This conversation will focus on best practices when negotiating your salary package. We will discuss what to do, what not to do, and how to read the situation.

Now Playing: Keys To Negotiating Your Salary Package​​

Key Takeaways

After you watch the video above, read through these key takeaways that will help guide and reinforce the main points you just viewed…

  • Many people fear the prospective church will retract the job offer if they ask for better pay. 
  • It is never wrong to ask for fair compensation, and if you don’t ask for it, you likely won’t receive it.
  • Truth: Many churches are usually taking a stab in the dark
    • What they paid their last person
    • What they pay other people on staff (banded)
    • They want the right employee for the least cost

Your negotiating power is strongest from the time that an employer wants to hire you until the time you accept the position. Do your negotiating within that window of time.

  • Most churches have some leeway. Usually somewhere between 5-10k
  • If the offer is really low—say, $10,000 less than expected or hoped—it’s best to walk away. “They are not lowballing you $10,000.”
  • Use Matt’s strategy when talking about compensation so that you start on the same page.
  • Use win/win language: “I appreciate your job offer. I am excited about the church and love the community. It seems like a great fit for my family and me. I'm wondering if you could come up to $XXX per year?" 
  • “As we look to own a home and set up roots”
  • "My dog is already scoping out trees" (That line always kills!)
  • Always start with the cash portion (that’s where future raises will come from). 
  • Salary
  • FICA
  • Paid Vacation Time
  • Housing Allowance
  • Moving Expenses
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Retirement/401k Contributions
  • K-12 Christian School Tuition
  • Mention Side-Gigs
  • Education/Conferences
  • Cell Phone Reimbursement
  • Gym Membership
  • Work-Related Travel
  • Books and Supplies
  • The clock starts ticking when you start negotiating salary. You’ve already kind of crossed the line from ‘candidate’ to ‘employee’
  • David Fletcher:  “The best place to get fired is in the interview… The worst place to get fired is as an angry new employee.”
  • It’s best to have these final discussions in person or on the phone.  NEVER through social media or email.
  • Attitude is everything. Entitlement will get you nowhere. They will sniff that out.

Additional Resources

We’ve assembled some great supplemental learning tools that will help you in your search for a healthy, long-term fit for your staff team.  All of these exclusive Chemistry Staffing resources are available for free download for you and your search team.

Here are a few things we recommend churches consider as they approach the salary conversation with their team members.  This will give you some fresh perspective from the church’s point of view.

Your Presenters

Todd Rhoades

Todd has invested over 30 years in serving churches, having served as a worship pastor for over 15 years, a church elder for more than a decade, and in various ministry leadership roles in both the business and non-profit sectors. As the original founder and developer of, Todd fundamentally changed the way thousands of churches search for pastors and staff on the internet. Todd served for over a decade as a Director with Leadership Network, providing him exposure to the innovative trends in today’s church and inside knowledge of how healthy churches operate. A graduate of Cedarville University, Todd lives in Bryan, OH with his wife, Dawn.

Matt Steen

Matt has served the local church for over two decades as a youth pastor, church planter, and executive pastor. Originally from Baltimore, Matt currently lives in the Orlando, FL area with his wife Theresa, and has a B.S. in Youth Ministry from Nyack College and an M.Div. and MBA from Baylor University. Certified as an Urban Church Planter Coach by Redeemer City to City and as a StratOp facilitator by the Paterson Center, Matt has made a career of helping churches thrive through intentionality, clarity, and creating healthy cultures. He is convinced that a healthy church is led by a healthy team with great chemistry, and loves partnering with Chemistry’s churches to do great things for the Kingdom.

Need Additional Help With Your Search?

Check out these additional resources from our partners at

Our video critique will take a look at your current resume and give specific recommendations to make drastic improvements. We’ll critique your resume based on our 20 resume benchmarks:

Ministry Stability | Ministry Experience | Current Employment | Employment Consistency | Education Level | Ministry Sustainability | Employment Timeline | Stage of Life | Family Dynamics | Online Presence | Picture Quality | Humbleness Quotient | Resume Presentation | Cover Letter | Video/Work Sample | Grammar and Spelling | Font Treatment | Contact Effectiveness | Resume File Format

We’ll compare your current resume against our 20 resume benchmarks. You’ll gain the knowledge to drastically improve your resume in 24 hours or less.

We’ll go over your Resume Self-Assessment step-by-step in our one-hour call together. We’ll discuss each of our 20 resume benchmarks along with specific recommendations to make your resume better. After you make the suggested edits to your resume, we’ll provided video feedback with any follow-up items

One-on-one mentoring during your transition will make a huge difference. You’ll have a trusted partner and confidant to work with your throughout the search process. We’ll dive into areas that are important to YOU…

Should I Say or Go? | Rediscovering/Clarifying Your Calling | Determining Your Best Fit | Resume Advice | Interview Preparation | Salary Negotiation
On-Site Visit Preparation | Family Health and Relationships | Literally Anything Transition-Related!