Leader Compensation

Jonathan Bernis

How much are those in charge of these Israel-related ministries actually making?

 

It’s often implied that any leader of a nonprofit ministry or organization who earns more than Mother Teresa is somehow gouging the public. Obviously, that isn’t true. Running a large organization—whether a college, a hospital or a church—is complicated and requires hard work. By not paying market-rate salaries, the talent needed to run such organizations tends to go to where he or she can be compensated commensurate with his or her ability. Even Jesus said a “laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7).

Some organizations don’t like to reveal what their leaders make, however, because they fear donations would decrease if people knew. In the world of Christian ministries, that’s especially true—as proven by such examples as the short-lived “scandal” surrounding Franklin Graham’s compensation package as the head of both Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

At the same time, in American culture there is a feeling that some financial matters should be out in the open. For example, it’s required by law that the public knows the salaries of elected officials. And those who run a publicly owned company must publicize the salaries of top management so investors can make investing decisions based on whether they feel those leaders are looking out for the investor or themselves.

Even the Bible says people do things differently in the light than in darkness. So in that spirit, Charisma inquired about the salaries of some of the ministries’ leaders.

We found ministry leaders’ pay ranged from zero to a high of $1.2 million for Yechiel Eckstein, of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. By comparison, leaders from three of the other largest Israel-related ministries earned substantially less: Jonathan Bernis earned $224,233 in total compensation (salary and benefits), Jews for Jesus Executive Director David Brickner earned $200,000 and Chosen People Ministries President Mitch Glaser earned $174,767. (The salary and benefit package of Christians United for Israel Executive Director David Brog could not be obtained.)

Among the other ministries, no salary was above $90,500. And with Eckstein’s removed from the equation, the average salary of those leaders willing to disclose their compensation—and including those who take no salary—was $85,856. —Troy Anderson


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