There’s a lot of smack talk about church staffing these days. Senior pastors rightfully elevate the role of various staff members and do their best to put all staff on the same “level” as themselves in people’s eyes. There are even a few places where church leaders will acknowledge that the childrens ministry professional, youth worker, and music minister are equally valuable. Within the non-denomination world this is emerging as a style of government where the paid staff are the elders.
All for one and one for all: Brilliant. Biblical. Awesome.
I agree with the premise. As a person sitting in the pews my family is ministered by all staff pretty much equally. Certainly, there is headship and we acknowledge that one of the staff is “in charge.” But that is really just a role, isn’t it? It’s not that being the leader is necessarily harder or more important. It’s a different role, equally important and dependent to the others. And in many cases each person on staff has an equal level of education while each chose a slightly different career path. So the education argument seems to prove that most staff is equal. Another argument is that the preacher should get more money than the rest of the staff. Really? As if the stuff taught to the kids and teens isn’t as important as what’s preached? This merely shows the ignorance in the process of how churches work on a week-to-week basis. As someone who has done a lot of roles on church staff I can tell you that there is nothing more or less difficult about preparing a sermon. In fact, its a lot easier than preparing curriculum for 5-6 age levels. So, again, the argument that somehow the person preaching is more valuable to the church organization falls apart. The day-to-day reality is that all of the church staffing roles are equally important.
Don’t believe me? Watch your senior pastors face when you tell him the chidlrens worker or worship leader are AWOL on a Sunday morning.
The real question is… when will that be reflected on pay day?
If church staff are equally valuable to the organization why is there inequality when it comes to taking care of staff? Why does the senior pastor make 2-3 times what the childrens worker makes? Why does that person get perks not available to the rest? Why does that person get more time off? Sabbatical? Conference budget? Book budget? Car allowance? Special tax perks. It may shock you to know that most associate level staff makes less than half what the senior pastor makes… before the perks kick in.
This gets really strange when staff have kids the same age. The staff all have equally important roles but can’t afford to live in the same neighborhood. One family sends their kids to private school, goes on lavish vacations, and never have to worry about their kids getting new clothes. The rest of the staff live paycheck to paycheck. They watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and wonder when someone will turn in their house?
I’d like to ask you to consider a new way. What if every pastoral team member made the exact same amount of money? (Perks and all.) What if they weren’t just equal in importance, recognized 1-2 times per year, but were recognized in the one way that would keep those associate level people in the game for life?
Want to attract talent? Pay them. Want to keep staff? Pay them. Want to change a community by having talented people in place for a generation? Pay them.
All for one and one for all. Brilliant. Biblical. Awesome.
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