“I didn’t get in this for the money.” You’ve said that to a few people over the years, and you’ve said it to yourself more than few times too! And while you didn’t get into youth ministry for the money, it would be nice to make a little bit more of it along the way. But asking for a raise is scary stuff. Last week we talked about dealing with angry parents, and my hunch is you’d rather deal with a hornet’s nest full of helicopter moms than ask your church for a pay increase. I hope your church will always be generous with you…but if you decide it’s time to make the ask, these tips may make the conversation little less scary.
Know What You’re Worth
Do some research before the meeting. What do similar youth positions in your area pay? What do other people with your education and experience make? Has the ministry grown under your leadership? Have you taken on any additional responsibilities at the church? Is your “stock” high?
Know How Much You Want
The reason it’s important to know what you’re worth is so you know what a realistic raise might look like. It may not be possible to get it all at once, but don’t be afraid to share what you know you’re worth, and suggest steps to help get you there.
Consider The Timing
Like many things in life; timing is everything and there are good times to ask for a raise. For example:
– A couple of months before the new budget year.
– When there is a lot of positive church momentum overall.
– When you have some recent, tangible, things you can point to that show the youth ministry is heading in positive direction.
Avoid The Potholes
There are certain things to avoid when asking for a raise; stuff that may doom your request on the spot. For instance:
– Your problems aren’t their problems! You don’t deserve a raise because you bought a new car and have to pay for it. You don’t deserve a raise because your wife wants to work part-time. You don’t deserve a raise because your mortgage interest rate just went up. Don’t bring this type of stuff up because your problems are not the problems of your employer.
– Avoid empty threats. Don’t say something like, “I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay here much longer.” Unless you are prepared for them to take you up on the offer to not stay here much longer!
– Don’t get emotional. Anger, frustration, begging, cussing, throwing things etc.
Be Prepared To Hear “No”
It’s highly likely that your request will be denied. They may provide logical reasons…or they may not. You might get an immediate, face-to-face answer, or you may get an email a couple weeks later. Be prepared for a “no” because it’s a very real possibility.
Unless you are specifically told asking for a raise is not welcomed in your setting, thank them for taking the time to hear you out, accept the “no” graciously…and put an “X” on your personal calendar for 9 months later to ask again!
Some churches purposely take advantage of their staff, but most don’t. And even though a “no” answer is a real possibility…so is a “yes”! So, if you have done your homework and know that you deserve a pay increase, don’t be afraid to ask.
Any other tips?
– Kurt / @kurtjohnston