worst church idea of the month award
Sunday September 11th 2005, 7:57 pm
Filed under: church

sorry for the days of silence — busy, busy. just flying home from seattle, where i presented the CORE (ys’ one-day training thingy) yesterday. my two kids were with me and we stayed in the home of friends; so it was fun and tiring both.

now, onto the award…

an pastor said to me that he loves to try new things. and the thing he’s trying right now that he thinks is such a good idea? [drum roll, please — and brace yourself]] he’s paying his staff based on how many people, on average, attend the ministries they are in charge of. he grinned as he told me that, for example, one of the pastors has a fairly low monthly salary, because he’s new and his particular ministry is average-sized; but if the ministry reaches x-amount on average, his pay will bump to another level, and at xx-amount, to another level, which is a great salary for their area. he said it’s a great system because it builds self-motivation in automatically.

he waited for my response.

for reasons i won’t go into, it wasn’t the appropriate time for me to begin vomiting on his church carpet, or pummeling him in front of his church-folk. so i grinned an extremely uncomfortable grin and mumbled something like, “well, i don’t know….”

need i even comment here any further? actually, when i found out he used to be the exec pastor of a large church near my house in san diego that is numbers-obsessed, it all made sense.

31 Comments so far
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I’ll keep my comment to:
?!?!?!?!??!?!???!??! ^$*)@$*&@#$(#)^*)(@#$)@#*)%&@#$(*#!%^$)(@#*^(*@#%$

In case this guy finds your blog.

Comment by Andrew Seely 09.11.05 @ 8:21 pm

Marko, could you please pass on his name or e-mail address so I can tell him personally how repulsive I consider his concept?

Comment by Nolan Bobbitt 09.11.05 @ 9:40 pm

Wow … that’s incredibly sad and infuriating at the same time. Just depressing. Especially in that he was so unhealthy as to think it was brag worthy.

Comment by Matthew McNutt 09.11.05 @ 9:47 pm

that is among the most absurd things i have ever heard.

Comment by robert terrell 09.11.05 @ 10:25 pm

hmm. you wanna say um.. what the? but then the other side of me is like.. if those are the kind of staff he wants to have working for him.. maybe they all deserve to be together. ..

Comment by tash 09.11.05 @ 10:33 pm

That is soooo scary and sad and…well…I probably would have thrown up all over his church carpet! Ugh!

Comment by Deneice 09.11.05 @ 10:51 pm

Does each new member get a signing-on bonus, too?
How about incentive bonuses that kick in when a new member starts volunteering? Or when they join the choir?

I’ll send you some of this if you need.

Comment by Derek 09.11.05 @ 11:58 pm

What an idea, let’s keep the staff in constant agnony about their financial situation; that will make ministry better.

Well, in the 4 years I have been at my church, I had the largest group of senior’s gratudate last spring and that has had an impact on the size. I guess I’d have to be getting some food stamps or something to make up for the pay I would be losing.

He should have his pay docked everytime he comes up with a stupid, unsuccessful idea.

Comment by -Justin- 09.12.05 @ 12:00 am


At least he’s willing to admit this.

How many staff members get surprised at the first review because they didn’t know the field goals up front?

Still stinks, though… like an expired log of cheese with peanuts on it (what’s up with that, anyway?).

Comment by Tony Myles 09.12.05 @ 12:36 am

Well must admit to being shocked! Maybe it is being english, but please tell me - why do the staff hang around? They must be happy with the idea (in which case, leave them to it) or are completely insane - just cannot understand who would work under this scheme!!

Comment by roy 09.12.05 @ 4:31 am

I wonder if his salary has the same built in motivations with it.

Comment by Clint Walker 09.12.05 @ 6:12 am

somebody has to address this kind of thing nationall/globally - it’s tearing churches apart, and wounding really good pastors. leadership really thinks that this kind of thing is real and important. numbers seem to be ‘all’ that matter to them.

i think you should ‘out’ the guy with an article in CT or leadership journal marko.

Comment by bobbie 09.12.05 @ 7:21 am

Marko’s Award

Marko gives out the award for worst church idea of the month

Trackback by The Bucket 09.12.05 @ 8:30 am

At least he’s honest. Expectations are clear. They are wrong but at least you know what you are getting yourself into.

Comment by Len 09.12.05 @ 1:40 pm

Another great example of spiritual abuse… taking spirituality to another all-time low. I wonder how much he would of paid Jesus for his paltry 12 disciples and handful of committed followers. Pentecost would have been a huge payday though!

Comment by Jeff 09.12.05 @ 2:08 pm

spoken like a man who just got burned by a church over unclear or changing expectations, len!

