Most people work for a ministry because they feel called to do so. However, these people have the expectation that they will receive fair compensation. A church salary range can help.
So what is fair compensation? And how do you determine what to pay people?
Determining pay can be a particularly difficult for a startup church because they don’t have the resources to do salary comps or to pay someone to help them.
A church (board) is responsible for created a compensation strategy to ensure the right people are hired and that those employees are compensated fairly.
Part of the compensation management process is to create pay ranges for all employee groups.
Pay ranges are used to determine church budgets and to ensure there is pay growth opportunity for employees.
These pay ranges are a document that outlines the progression in pay for any given job.
For instance, a custodian may have a pay range of $14,500 – $29,725.
A range will show three points of pay: Minimum Pay- Mid-range – Maximum Pay.
For example a custodian range may look like this:
Minimum Pay – $14,500
Mid-range – $21,350
Maximum Pay – $29,725
The employee pay is then determined by the range and is paid no more, no less.
Some organizations, by policy, do not hire any employee above the mid-range pay level because they want the employee to have room to grow in their salary.
Compensation is then determined by experience and job skills and the pay-range allows for pay increases as the employee progresses through their career.
Determining Pay Ranges
There are organizations that specialize in helping create pay grades but if you don’t have the resources to pay them you will need to do it yourself.
But don’t worry there are many available resources that can help with salary research.
Some offer limited free information, others you pay for a report.
The good news is more and more secular job sites are now showing ministry jobs which is great for adding to the comparisons when building your pay ranges.
To build your pay ranges. First determine the jobs you will be creating a range for.
Make this list and then go on a hunt for those salaries.
Next find jobs with those same titles and basic job description – hopefully in your geographic area and start pulling the data.
Create a grid and start filling in the blanks.
Find the minimum, mid and max salaries for these job and start filling in your grid. Factor in benefits if you can.
You don’t want to pay someone a salary that on comps includes medical benefits if your particular strategy is to offer that benefit in addition to pay.
You want to focus on the total compensation cost to the ministry for that employee.
Here are a few resources I have found that can help you create your pay ranges.
4 Resources To Help You Create Church Salary Ranges
1. Compensation Handbook For Church Staff
The best resource I have found for churches is the Compensation Handbook by Richard Hammer. It does come with a price but it provides ministry related pay ranges that are organized by church size, income, base salary, housing allowance, parsonage, education level as well as common church benefits.
It has the necessary worksheets to help you create your salary ranges. It is definitely for the DIY person but with a little time and effort you can create your church pay ranges with this book.
The only disadvantage is this book doesn’t include all jobs that you now see in a church so you may have to go elsewhere if you have jobs that are outside of their listings.
Another secular website that posts lots of church salaries is Indeed.
In addition to posting and finding jobs there is a section to find salaries where you can search by job title, salary range and what current churches are paying for jobs.
I was surprised at how many church jobs this site posts.
Payscale also offers compensation research with average pay, ranges of pay and a job description to help you ensure you are comparing apples to apples with the job you are creating a pay range for.
This site also shares comps for experience, skills for the job and common benefits of the job.
Lifeway provides a free compensation report but is limited to the churches that reported the data. It does provide some limited geographic information as you can search by state.
The only drawback to this report is that it is dated (as of this writing) 2016 so does not reflect 2018 data.
If you can find the job you are looking for, this is a helpful, free resource.
Working for a church comes with countless blessings, most of which money can’t buy. However people who work for churches should be managed well, thanked often and compensated fairly. Create a structured process for giving raises and a go-to pay range document and you will have the necessary tools to ensure your employees recognize that they are appreciated for what they do.
You can access an editable copy of the pay range document here.
How does your church determine employee pay?