Author Topic: Compensation for Assisting Ministers  (Read 482 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Compensation for Assisting Ministers
« on: August 28, 2010, 02:23:38 PM »
An issue that I have run into is the question of compensation for assisting ministers.

One congregation made a distinction between members and non-members. The non-member pianist was paid. When members played, they were not paid. (At least that's became the policy when I wasn't being paid for playing the piano during the non-member's absence to have a baby.)

If a member is compensated for playing the organ or piano, why shouldn't Sunday school teachers or altar guild members be compensated for their time and talents? Where should one draw the line about which volunteers receive a salary and which do not?

The first congregation I served had a policy that, except for the pastors, no employees could be members of the congregation. So the secretary, choir director, organists, groundskeeper, janitor, were all non-members.

On one hand, I see the benefit in such a policy, especially when an employee has to be let go because of poor performance or financial reasons.

On the other hand, I've also experienced the benefit of a secretary who was an active member and her "work" as secretary was seen more as part of her ministry to and for the congregation. It was more than just a "job". (I've experienced non-member secretaries who see it as nothing more than a "job" -- and whose commitment is more to her own congregation than to ours.)

Other thoughts.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2010, 02:27:18 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

edoughty

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Re: Compensation for Assisting Ministers
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2010, 05:09:38 PM »
We do not pay our assisting ministers.  The service an assisting minister offers is, well, an offering of their service.

The same goes for other liturgical roles.

The jobs that are paid in our congregation are:

Pastor
Secretary (part-time)
Cantor (part-time)
Youth minister (part-time)
I think the Children's Ed director (part-time) gets something, but it is not much.

In our congregation, all of these are members.  I think most folks recognize that they put a lot of time and effort into their work-- probably a lot more than they get paid for -- and also, no one else *really* wants to take on their jobs!  So it is fine.

Also, if we have a guest preacher they usually receive some sort of monetary payment. 

I have only once received money for acting as an Assisting Minister; it was for the funeral of an elderly woman, and her large family was very grateful.  I did not want to cause offense by refusing, so I put the money toward my seminary education costs.

Erik

Mike Bennett

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Re: Compensation for Assisting Ministers
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2010, 08:32:40 PM »
An issue that I have run into is the question of compensation for assisting ministers.

One congregation made a distinction between members and non-members. The non-member pianist was paid. When members played, they were not paid. (At least that's became the policy when I wasn't being paid for playing the piano during the non-member's absence to have a baby.)

If a member is compensated for playing the organ or piano, why shouldn't Sunday school teachers or altar guild members be compensated for their time and talents? Where should one draw the line about which volunteers receive a salary and which do not?

The first congregation I served had a policy that, except for the pastors, no employees could be members of the congregation. So the secretary, choir director, organists, groundskeeper, janitor, were all non-members.

On one hand, I see the benefit in such a policy, especially when an employee has to be let go because of poor performance or financial reasons.

On the other hand, I've also experienced the benefit of a secretary who was an active member and her "work" as secretary was seen more as part of her ministry to and for the congregation. It was more than just a "job". (I've experienced non-member secretaries who see it as nothing more than a "job" -- and whose commitment is more to her own congregation than to ours.)

Other thoughts.

While our congregation doesn't forbid hiring a member, we did adopt a  policy a few years ago that no member/employee is eligible to be elected to the congregation council or to serve as a committee chair.

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Compensation for Assisting Ministers
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2010, 11:57:21 PM »
When I came to this call, we were paying the following:

secretary -- non-member
nursery attendant -- non-member
bookkeeper -- member
treasurer -- member
organist -- member
pianist/youth choir director -- non-member
groundskeeper -- non-member
janitor -- non-member

because of financial issues, we now only pay the secretary who has been cut to part-time.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Charles_Austin

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Re: Compensation for Assisting Ministers
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2010, 02:09:50 AM »
I was formerly edgy about a church secretary being a member of the congregation, preferring someone not directly involved who could tend to things without the complications of personal relationships or personal interest.
That worked for me for a while.
It worked better than the situation in one place where the (volunteer) secretary was a long-long-time member of the congregation and used the position as a way of trying to control what the congregation and the pastor did.
Then in another place I had a church secretary who was a member of the congregation, and by virtue of her faith, commitment, knowledge of and love for the members of the congregation was more than a secretary and became a genuine, valued aid in pastoral ministry. She also (being former LC-MS) fully understood the role and authority of the pastor, and knew when to come to me with things. (BTW, she was also a vested worship leader.  ;D )