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Top Posts of 2014 #3: “How Much Should Your Church Pay Your Pastor?”

I enjoy being able to pass along helpful content on my blog and a common question I hear in working with churches is, “How much should we pay our pastoral staff?” Fortunately this post helps answer that question.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post called, “How Much Should We Pay Our Pastor,” that went on to become a pretty popular post, primarily because most churches have no idea what a fair compensation package is for their pastor or any member of their church staff. Fortunately for Churches seeking to answer this question some new data has just been released this week!

The 2014 Large Church Salary Report conducted by Leadership Network in partnership with the Vanderbloemen Executive Search Firm has just been released to the public. The largest survey of its kind ever conducted, 727 churches of over 1,000 people in attendance from 42 states and Canada participated to provide more information and more specific information than ever before available. Follow this link to get your hands on a copy of the survey results! Here are a couple of facts that caught my eye along with the top 10 findings info-graphic below.

  • The larger the church the younger it is. In other words, churches in the 1,000-person range have on average been around for about 40 years. Churches in the 10,000-person range on average have been around about 25 years.
  • The younger the church, the more likely it is to be multisite.
  • 74% of large churches are growing.
  • One of the things I really liked about the way Leadership Network chose to show the information was that they showed the 25%, 50% (or median), and 75% instead of simply showing the average. These numbers offer better benchmarks because they minimize the influence of extremely high or low salaries.

Related Resources:

  1. Interested in a Custom Compensation Analysis by Vanderbloemen Search Firm
  2. Interested in a Compensation Study done for churches under 1,000?


Posted in Staffing

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Top Posts of 2014 #4: “The Four Stages of a Church Staff Team”

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I’m always looking for great word pictures for leadership systems and structures in the local church. Apparently other people are too, because this was the 4th most popular post on Helping Churches Make Vision Real this year!

If you’ve ever been a part of a growing church you know that growth changes everything. Especially the relational, organizational and working dynamics of the staff team. Larry Osborne, Lead Pastor at North Coast Church writes the following in his book Sticky Teams:

“Never forget growth changes everything. A storefront church, a midsized church, a large church, and a mega-church aren’t simply bigger versions of the same thing. They are completely different animals. They have little in common, especially relationally, organizationally, and structurally.”

Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to sit down with Larry and hear him expound on this idea and talk about what he describes as, “The Four Stages of a Team.”

Stage 1: Track Star

The track star performs alone. They may train with others and their score may affect an overall team win, but they operate by themselves. This is the solo pastor. Typical Church Size: 0-150

Stage 2: Golfing Buddies

At this stage the church staff is highly relational. They enjoy deep relationships and doing life together outside of work. They’re doing what they love with people that they like. Typical Church Size: 150-600

Stage 3: Basketball Team

Basketball is a team sport not a friendship sport. It requires working together, trusting one another and sharing the ball. While there are still meaningful relationships, genuine camaraderie, and a shared sense of purpose; there are too many players for everyone to be best friends. On a basketball team there are star players and role players. And they’re paid differently due to the role that they play. Typical Church Size 600-2,000

Stage 4: Football Team

This is the most drastic and difficult change. And it’s the reason why so many churches get stuck and so few ever break 2,000. Football can be a dangerous game if you think you’re still playing track, golf, or basketball. In the game of football there are highly specialized roles and team work is essential. The offense, defense and special teams all have different playbooks. Often times the offense isn’t even watching what the defense is doing while they’re on the field and visa-verse. They’re preparing for the next time they’re on the field. Everyone no longer knows what everyone else is doing. When the defense adds a new blitz package without telling the offensive line, the offensive line doesn’t care. They’re just glad someone sacked the opposing teams quarterback. And even in football there are different levels of the game. There is a big difference in talent, coaching, speed of the game, and complexity between High School, D1 College, and the NFL. Typical Church Size: 2,000+

Photo Credit: PowerMax Energy via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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Top Posts of 2014 #5: “Ministry Trends for 2014″

We’re halfway through our Top 10 countdown of the most popular posts here at Helping Churches Make Vision Real! I’d be interested to know how many of these trends you experienced in 2014.

Recently Carey Nieuwof, who serves as the Lead Pastor at Connexus Church north of Toronto, Canada, released this info-graphic about trends he’s seeing in ministry as we head into 2014. With his permission, I’m happy to share this here with you. Carey speaks to leaders and audiences across North American and around the world on leadership, change, parenting and personal renewal. You can follow this link to keep up with Carey at his blog!

Which of these trends have you seen? Which ones do you disagree with? Anything surprising to you? Or is there anything you would add? What trends are you observing as we head into 2014? Leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership

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Top Posts of 2014 #6: “4 Indispensible Truths about the Art of Planning”

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We’re almost half way there on our countdown of the Top 10 Posts from 2014! This one in particular is one I see churches struggle with frequently. And it doesn’t have to be that way!

