Month: March 2023

How to Have Better Conversations With Your Senior Leader

10 Guidelines for Paying and Hosting Guest Speakers and Musicians

How to Have Better Conversations With Your Senior Leader

If you are a children’s pastor, youth director, or next-gen leader, chances are you have asked yourself some version of the following questions.

How do I help my senior leader understand my vision?

Is there a way to get my senior leader to agree with me on this decision?

How do I get my senior leader to see things my way?

Part of leading a next-gen ministry is leading up to your senior leadership, so how do you have better conversations with your senior leader?

1) Think about the bigger picture.

Just like there are elements or dynamics of your job that your senior leadership may not fully understand, there are also elements of your pastor’s job that you may not be aware of or fully understand. It’s easy to look at your pastor and wonder why they made a particular decision. But other dynamics may be playing into that decision. Your senior pastor may be managing board dynamics, staffing issues, or budget restrictions. By understanding that they have to see the whole picture while you carry your ministry’s vision, you’ll be able to build a bridge and have better conversations.

Before presenting a new idea, try asking yourself these questions.

If I were in their shoes and position, what dynamics would play into this decision?

What information will they need to know?

How does this decision affect the church as a whole?

You will earn points with your leader when you show that you have thought beyond just your ministry.


2) Ask, don’t demand.

When you present new ideas, try posing them as questions. Use phrases like, “Would it be possible to” or “Would you be open to.” By asking questions instead of making demands, you start the conversation with less tension and leave more room to discuss the idea.


3) Try it as an experiment.

If you are making a significant change, ask for a trial period. Offer to try it for a few months and then re-evaluate if it doesn’t work. Not only does this demonstrate flexibility, but it also makes the decision less overwhelming.


4) Give your leader time.

Remember, there may be other dynamics that affect this decision. Your pastor may even have to run the decision by a board, elders, or other staff. By giving them time to think about it, they can make better decisions and will most likely feel more positive about the conversation in general.

Written By Carey Nieuwhof
Article taken from here.

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What to Look for in a New Worship Pastor Job

You Can't Tell Me What to Wear!

Looking for a new worship pastor position at a new church? Things to consider:


In early 2014, I was working at a university and received an invitation to bring a team of students to a church in Colorado Springs. The trip went well. Eventually it led to my wife and I flying out to this church once a month. Every trip we would do training and lead worship on Sunday morning; which ended up lasting fifteen months. About halfway through our “consultation” period we began to sense that this church could very well be our next home. Sure enough, in the spring of 2015 we committed and moved that fall.

We had an ideal situation for choosing a next ministry destination:

(1) plenty of hours spent on the ground, (2) over a long period of time, (3) while engaging with congregants, staff, and the senior pastor. All of these factors gave us the opportunity to discern what it might be like to live, work, and worship with those people.

I doubt the slow process like this will ever happen like that again, but I’m grateful for it. Typically the timeline of “trying out” is more compressed, which on top of asking all the questions, makes it difficult to really grasp the culture of a church.

There are three groups of people that are important to engage with while auditioning for a new position.

Here I’ll share who they are and what kinds of things I’d be asking and listening for in times of engagement.

Senior Pastor / Senior Leadership

In most Evangelical or charismatic churches, the senior pastor is the key culture setter and decision maker. The first two questions I’d ask is: Who will your direct report be? And how directly involved will the senior pastor be in your department?

Obviously, the senior leader casts the overall vision, but some senior pastors have very generic, basic wishes for their worship leader and will be relatively uninvolved in your day-to-day operations. Other times – particularly if they are former worship leaders themselves – the senior leader will have very specific expectations down to weekly involvement in song selection, style, service flow, etc.

Some people work better with regular specific guidance. Others will hate it and feel micromanaged.

Let me be clear: neither is inherently right or wrong. You just don’t want to be three months in and have this blindside you.

Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions.

Are you being hired to be the primary worship or to build a great team?

Or are you being hired to be a production manager / creative director with the title “Worship Pastor”?

If it seems like there’s a lack of clarity from the senior leader, get more specific.

Ask things like:

How do you envision me spending the bulk of my time? Songwriting? Meeting with team members and volunteers? Praying and preparing solely for Sunday morning?

You need to know the Senior Pastor’s vision for you position & all of these questions will help you draw it out – despite what’s posted in the job description.

At the end of the day, if you feel like you can align with the vision that the senior leader casts for your position there’s a good chance you’ll be able to thrive. If not, you probably shouldn’t take the position even if the benefit package is fantastic.

Current Staff Members (Colleagues)

One of the greatest things the pastor did when we were auditioning was setting up time with other staff members, where he wasn’t there, with explicit permission to ask them anything we wanted. It revealed his security as a leader to trust employees to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the organization and not feel threatened by it. If you request this and it’s either denied or evaded then that might be a sign that the culture isn’t open and honest.

If you are able to get time with future colleagues, ask them what it’s really like to work there.

Is it common for things to change at the last minute with no rhyme or reason given?

Difficult to get vacations approved or what typically happens when personal requests are made?

Flexibility with office hours or is it more of a “clock in, clock out” environment?

When you’re asking these questions, do you sense fear or dishonestly in their answers?

