Example Senior Pastor Contract/Covenant


The text below may be freely copied and adapted to meet the unique needs of each church. 

Ministry Title

Senior Pastor

Ministry Purpose

The Senior Pastor shepherds the congregation after God’s example (Ezekiel 34:15-16; 1 Peter 5:1-3). He exemplifies personal devotion to private and corporate prayer (Acts 6:4); models proper interpretation and application of God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15); preserves the church’s mission to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) by aligning the ministries and ministers of the church toward this purpose; leads the preaching and teaching ministry of God’s Word (Acts 6:4) and offers correction to the flock (2 Timothy 4:2); oversees the care of the flock (1 Peter 5:2); equips the saints for the ministries of the local church (Ephesians 4:12); and sets an example of godliness by managing his household well (1 Timothy 3:4) and living Christian holiness (1 Timothy 4:12).

Professional Qualifications

Professional Certification: Ordained and currently credentialed by a like-minded ordaining body (1 Tim. 4:14; Titus 1:5).

Education: A 4-year college ministerial degree; a masters degree in divinity (M.A. or M. Div.) is preferred. Degrees should be earned from an institution whose doctrine the board of elders deems compatible with our statement of faith. 

Experience: Five years of local church ministry, at least two of which are as a ministry director (1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:22).

The Church’s Expectations of the Pastor

In addition to the described requirements above, the Church should have the following biblical expectations of the pastor:

  1. Competency in ministry through the study of God’s Word and well-prepared sermons; and continued growth in the knowledge and application of God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17).
  2. Oversight of the ministries and staff of the church as a steward of God’s flock, exhibiting the character of our Good Shepherd (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:7-8).
  3. Appropriate pastoral care for those who are lost, strayed, and sick (Ezekiel 34:15-16) and refraining from ignoring or undervaluing any part of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:14-25).
  4. Availability of knowing how he can be contacted during the week and how he can be contacted while he is away from the church field.
  5. Leadership of worship services with propriety and order (1 Cor. 14:40), including setting and communicating expectations for those who assist in worship.
  6. Maintenance of the educational ministry of the church (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9) for the equipping of the saints (Ephesians 4:12) so that believers will grow spiritually in Christ (Colossians 1:28).
  7. Cooperation with the board of directors and other leaders of the church ministries in overseeing the administration of the church (1 Timothy 3:3).
  8. Receive criticism with wisdom and righteousness (Proverbs 9:9), being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:17), knowing that a soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).
  9. Loyalty and adherence to the Church Discipline as an example of holiness and unity to the members (1 Timothy 4:12).
  10. Maintain integrity and a life without reproach (1 Tim. 3:2), being especially transparent and accountable when ministering to women.
  11. Management of his household in a way consistent with his calling to care for God’s church (1 Tim. 3:4-5), including marital fidelity (1 Tim. 3:2), raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), financial integrity (1 Tim. 3:3), and consistency of lifestyle in all places and times (1 Tim. 3:7).
  12. In concern for the pastor’s personal health, the church requests that the pastor should have a day of rest other than Sunday in which to rest from ordinary ministry-related activities. This day should be arranged in conjunction with the church administration and pastoral staff in order to maintain oversight of the church. Additionally, the pastor may have a second day each week in which is “on-call” only for emergencies.

The Pastor’s Expectations of the Church

  1. Enable the pastor’s experience as the shepherd of the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2) to be a joyful one by respecting his divine appointment and the oversight entrusted to him by God (Hebrews 13:17).
  2. Trust the pastor as a person of integrity dedicated to the welfare of the church (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and to Christian holiness (1 Timothy 4:12).
  3. Permit the pastor to devote himself primarily to prayer, the ministry of the Word of God (Acts 6:4), discipleship and equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12).
  4. Function as the body of Christ by serving according to one’s God-given gifts (1 Cor. 12-13); commit to be equipped for ministry (Eph. 4:12), mature in faith (Eph. 4:13-15), and cooperate for the growth and strengthening of the body of Christ in love (Eph. 4:16).
  5. Diligently promote unity within the local church by refraining from spreading dissent (1 Cor. 1:10) and recognizing that the pastor must please God before men (Acts 5:29; Galatians 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:4).
  6. Be unselfish and willing to sacrifice one’s personal comfort and preference for the best interest of the church and the glory of God (Philippians 2:3-5).
  7. Recognize the pastor’s authority to maintain the order of a public worship service (1 Cor. 14:40) and to approve or disapprove who is permitted to speak from the platform or the pulpit, or otherwise address the assembly of the church.
  8. Consult with the pastor about church affairs so that the church can benefit from his training and experience, and so that the work of the church can be coordinated (Acts 6:1-6).
  9. Review the worthiness of the pastor’s compensation each year (1 Timothy 5:17-18).
  10. Care and respect the pastor’s wife and children, recognizing that their sacrifice is great and often overlooked; recognize that the pastor’s time with his family is for the benefit of the church (1 Tim. 3:4-5). Recognize that the pastor’s wife and family are essential to the pastor’s ministry yet are not employees of the church.
  11. Pray for your pastor (Ephesians 6:18-19).
  12. Faithfully support the work of the local ministry through attendance and giving tithes and offerings. Communicate with the pastor when you will be absent from a corporate gathering.

