Julie had been working as an associate campus minister for 15 years. Shortly before her senior leader retired, another associate minister—a man—was hired. This new associate had a salary higher than Julie’s and soon stepped into the senior leadership role when it was vacant. Julie’s salary and position remained the same.
Charlotte worked full-time on her church staff for 10 years. Though she didn’t have a degree in youth ministry, she had about 15 years’ worth of experience working in it. Her student ministry at the church saw a weekly turnout that was larger than the average Sunday service. She received her benefits from her husband’s employer, as her church—a denominational church in the South—did not provide them to her. Her salary was less than $35,000 a year.
Julie and Charlotte’s names have been changed, but the details of their stories have not. Their cases are, arguably, individual: the specific churches and ministries that employed them also employed questionable compensation practices (whether consciously or unconsciously). Yet when placed in the context of labor statistics and anecdotal evidence, their stories hint at the complex, systemic, gender-based compensation issues in the workplace—including the church.