Chances are that you generally have a strong idea of where you are musically, artistically, technically, spiritually, etc. You know where you excel. You know under what conditions you do your best work. You know the areas in which you can grow. And you probably even know what particular activities are a complete waste of your time. Let’s step beyond that for a bit.
Do you know what would need to happen to take your program to the next level? Are there particular people you can talk to? Is there a network that you can tap to fill up holes holding you back? What particular investments can you make in yourself to level up?
What does the church need to live into its mission? How can you take steps to make that happen with your worship program? What can you bring to it that no one else can? What level of training or insight do you have that sets these things up to come together? How many hours will it take to do the work? How many people do you have to get plugged in? Who do you need to train?
And how much is all of this worth?
If you are doing something of note beyond just whatever needs to get done by next Sunday, chances are that the church is not paying you what you’re worth. Yes, there are churches where that is all they want. If that’s your church, then that’s fine. They’re probably paying you Shit, but if you’re doing the bare minimum possible week to week, then Shit is probably what you’re worth. Just make sure that it’s a fully-formed turd and not diarrhetic, because that is just plain nasty and you’re just feeding the church’s – read the pastor’s – entitlement mentality.
If the church wants the world – 50 person chorale, three all-volunteer worship bands, bell choir, drum troupe, and foreign languages – and has you doing all the setup and training and is paying $1000 a month, then a.) the budget is unrealistic, b.) the time expectation is unrealistic, and c.) grow some fucking balls and quit letting them walk all over you.
Don’t get me wrong. I get it. Every time the church hires someone, it does a song and dance about how “there’s a limited budget.” That’s their problem, not yours. Where they place their money shows you where their priorities really are. If they want you to spend all the time and mental energy and pay you peanuts, that shows how little they value you, your work, and your time.
Look… I gave my services and expertise at a 75% discount to get a new church startup off the ground. Once I recruited the people and laid the groundwork, they were already hunting my replacement who didn’t want to and didn’t know how to do the work. Sure, I’m the one sitting home during a pandemic that is now killing 3000 Americans a day, but I have the satisfaction of knowing they fucked themselves over and don’t even realize it. While it still hurts, I thank God that it all went down before I kicked off the second stage of what I had planned.
Don’t get me wrong. The way I was used was shitty. It was my fault for letting them do it. It was my fault for thinking “Hey… I’ll prove my worth by doing kick-ass shit and they’ll reward me accordingly.” Nope. They got masters level work paying amateur prices. They didn’t value it. They didn’t value me. Hell… At my “exit interview”, Shithead even tried to manipulate me to take a subservient role in the band I recruited and founded to my former ministry partner and my replacement. (Never mind using the infrastructure and processes that I had set into place.)
Know what you’re worth. Know what you bring to the table. Know what you laid on the table. And don’t give them jack shit if they aren’t going to commit to you. If they won’t commit to you, that means they don’t value you. It’s a waste of your time and energy.