Multiplication Center

How Important Is Proper Compensation of Your Church Staff Team?

September 28, 2016

By Dave Travis

pastor with calculator


It’s very important.

Our team led by Dr. Warren Bird has just released our latest large church salary survey results in partnership with Vanderbloemen Search Group. Here is the quick link:

For those of you that serve larger congregations, it is a must read.

More importantly it is a must read not just for you, but for your governing board, compensation planning group and even general leadership of the church to see the patterns and the latest thinking on these issues.

So pass the link along to those at your church. Don’t assume they will see it.

Here is why it is important:

Compensation is not the primary motivating factor for most church staff teams and pastors in their calling. Almost always it is NOT the primary driver mentioned by the staff member. However, improper compensation does lead to those same staff being undervalued and tempted to find other places of service more frequently. Very few of our client congregations try to intentionally “cheap out” their staffing, but without regular review and planning, it just happens. Don’t be that church!

It is also proper and fitting, and is also a model to your leadership, to use surveys and custom compensation studies to set compensation on a regular basis. This is not only in accordance with the legal frameworks established in the U.S. for tax exempt organizations like churches, but also a part of stewarding an organization well in the eyes of the congregation and its community.

In a majority of our clients, church staff often come “from within” the congregation. Many of these leave corporate and other positions and take pay cuts to come serve on the church staff team. They often become very high performers in church teams. But because they entered the organization at a lower compensation level, their salaries have not kept up with the newcomers in the organization. This is where you really need a Custom Salary Analysis to review all of your staff to get a good sense of where your staff stacks up against similar peer churches at your size and region. Our partner, Vanderbloemen Search Group, can do that for you. The link to gives you information on how to access that type of study just for your church.

Finally, the full report also discusses how churches are treating benefits and other “non-salary” items in compensation plans to ensure your church is keeping up with the times in these areas.

As the key leader of an organization myself, I never want to see a team member leave for any reason. It happens for a variety of reasons, of course.

Compensation is rarely THE reason a qualified staff member leaves, but I want to ensure that it is not the DRIVING factor. I am confident you want the same for your congregation.

Read the report at

Recent Articles