On January 16, 2007, I sent a certified letter to every SBC executive whose agency receives Cooperative Program dollars. Specifically, the letter sought answers to fourteen interrogatories related to executive salaries, benefits, expense accounts, and allowances.
So far, only Jeff Iorg, Morris Chapman, and Richard Land have responded. Each of these men provided a full response to my fourteen questions, and were gracious to include information from the financial reports and audits of their respective agencies.
Last week, I sent a follow up letter to each executive who had found 90 days to be an insufficient time to respond to my original letter. That letter is copied below:
Dear Dr. _______:
Enclosed with this letter is a copy of my original request, dated January 16, 2007, requesting information from your entity regarding executive salary, benefits, perquisites, and emoluments. Each letter was sent via certified mail, and I have received the acknowledgement from the United States Postal Service that you did, in fact, receive the letter on the following dates:
Dr. Albert Mohler — January 22, 2007
Dr. Daniel Akin — January 22, 2007
Dr. Phil Roberts — January 22, 2007
Dr. Chuck Kelley — January 23, 2007
Dr. Paige Patterson — January 25, 2007
Dr. Jeff Iorg — January 22, 2007
Dr. Jerry Rankin — January 23, 2007
Dr. Richard Land — January 22, 2007
Dr. Morris Chapman — January 22, 2007
Dr. Roy Fish — January 23, 2007
As of today, I have received responses from three SBC entity executives. Dr. Jeff Iorg of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary responded to each of my fourteen questions, provided a salary structure, and forwarded a copy of the seminary audit on March 5, 2007. Dr. Hal Lane, in behalf of Dr. Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, forwarded a copy of the commission audit on March 8, 2007, and provided a full response to the questionairre on March 20, 2007. Dr. Morris Chapman of the Executive Committee provided a copy of his entity’s salary structure and answered each of my fourteen interrogatories on March 29, 2007.
On April 16th of this coming week, it will have been three months since I sent my original request. On April 25th of this month, every SBC entity executive will have had a full three months to respond. I recognize that your responsibilities are immense as you direct the interests and assets of Southern Baptists toward Kingdom objectives, and I hope that three months has been sufficient time for you and/or your staff to prepare a response to my request.
Thank you for your kind and prompt attention to this matter. Your commitment to transparency, integrity, and accountability is greatly appreciated.
So today, in the interest of reciprocity, I am providing my own responses to each of these questions, based upon my ministry salary and benefits at Parkview Baptist Church. Alright boys, see how easy this is?
1. Parkview Baptist Church does not provide the pastor with a travel budget, though my expenses for attending conferences, conventions, and other ministry-related trips are covered under my convention expense allowance. Through the generous benefaction of a retired airline executive who serves in lay leadership at Parkview, the pastor is afforded twelve free first class round-trip tickets per year on American Airlines, subject to seat availability.
2. I have one part time secretary whose salary and benefits do not exceed $600.00 per month.
3. I am afforded a housing allowance subject to annual review and approval. My total housing allowance for our fiscal year 2007 is $12,000. I lease a small condominium near downtown Dallas, which I clean myself. I also change my own toilet paper rolls, and perform minor repairs as needed.
4. Parkview Baptist Church does not provide me with an automobile as a part of my benefit package. I am provided, however, with an expense budget for automobile mileage reimbursement, not to exceed $6000.00 per year. I own my own vehicle, a 2002 Lincoln LS with 52,000 miles.
5. There is no budget for any current or future spouse of the pastor, though I am certain the church will gladly pay for her airfare when my Russian Bride application is approved.
6. The pastor is afforded an annual convention and conference expense budget, not to exceed $2500 per year. As of April 9, 2007, I have used $1,155.26 of this expense. I have no library allowance, though the church has given me sets of books on various occasions for anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, etc.
7. The pastor or church treasurer must approve all ministry reimbursements for associate ministry staff or lay leadership. The treasurer, assistant treasurer, or finance chairman must approve reimbursements for the pastor.
8. The Pastor has a discretionary fund of $600 per year, which may be used for ministry-related expenses and/or benevolence assistance. As of April 9, 2007, I have used $88.84 of this expense.
9. The church does not require the pastor to provide an accounting of his supplemental ministry income. I have just completed, however, my report of such income to the personnel committee for First Quarter 2007. In the first three months of 2007, I earned $275.00 for various writing projects, $300.00 in wedding/funeral honoraria, and $200.00 in cash gifts. No outside speaking engagement in First Quarter 2007 generated supplemental income for the pastor. All honoraria received during Fiscal 2006 was reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Parkview Baptist Church affords the pastor a total of six weeks ministry leave in any given year for vacation/revival/conferences. In my absense, the church pays for pulpit supply.
10. When I arrived at Parkview Baptist Church, no audit of church finances had been conducted in many years. Bookkeeping was in complete disarray, and budgets were non-existent. Today, Parkview has a monthly audit/reconciliation by a professional bookkeeper, and a quarterly review by a Certified Public Accountant. All church finances have been computerized, and reports of all church expenses are provided to the appropriate committees and given to the church on a quarterly basis.
11. Parkview Baptist Church has not authorized the pastor to provide information related to the various balances of our operating or reserve accounts.
12. The pastor of Parkview Baptist Church receives an annual salary of $18,000. The associate minister of music (part-time) receives an annual salary of $9,600. Our pianist is paid at a rate of $3,510 per year, and our church janitor receives an annual salary of $10,800. When I arrived at Parkview, the janitor had received no raise for the previous ten years of service. At my recommendation, the church authorized a raise equal to ten years of service after our first budget was approved, and our janitor was enrolled in the Guidestone annuity program. Our minister of music was originally earning $60 per week, without any retirement benefit. Today, all ministry staff receive a matching annuity benefit. The pastor’s salary was not raised in the past fifteen months, and a one-time raise was authorized when the pastor became full-time in January 2006. The church pays my health, life, disability, dental and prescription drug insurance premium in full, an amount equal to $2760 per year.
13. Parkview Baptist Church is debt-free.
14. See #11 above.