Candidly, do they seem scared for their jobs? Or do they seem to have healthy relationships with their direct reports?

Lastly, inquire about the workplace expectations.

Does every little thing require approval?

Is there space to have open conversations and share disagreements with superiors?

This group can be the most tricky to get direct answers from, but if you ask good questions and pay attention you can learn a lot about how the organization really works.

The Volunteers in Your Area

Volunteers are choosing to attend and serve in this ministry; which is where you should expect to learn the best things about the church. They have nothing to lose! Weaknesses in the ministry are easiest to find out about from volunteers.

With volunteers I would ask questions like:

What drew you to this church and what has kept you here (you’d be surprised how often they’re not the same)?

Which areas of the church have you participated in and which areas seem to be the most healthy and life-giving?

Then I would ask them pointed questions about the worship ministry.

Do you feel like your voice is honored when you share thoughts, opinions, or suggestions?

How have you been treated when you’ve needed to take time off or request off for sickness?

Try and get a sense of any unspoken frustrations. Maybe there aren’t any – fantastic! That also speaks to the culture.

The most crucial thing to remember…

There are no perfect churches and we all know that. But there are churches who are honest with their imperfections and are pursuing Christlikeness together – then there are others who aren’t.

Ultimately, you want to be where God wants you to be. But, unless you sense a strong call from God, you don’t want to be in an unhealthy, stifling environment where fear and control pervade the culture. Engaging with these three groups of people can help you discern if this is that kind of place or not.

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Written By Jonathan Swindal
Article taken from
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Cost of Living Differences Matter in Salary Negotiations!

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Cost of Living Differences Matter in Salary Negotiations!

If you find yourself looking for a new position in a higher or lower cost of living location, you want to make sure you come with the right tools when it comes to salary negotiations. Now more than ever, candidates hold what seems to be the majority of the cards during these negotiations, but you still need facts to back you up! As a Co-Founder of Froot Group Staffing, a church staffing company, I have been involved in many salary negotiations and I want to share with you a few things that may help you if you find yourself in this situation in the near future.

  1. Know Your Worth

This is the first measure you need to identify before factoring in the cost of living differences. In my opinion, your worth is not based on how much debt you have, whether or not your spouse works, or how many kids you have. Your worth is based solely on what YOU can bring to the table. Sure those other factors may cause you to make different decisions when it comes to finding the right job, but having more responsibility on your plate means you need to bring more to the table if you want to be worth more to an organization that is willing to hire you.

Education, years of experience, the quality of experience you have had in the past, staff you have overseen, ability to relate and connect with people, and other competencies are all factors that organizations will look at when factoring your worth. Knowing the results of some of these factors will help you (and the organization) determine what you are worth paying.

  1. Moving Up

I always receive questions from candidates I speak to about whether it is alright to move up in salary when transitioning from one place to the next. We always need to check our heart on this before diving into justifying it to ourselves, but in short I believe the answer is yes. Many organizations are not actively keeping up with inflation year to year in giving their employees raises, so use this transition as an opportunity to correct your worth with how inflation has grown.

Our number one ministry we are called to take care of is our families, so as long as our increase is in line with what we believe our worth is and how inflation has affected that worth, then I believe our hearts are in the right place when asking for this increase. Remember, 1 Timothy 6:10 says “For the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil…”, not money in itself.

  1. Cost of Living Differences

Finally, this is the final factor in determining what salary number to present to the organization you are applying for. There are typically two different scenarios you will find yourself in. One, you are moving from a higher cost of living area to a lower cost of living area, or vice versa. Both can be difficult pills to swallow!

Housing costs are the largest factor in the cost differences, which often is driven by…you guessed it…location location location! If you are moving from Elkhart, IN to Miami, FL where the cost of living difference is around 53%, you can’t always expect a 53% increase in salary, because part of what you are “paying for” is the benefit of the location. Now you might look at that difference and say a 30% increase in salary is more reasonable, but maybe you’d need to find a house 20 minutes from your organization instead of 5 to expand your housing search.

I believe that the hardest move to make is from a higher cost of living area to a lower area. Making $80k in a city like Houston and a similar position in Canton, OH is going to equate to around $62k for a lateral move. However the same $400k house in Houston may translate to $250k in Canton, which is a HUGE difference and may actually give you more room in your budget after paying your mortgage. These are all factors to consider!

  1. Calculating Tools

The best tools I use to come up with some of these calculations are very simple to use. The first place I like to go to is to give me a general idea of the cost of living differences. The site allows you to put in your current city, future city, and current salary to give you a rough estimate of what your current salary should laterally translate to in your future city.

Zillow is the next place I go to. I always try to cross reference what is telling me the median home cost is with the actual types of homes I would consider purchasing through Zillow. Make sure those numbers align and adjust your cost of living differences as needed, though make sure your calculations are all lateral! Again, you’re not worth more because you want a larger house! is the final resource I typically use. This is one of the most robust tools because it calculates many factors, including the church specific position you are applying for. It does require a subscription, but many churches subscribe to this resource as well as search firms. If you become a Froot Group candidate, I would be more than happy to run a free report through for you!

Written by: Alex Purtell

Alex is a co-founder of Froot Group, a church staffing company, and a worship pastor at Lifepoint Church in Lewis Center, OH.

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