minister of Music, Worship and Fine Arts
- Simply Hired: Average Worship Minister Salaries
- Worship Leader: Salary Poll Results
- Church of the Brethren: Guidelines For Pastors' Salaries and Benefits
- Simply Hired: Average Worship Minister Salaries in ME, NY and MA
- Simply Hired: Average Worship Minister Salaries in MT, AK and CA
- Simply Hired: Average Worship Minister Salaries in MS and DC
- Simply Hired: Average Worship Minister Salaries in SD, IL and MN
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Clergy
- Grace & Peace: From Music Minister to Worship Pastor: The Qualifications of a Worship Leader
- Church Staffing: Trinity Evangelical Free Church: Music Ministry - Worship Pastor
- Churchfinder.com: Redeemer Bible Church: Pastor/Director of the Worship Arts
- Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images