The factors that should drive your compensation decisions will change depending on your church’s circumstances, meaning you may factor different elements as attendance, giving, and expenses as they alter. Especially in the months following COVID-19, when income has been unpredictable and the move to online service has changed the landscape of giving and attendance, it can be hard to know what guidelines are helpful in determining appropriate salaries for your staff this year.
To display the two different methods you can use to determine salaries, we’ll show you examples from our compensation report. Our data compares your compensation for a particular role to the closest 50+ similar organizations while also accounting for the cost-of-living in your specific area. All data is adjusted for your specific cost-of-living by zip code.
The first graph we show is based on your attendance. This graph shows how your compensation for a specific role compares to other organizations of similar sizes.
The second graph is based on your organization’s budget. This graph shows how your compensation for a specific role compares to other organizations with similar budgets.
If you want data like this on your church, we’ve compiled over 5,600 data points from Christian organizations, and we would love to share it with you to help you make the best compensation decisions possible. You can find more information on how to receive one of our compensation reports here.
So, Should I Use Attendance Or Budget As A Basis For Compensation?
As previously mentioned, deciding which data to use depends on your church’s current situation. Is your church growing quickly with new believers or is your church more established in the community with older members? These factors along with others can help you decide which data provides a better basis for your organization. Here are our recommendations for determining which data points to use:
- Churches that have rapid conversion growth should use attendance to determine salaries because it sometimes takes many months for a new believer to start giving. This means your budget may not accurately reflect the attendance of the church.
- Churches that do not have much growth or even have a slight decline in attendance over a period of time, should use budgetto determine salaries. This suggestion is assuming a stable church attendance might have a greater majority of mature believers that give at a higher rate.
- Churches that experience growth through transfer membership will be able to choose between using attendance and budget, as you would assume there would not be much lag with new members giving to the church.
- Churches that have been in existence for a long time and have many philanthropic services conducted under the 501c3 of the church should use budget for determining salaries since their income is more established and stable.
Of course, these recommendations are not one-size-fits-all. There are nuances within each church that can change the data you should be considering to determine salaries. Over the past 10 years of walking alongside churches as they make budgetary decisions, we’ve seen that when churches are not an extreme case as we have illustrated above, the graph for attendance and budget even out and become very similar.
How We Can Help
If you are a current Vanderbloemen client within the last 2 years, we welcome you to get a free compensation analysis for all of your positions at your church. Just send us an email, and we will send you a custom link just for your church.
If you are not a current Vanderbloemen client and would like to run a compensation analysis for all of your positions in your church, please follow this link to pay $1,000 for the most accurate industry data that automatically accounts for cost of living. You will be sent a custom link to a survey where you will fill out your positions.
If you would like additional help understanding your compensation report or would like us to give a recommendation based on our data with a follow-up phone call, please follow this link to pay $500 and we will send you a calendar link to schedule a virtual meeting.
At Vanderbloemen, our main goal is to supply church leaders with the very best information to make wise and resourceful decisions. You can find more information regarding salaries in growing churches here.
To view this discussion visit,
Sutton Turner is the chief operating officer of Vanderbloemen, which serves teams with a greater purpose by aligning their people solutions for growth: hiring, compensation, succession and culture. Through its retained executive search and consulting services, Vanderbloemen serves churches, schools, nonprofits, family offices, and Christian businesses in all parts of the United States and internationally.