Saturday, May 12, 2018
Hey Fletch … I’m a church planter. We have a part-time pastor on our staff. Her husband makes a good living and we would love to pay her more. However, as a starter church, our budget is so, so tight. I can’t bring her to full-time status. She is already putting in more hours than we are paying her for and I fear that she may burn out. Thoughts?
DRF—The good news for you is that as a licensed, commissioned or ordained pastor, she is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and overtime pay. Since she has the title of “pastor,” I’m assuming that she is commissioned by your new governing board. If she is not licensed, commissioned or ordained, get on that asap!
The other piece of good news is that this pastor has “owned the church vision.” She is implementing it well and loves it. You want staff who “buy in” and will invest into the new church. That is a huge win!
The bad news is that she may burn out. This happens in churches everyday. Pastors are committed to Jesus, the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. They are so driven for spiritual impact that they often lack adequate time boundaries.
Here’s an idea. Why don’t you take the pastor and her husband to dinner. It is important to include the spouse in the discussion. Talk about the number of hours that she is working, the impact on her family and the fact that you sense that she may burn out. Discuss reasonable expectations for her role. Listen to her husband and his concerns. Ensure that she is taking at least one day in seven off, completely away from ministry issues. Shape the conversation as a pastoral care issue. You deeply care for her and her family. Plus, you want to retain her at the church.
If left unresolved, she may burn out and resign from the church. One Sunday she may not show up and never be seen again. By being proactive and framing a spiritual discussion with her, you can help prevent this.