Six Ways for Pastors to Get Paid

I heard a great bit of teaching by the amazing Dan Sullivan, who is probably the preeminent business coach in the world. The names of the people he associates with or has taught is a who’s who list of those who have done big things and doing big things in the world right now.

In this teaching, he talked about six ways to get paid and I thought wow! The content was good in itself, and I thought this really has some pretty solid application for pastors, so I thought I’d run through this thinking about different ways for pastors or Christian leaders to get paid. There’s six of them and they all begin with C, which is helpful.

One is a new capability. If you’re doing a job where you’re learning something new that is useful in ministry or marketable in some way, that is a form of payment. It’s like you’re working at a job and you’re being paid to learn something new, or someone’s paying your tuition and paying you to go to school. That’s a really good form of pay.

Another is creativity. If you’re in a role where you’re allowed to do creative things, like write or speak or broadcast your video as a part of that job, you are growing as a person. You are likewise developing capabilities, but you’re really also getting better and allowing an outlet that really does feed you. Many times, creativity and the chance to create according to our gifts and abilities really is life-giving.

Another form of payment is credibility. If what you’re doing and you’re doing it well builds your credibility, builds your reputation in a healthy way, that’s another great form of payment.

Very closely tied to that is number four, which is connections. If your role allows you to develop new relationships in your field, get to know people, collaborate, and develop mentors, mentees, and peers, that’s incredibly important. As I think John Maxwell used to say, or probably still says, your network is your net worth. Connections are a huge part of the value you gain from doing work.

Number five is confidence. If the work you’re doing increases your confidence as you see your capabilities, creativity, credibility and connections grow, the result is you are becoming more confident in your calling, your gifts and your place in the world. That’s a huge form of pay.

Now there is a challenge for pastors with this one because in general, statistically and from research, their self-esteem is lower when they’re in the ministry than it was before ministry. There are a lot things that cause that and a lot of reasons for it. One reason is that if we go into ministry for ourselves and seem a little inflated. We might think we’re greater than we are, but there’s things that knock us down and people that knock us down. We need to make sure that in our role, in our larger context of life and ministry, there are things that give us confidence.

Number six is the one that we often think of first, which is cash, actual money, which is an important form of pay. The truth is if those other things are in place, usually the last one shows up. Now, here’s how I want to specifically apply this to pastors. You know and I know that if you’re working, if your vocation is pastoral ministry, you need to be paid in money. That’s a given. If you’re paid in all those other five ways, but didn’t get cash, it wouldn’t be very sustainable.

However, if you’re paid in cash, but you’re not paid in several of those other ways, you need to question whether you should stay where you are. If all you are getting out of your role is money, but you’re not gaining any new capabilities, don’t have a chance for creativity, if it’s not building your reputation, your credibility, you’re not making connections, and your confidence is being hammered, then maybe it’s a time to look elsewhere. The ideal role is one that pays you what you need to live on and then helps you grow and gain ground in all of those other forms.

So here it is again; capability, creativity, credibility, connections, confidence, and cash. Make sure in your role you’re paid in as many of those as possible.

Wisdom to you as you seek to be a follower who makes followers. If you want to talk about this further, feel free to hunt me down. God bless, press on.

Leave a Comment