 Compensation and Benefits

Annual Salary: $45,000 plus one-half of FICA tax. $15,000 of the annual salary shall be designated as housing allowance. (1 Cor. 9:14; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; Gal. 6:6.)

Retirement: $2,200 per year toward a retirement investment of the pastor’s choice.

Fuel Expense for Ministry: All ministry-related fuel expense is paid for by the church.

Debit Card: The pastor will possess a church debit card which should be used for ministry expenses. All receipts must be given to the treasurer and be categorized according to the budget set by the board of directors. A monthly allocation of $250 (aka “coffee money”) may be used by the pastor at his discretion. This allows the pastor ministry assistance for meeting people for lunch or coffee, obtaining ministry materials such as commentaries, or other expenses beyond the church budget.

Professional Development: Reasonable expenses associated with the annual Outreach & Bus Convention, Conference Ministerial, and Annual Conference & Campmeeting will be paid by the church. Additionally, the pastor is allowed up to $800 per year for expenses to attend seminars or conventions related to his professional development in church ministry.

Cellular Phone: The pastor is allowed $500 over a two-year period for the purchase of a cell phone for ministry use.

Hospitality Reimbursement: The pastor will be reimbursed up to $50 per day for hosting guest speakers.

Time Away: The pastor is strongly encouraged to take three weeks of vacation per year. This should be arranged in cooperation with the pastoral staff so that pastoral oversight of the church is maintained. Unused vacation time may not be carried to the following year. Additionally, the pastor may be absent from this field of service up to four weeks each year for ministry in other fields including one week for spiritual renewal. 

Sabbatical: Consistent with our belief that a healthy church requires a healthy pastor, we encourage the Senior Pastor, after completing at least four years of full-time ministry in this local church, to take between one and three months as a sabbatical for respite and renewal. Subsequent sabbaticals should be encouraged every four years and may be extended to six months. The church will continue to support the pastor and his family according to all of the arrangements of this covenant. Arrangements for congregational care should be made well in advance by the board of elders and the pastoral staff.

Holidays: The pastor will be either “on-call” or unavailable in arrangement with other staff members for the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Friday following Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. When any of these holidays occur on a Sunday, an alternate day may be observed in addition to the weekly day of rest.

Paid Severance: If the pastor is dismissed or resigns for reasons other than moral, ethical, or doctrinal reasons or in order to assume other ministry responsibilities, he shall be paid three months’ salary as severance pay and shall not be expected to fill the pulpit or perform pastoral ministries during that time. Under ordinary circumstances, the pastor shall give the church no less than thirty days’ notice of his resignation. In the event of disability of the pastor, the church will continue full financial arrangement for up to six months.

Direct Reports and Review

Reports to and is supervised by the Board of Directors and the ordaining body.

Reports annually to members of the local church.

The particular parts of this covenant are reviewed annually by the chairman of the board or an executive advisory committee per request of the pastor.

Term of Employment

 Month DD, YYYY to Month DD, YYYY

This document represents the entire agreement between the CHURCH and the PASTOR. No other promises or guarantees are made. The conditions of this agreement may only be changed in writing by mutual consent of both parties. The signatures below indicate the mutual agreement of all parties stated herein.


Chairman of the Board: __________________________________

Date: __________________

Secretary of the Board: __________________________________

Date: __________________

Senior Pastor: __________________________________

Date: __________________

David Fry
David Fry
Senior Pastor at the Frankfort Bible Holiness Church. PhD in Systematic Theology (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). MDiv in New Testament Theology (Wesley Biblical Seminary).