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November 11, 2019
Managing Your Church Blog, July, 2018
Hey, Fletch: What’s the Best Way to Structure a Pay Scale?
Tips for building a compensation plan that can grow with your church.
Hey, Fletch: What’s the Best Way to Structure a Pay Scale?

In this biweekly column, longtime executive pastor and founder David Fletcher takes on readers’ questions about finances, staffing, communications, and more. Submit your questions using the subject line "Hey, Fletch" to .

I’m in a small church with a few part-time paid staff. We are hoping to grow them into full-time positions over the next two years, plus expand the number of staff. What is the best way to structure a pay scale that a church can grow into on the front end to avoid compensation issues on the back end? How should we pay executive leadership, department heads, department staff, and part-time and hourly workers?

I would recommend a simple compensation guide for your church. The first issue is not part-time versus full-time. The issue needs to be: “What is a fair wage in our community?” You may be in an expensive urbanized area where housing costs are enormous. You may live in a state with no state income tax.

Find out what a high school teacher makes in your community, and try on that salary for size. You may need to scale a teacher’s upwards for what you want to pay senior leaders. Perhaps keep it at the same level for department leaders and scale it downward for assistant pastors. There are lots of variations and variety that you will need to consider.

The great thing about a good compensation guide is that it is scalable. You can modify it in a couple of years, adjust it for inflation, or add new positions.

Make sure your church’s compensation plan is reasonable and fair with our ChurchSalary tool—and participate in the National Church Compensation Survey to help churches across the country set equitable pay.