The economy is doing great, have you noticed? The market is up and unemployment is near record lows. Finding someone to hire for just about any job is a challenge. With such low unemployment, you could argue we are reaching a labor shortage where there are not enough workers for the available jobs. A roaring economy like this also impacts the church. It can be difficult to find staff at all levels when there are so few employees available. Even if churches are able to compete with corporate salaries the pool of people to hire from continue to shrink. While this affects hiring pastors, support staff, custodial, facilities, secretaries, admins, etc. for the purposes of this discussion, and since this is Ministry Tech, let’s focus on tech staff. By tech staff, we are talking about information technology, audio/visual, sound and lighting techs, programmers, web design, social media, and other geeks. Are you an IT pro? Maybe Information Technology Ministry is for you.
I was talking recently with a project manager at a large technology-consulting firm that primarily serves the corporate and government sectors. He was telling me the challenges he is facing hiring engineers, programmers, and IT support staff. One project he is working on requires 15 additional programming engineers. He’s been looking for a year and has only found three. When he does find and hire an engineer, it is a struggle to maintain them because there are so many other job opportunities for more money and better benefits making retention difficult. And this is out in the real world.
There are clear differences between working in ministry and working in the corporate world. A good economy makes those differences greater. Recent salary surveys and studies show for technology jobs most churches are competing pretty well on the salary level, and trailing a bit on the benefits level. The biggest difference tends to be the workload. The salary may be the same but the workload is significantly different.
While making the same amount of money, the corporate job is only about [a] quarter the work of the ministry job. Obviously, there are exceptions, especially for higher-level corporate jobs and C-Suite type officers but I’ve worked with several folks lately who have left ministry, made the same amount of money in the corporate world, while enjoying significantly less work. This makes hiring in the church world even more challenging.
So why are we talking about this? Two reasons. First, I’m dealing with this now. I have job openings on our technology teams I’m struggling to fill. While I can compete on salary and even do better in most cases on benefits, I can’t compete on workload. Second, I’m not alone. I know of many churches and ministries who are desperate for trained technology staff and unable to find them.
There is no doubt working in ministry is different, and requires a person who wants to serve the King first. With the economy thriving, we need folks called to ministry who are willing to work hard for an eternal reward. Many are [hesitant] to work at a ministry, not because they will make less money, but because the job often requires more.
To those who God has gifted with skills in the areas we are talking about, let me implore you to consider serving in ministry. We need you! God has given you gifts and abilities and there may be opportunities around you to put them to use in a vocational fashion at a church or ministry. Don’t be afraid of hard work and laying up treasures in heaven. The economy is good, there is no doubt but don’t hide behind that as a reason not to use your skills in vocational ministry.
For those struggling to fill jobs at your church or ministry, have faith. God promises to take care of all our needs and I believe that includes hiring technology staff. God cares about the sparrow, knows the number of hairs on our head, and will provide the geeks. They are out there. The good news is in many cases you aren’t offering a pay reduction to serve at a church. The bad news is those folks may need some mentoring and discipleship.
There is no doubt ministry is not for everyone. My encouragement to you is to consider it. Whether at a church near you or maybe at one I know in Lafayette, IN, (click on my name at the top of the article for my contact info). I’m thankful for a good economy. I’m thankful unemployment is low and I’m thankful God will take care of our needs and the needs of His church. Maybe you are part of His plan.