What to Consider When Setting Church Employee Salaries

Whitney leaning against a railing on a downtown street
Photograph by Mirza Babic

As a leader of a church, you will need to know the top compensation factors to consider-salary ranges and benefits packages. Knowing what these are can help you determine what is best for your ministry and its future.

In order to set an appropriate salary for any employee, it's important to consider many different factors including: their level of expertise in relation to that position; how much they earn at other jobs or organizations; the cost of living in their area; whether they have children or elderly parents who depend on them financially; the total number of hours required by this job each week/month/year (in addition to other family responsibilities); their potential for advancement within your organization over time as well as with others.

Expertise & Current Salary

Adjusting salary to an employee's level of expertise in relation to that position is one of the most important considerations, because it will provide them with job satisfaction. A well-rounded organization has both high achievers and average performers, so to attract and keep good employees, you should consider their different levels. If you have a high achiever for this position, they might be overqualified or underpaid in their current role. If the employee isn't making as much money at their other job, it would be wise to increase their salary so that they are properly compensated for the value of their work and expertise. If they are already making a comfortable amount but hold a high position of responsibility, you might consider offering them performance-based incentive pay in addition to their base salary.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in the area where you are is also a factor that you will need to take into account when setting their salary. If the new employee is moving from another location where the cost of living is much higher, then you should consider compensating them more than an employee who lives in a place where the cost of living is lower. The fact that they are moving and providing their family with a stable environment will have a great effect on your organization as well because they will be more likely to stick around and invest in its continued success.

Family Financial Situation

The number of family members and their financial situations that your employee has to support will also play a big role in determining their salary. If they have children or elderly parents who depend on them financially, you might consider giving them the ability to receive additional money through a supplemental income program or extra bonuses that help with medical bills or tuition. Likewise, time off for child care or elder care can also be a deciding factor when trying to attract and retain good employees.

Hours Per Week/Month/Year & Other Family Responsibilities

Knowing the total number of hours required by this job each week/month/year (in addition to other family responsibilities) is also important because you want to keep your employee happy but not overwhelmed. As a leader of a church, your organization should be flexible with employees when it comes to time off because many of them will have families that need tending to outside of the workplace. Some staff may want more flexibility than others, so you must consider this factor as well when determining salary and working conditions.

Potential Advancement

The last factor to consider when determining an appropriate salary for any employee is their potential for advancement within your organization over time. If this person has a lot of potential and could be seen as a future leader in the church, then they should be compensated accordingly. This is the kind of high achiever that you want to keep on your side because they will help grow the church or ministry into a success story. However, if the position to be filled is static and unlikely to be a springboard to greater things, then you should consider paying them less but offer training opportunities to keep them engaged and employable within your organization.

A Properly-Paid Employee is Often a Happy Employee

The process of setting an appropriate salary is not as simple as it may seem. You will need to take into account many factors, especially if you want a happy employee who stays with your church for years instead of just months or weeks. Paying your employee what they are worth will be a benefit to them and to your organization because they will be productive workers who are satisfied by their compensation.