I jokingly said on Twitter the other day,
Every month @youthworkmag put a fake job advert in the back of the magazine. Can you tell what it is this month?
As far as I’m aware that’s a complete lie, but it sparked a discussion around what was reasonable to pay a youth worker as a salary, and that some churches seem to be advertising less than reasonable salaries. But what guidance is there to go on such a thing. Well, there are the JNC standards of employment (.pdf file), which if you take significant1 government money you are bound to keep and they come with pay scales (.xls file). You could use them, but they’re at the top end of things in terms of pay and some of the standards of employment are ridiculously favourable to the employee.
Alternatively you could ask what are the loving biblical principles we could apply as we seek to bring someone into our church family to help lead us minster to our young people. Paul writes “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’ “ (1 Timothy 5:17-18) If the principle is how can we pay our staff so we’re not hindering them in the ministry they’re doing, then do that. Here’s a good rule of thumb then:
Is this pay or compensation enough to allow the worker to live in the area they are ministering to?
This will vary from area to area and vary from church to church and even vary from person to person. It’s a rule of thumb too, it’s not a command and any employment should always be thought of from an attitude of grace, love, and reliance on Christ.
1 Technically if you take any government money you are considered under the scope of the JNC agreements. That includes “Persons employed as youth and community workers by voluntary organisations in receipt of a grant from local or central government or the Welsh Assembly Government.” What scope means, and how you define grant is probably something you’d have to talk to your grant providing council about.