I Deserve A Higher Wage

I Deserve A Higher Wage

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutesI’ve met a considerable number of church staff that have told me they think they should be paid more for their work. Quite often, I’m inclined to agree with them, but the way some go about asking for a higher wage is closer to “demanding” a higher wage, like some in the fast food union are pushing for substantial wage increases. There’s a huge, massive difference in the work of a fast food cashier compared to the demands of vocational ministry work, so I’m not making a comparison to the type of work, but rather the way to talk about wage that isn’t centered around a dollar amount – but, instead, a value proposition. Someone needs to tell those fast food workers that they may indeed be worth more than minimum wage, but that there are jobs that pay more than fast food chains. It’s not the industry that needs to change, it’s the person’s job that needs to change! Conversely, there are those in churches that don’t know how to ask for a wage increase, or worse, assume that because it’s “ministry work” that they are somehow exempt from 1 Timothy 5:18. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:18 (NASB) If a laborer is worthy, then that laborer is worthy of the going rate, not a discounted rate. My personal experience with full time vocational work was that it was harder and more demanding and required more hours than secular employment; if anything, church staff should be paid...

Tradition Prefers Failure to Innovation

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutesI remember the first time I heard of IDEO – a famous firm that seemingly few have heard about – a company that helps others innovate. It was at a company meeting with Fellowship Technologies where CEO Jeff Hook was inspiring us to help innovate in the church market. I was surprised at the number of products that we use today were actually birthed at IDEO on behalf of the company that gets all the credit. Notable examples are Apple’s first mouse, Microsoft’s second mouse, and the Palm V PDA. Major clients have included Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Eli Lilly, Ford, and Steelcase. What struck me most about them was that they’re not an invention firm, but an innovation firm. I think innovation is the art and science of taking something that exists and improving on it in a significant way. This, of course, has huge implications for local churches, who have the timeless message that never changes but innumerable methods for applying that message to culture. Where I think churches trip up along this journey is when traditions become more important than the teachings from the text. Traditions begin as personal preferences. I made this simple statement in a blog a couple of weeks ago: “I have preferences. We all do. Some of these preferences have meaning to us, so we create a consistent pattern around them. Before you know it, we’ve told others how to operate within our preferences. One step removed from us, what was once a preference is now a tradition. I think traditions are a lot like money: they’re neither good nor bad – it’s all about how you approach it. If a tradition gets in the way...

Success and Preparation

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute “Great moments don’t just happen; preparation makes them possible.” Our culture celebrates success, excessively. From highlight reels to election results to victory parades, we love seeing the big wins played out on screen or stage. So it is with churches. We create entire lists of the fastest-growing and largest churches in North America, which in and of itself is just fine; the problem occurs when we begin to look at their size or growth rate as the point, rather than an outcome.  I’m all for celebrating what God’s doing in these churches. I actually have friends on staff at quite a few of them, and I celebrate with them. My caution is that when we focus on the rate of growth as a snapshot in church history, we’re only seeing a momentin time; an outcome of many, many years of hard work, faithfulness and lots and lots of prayer. What we’re not seeing is actually the more important part of the story, and one that churches need to consider and research before making decisions to model ministries after the Instagram snapshot of the cover for a special edition magazine about these churches. Duplicating good ideas is only a good idea when the idea matches your vision. Any other time, they’re either sideways energy towards good, but not great, or end up being a complete distraction for the unique vision of your own church, in your own community. QUESTION: What has been your experience in applying ideas from other churches into your unique context?...

Heart and Availability Trump Talent and Experience

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes “Dont’ be impressed by experience or ability; be impressed with heart and availability.” I’ll never forget the Sunday that we moved in to our new church auditorium, replete with all the new gear to make the room look and sound great. That’s when Mr. Expert showed up. It turns out he’d been attending for a few months prior to the new building opening, but hadn’t approached me about volunteering in the Tech Arts ministry. But once opening Sunday came and we had the new equipment, he was suddenly Johnny-on-the-spot ready to sign up! But he didn’t come to me, the Pastor of Tech Arts. No, he made a beeline for another, higher-up staff member, where he rattled off his impressive credentials and years of live sound mixing experience, including a prestigious performing arts venue in town. As quickly as his introduction was complete, he was introduced as one of our new “sound guys”. I loved that he had so much experience and talent (greater than mine or anyone else on our team, for sure), so I invited him to spend a few minutes after service wrapping cables on the stage during the post-service stage reset. He declined. “I don’t do stuff like that anymore,” came his reply. “Well, we’d love to have your help, but everyone on the team helps with the room reset,” I shared in response, hoping he’d catch the hint. He didn’t. Instead, it took only a few weeks for the powers-that-be realized that Mr. Expert’s experience and ability were all he brought to the team. No heart for our team...

What box? Tradition, Rationality and Revelation

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes “Tradition: what has come before. Rationality: exercise of logical thought. Revelation: a perspective outside of the box.” I recently posted an Instagram photo of a piece of art that said “color outside the lines”. My comment was simply “what lines?” Perhaps it’s my personal viewpoint of looking at things through God’s hard-wiring of my mind, but I really don’t like the idea of being restricted to artificial limitations. I do, however, like knowing the boundaries because they help frame the conversation and focus. I said all of that to set up today’s #thinkchurch post: How are you approaching your ministry work? Tradition. I have preferences. We all do. Some of these preferences have meaning to us, so we create a consistent pattern around them. Before you know it, we’ve told others how to operate within our preferences. One step removed from us, what was once a preference is now a tradition. I think traditions are a lot like money: they’re neither good nor bad – it’s all about how you approach it. If a tradition gets in the way of loving people, it’s a clear sign that the tradition has to change or go. Rationality. Oh, boy, do I fall into this one all the time. I am l.o.g.i.c.a.l. all of the freaking time. Rational thought is useful, but it can easily miss the mark of being redemptive. If this, then that can lead to decisions without heart. It’s a good management technique, but a poor one for leadership. Revelation. What box? I have often been told I’m an excellent conference speaker because, as one...

Love Wins

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute “When this is first (love), everything else isn’t as important.” My experience with pastors puts them into two general categories: highly relational-minded or highly performance-minded. Sure, there are relational pastors who are also focused on getting results, but in the thousands of conversations I’ve had with pastors, this seems to be the dividing line. You’ll see the in their churches, too, where there either is – or isn’t – a premium placed on performance. No matter where you fit into these generalized camps, the truth is that leading with love first ensures that the best outcomes are at least possible. Highly relational? Lead with love and both manipulation and taking advantage (either way) are forced out of the picture. Highly focused on performance? Lead with love and your high-capacity teams will not only do better work, they’ll be more loyal and will likely stick around even during hard seasons. It is, after all, one of the Greatest Commandments. QUESTION: Think about your most recent interaction with your boss or your staff. Did love lead first?...