Comment by marko 09.12.05 @ 2:13 pm

I wouldn’t be so quick to judge the staff with the attitude that they deserve to be there if they took the job. I waited tables for almost a year while searching for my first church. By the end of it, after close calls, disappointments, frustrations, doubts (if God wanted me to be a youth pastor … wouldn’t I be one by now?), I was pretty frustrated. Which is part of the reason why I said yes and rushed into a church where I saw some red flags … but I was so relieved to finally be wanted by a church that I figured God would work it out later. Instead, I got burned.

The pastor is the problem, the attitude is dispicable … and I feel for the staff that ended up under him.

Comment by Matthew McNutt 09.12.05 @ 3:33 pm

This is one of the most absurd approaches to ministry I’ve ever heard. Personally, I think I would have gone with the vomit response.

Comment by Roger N Overton (Murdock of The A-Team) 09.13.05 @ 1:30 am

marko, could it possibly be from that place that i’m thinking of???? i can’t decide wether i feel like spewing the cuss words in my head or what i had for dinner…

Comment by sevita 09.14.05 @ 1:24 am

Marko, your self restraint is admirable!

Maybe one of his staff will start a ‘cultural observation’ ministry where they sit in the mall, count the people as they go by, and rake in the cash.

Comment by mike 09.14.05 @ 10:29 am

Performance-Based Salaries for Pastors

I seem to be on a Mark Oestreicher roll this week (actually, I’ve just been catching up on my RSS feeds), but I stumbled across another great entry: Worst Church Idea of the Month Award: A pastor said to me that he loves to try new things. And the thi…

Trackback by Church Marketing Sucks 10.08.05 @ 10:16 pm

While I have nothing against mega-churches, that is just so wrong. First of all, we want people to feel like people, and not just numbers, or notches in a belt.

Secondly, who actually likes to go shopping at stores whose employees work on commission? This is basically the situaion that performance-based ministry pay creates, because if every church did this, we’d be clamoring over each other, trying to pull as many bodies in the door as possible.

This negates the way Jesus operated, with the twelve, who in turn went on to impact the world.

Comment by Nathan Smith 10.09.05 @ 12:58 am

Hmmm…can you say Amway??? I knew you could.

And they thing Harry Potter is a threat to the church!


Comment by Eric 10.09.05 @ 5:34 pm

Good Idea?: Pastors Pay Based on Performance

I came across this from the Church Marketing Sucks blog. Well, since I am a pastor (by profession for a bit now), this hits right at home. I think that to judge a pastor’s pay by numbers is indeed a

Trackback by Rich Kirkpatrick's Weblog 10.09.05 @ 6:25 pm

[…] t got this tidbit of info off a favorite site of mine, Church Marketing Sucks. It is from Mark Oestreicher’s blog. Worst Church Idea of the Month an pastor said to me that he loves to try new thin […]

Pingback by Captive Thoughts » Woah…but at least he’s honest 10.09.05 @ 8:30 pm

Small church pastors get paid less than big church pastors right? If you only have experience with a small church you’re not going to get hired to Pastor a big church and your salary is going to be lower.

We already pay based on performance; this guy is just making it known. How many of you who pastor a small church now would get a raise if your church grew? How many of you would leave if you didn’t?

That is what I thought…

Comment by Shawn Raloff 10.10.05 @ 12:13 pm

I think it would depend actually, Shawn.

I guess I just look at things like, am I being compensated fairly? What is the church income and ability for compensation? How is this church treating me otherwise?

In my previous call, I had a stronger attendance in our youth ministry, but compensation was less. (the attendance at youth and young adult groups was equal to about half of worship attendance) People were pleased with my ministry, but compensation was not completely based on performance.

But you are probably right that if a church has the ability to compensate, but does not, I see that as an issue of how the church feels about my value to them.

Comment by Clint Walker 10.10.05 @ 8:07 pm

holy crap.

Comment by aaron 10.11.05 @ 8:22 pm

Well if that works maybe we should have membership fees for church, that would make people want to put more in so they could get more out. or we could just pay them to come.

Comment by Ryan 11.05.05 @ 2:56 pm

I worked for a pastor who had the same philosophy. I think that it is a control issue more than a way to motivate someone.

Comment by Ed 12.20.05 @ 3:35 pm

no one knows that mans heart but god him self maybe he is greedy maybe he ant true to the cause maybe he is selfish or maybe he is at the end of his rope for options to bring the flock in or maybe he is that determand to get the gospal out no one knows his true reason for what he said but him and the lord but who are we to judge him let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Comment by jolynn 04.20.06 @ 2:30 pm

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