All of us have been in planning meetings before with a team that seemed to have had a break through moment. You know, that moment when everyone says, “Yes! That’s exactly the direction we need to move, and that’s exactly how we need to get there from here!” There was energy, excitement and unity as everyone left the meeting. But the more time that passed after the meeting dismissed the more that energy that was there faded and the less movement towards actualizing the plan took place. In fact a large majority of planning meetings don’t actually provoke much real change in most churches and organizations. Here are 4 reasons why many of your plans aren’t really getting you anywhere:

1. Planning is Hard Work

Anybody who tells you any different is lying to you. Not only do you need to have the ability to get the stakeholders in the room but, there are some key questions you’ve got to wrestle to the ground. There are probably a lot of things we could do, but what must we do? What plan best fits and reinforces our culture? How will we resource the plan? How do we know if the plan is working? What staffing structure best suites our plan? Will the plan actually get us where we want to go?

2. Plans Don’t Self Execute

No matter how incredibly airtight your plan is, no plan self executes. You’ve taken the time and put in the hard work of putting a plan together and in so doing you’ve taken one of the first steps in making vision real. But now comes the really hard work. Executing the plan.

3. No Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy

I have a long and rich military heritage in my family. Maybe that’s why I love this statement so much…because that’s where it comes from. All great Generals and Military Leaders know that no matter how well conceived that plan is at Head Quarters; Officers on the field of battle are the ones who are actually leading their men to take the hill. The enemy never behaves exactly as you expect him to. Great Military Leaders understand the art of making adjustments on the fly all while keeping their eyes on and men moving towards the objective.

4. A Good Plan that can’t be Changed is a Bad Plan

If you’re inflexible you’re going to find executing a plan to be nearly impossible. No matter how much preparation you put into it there are still going to be unforeseen obstacles. You may find you have the wrong leader executing the plan. You may have underestimated the resources required to execute the plan. Or you may overestimate the pace at which the plan can be properly executed.

Is your church stuck? Need help clarifying where God is taking you? The Unstuck Group can help you clearly articulate you mission, vision, and core strategies while build alignment and movement towards your future through prioritized action initiatives! Follow this link to learn more!

Photo Credit: One Way Stock via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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Top Posts of 2014 #7: “4 Reasons Why Churches become Insider Focused”

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Another late addition to the top 10 posts of 2014 comes in at number 7. I wrote this at the beginning of December but it quickly became one of the most shared and most popular posts of the year!

It’s rare that I ever come across a church that started off as an insider focused church. Most churches start with a desire to reach new people with the Gospel. In those early stages of a church plant they have to reach new people or they die due to a lack of viability. So how does a church that’s eager to help people outside of the faith follow Jesus drift towards becoming insider focused and spending all of it’s energy taking care of people who are already convinced? Here are the four most common reasons why churches become insider focused:

1. Stop Taking Risks

By its very nature everything about a church plant is risky. It’s a brand new start up. Everything is new and everywhere you turn there is a new risk to take. Somewhere along the way when some measure of viability is reached churches begin to mitigate risk by taking care of key stakeholders (insiders). It’s a lot easier (and less risky) to keep church people happy than it is to continue to reach out to people who are outside of the church. When is the last time your church risked something big for God? If you have outgrown your original risk taking ethos then your church is probably moving towards becoming insider focused.

2. Stay Married to Old Methods

If you don’t have a well of new ideas that you can go to and possibly implement at any given time then you’re probably spending a lot of energy propping up old methods and programs. And those old methods and programs bring a certain comfort with them, because they keep people who are already in the church happy. Every idea has a shelf life. If your church isn’t constantly evaluating and strategically stopping old things and starting new things then you’re probably moving towards becoming insider focused.

3. Planning overtakes Chaos

One of the most common misunderstandings of strategic planning is that the goal is not order; the goal is to accomplish the vision. In a growing church you want planning and management to lag slightly behind the chaos of change and movement. It’s possible to manage and plan your way into losing momentum. When planning and order become higher priorities than chaos and movement your church is teetering on becoming insider focused.

4. Lack of Vision

Clear vision is the greatest catalyst for movement and action in the church. When vision is fuzzy things slow down and naturally drift towards becoming insider focused. We all wake up every day thinking about ourselves, it’s what comes natural to us. That’s why both Jesus and the Apostle Paul paint a clear vision of spiritual maturity as living an others focused life. If your church is not sure where it’s going, chances are your moving towards becoming insider focused.

Interested in reading up some more on Insider Focused Churches? Check out the posts below:

Photo Credit: BrianTuchalskiPhotography via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership
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