Catholic church

Valuing Ministry: Knowing Your Worth

I recently asked a friend, what was one of her biggest pet peeves in ministry, and she said, "It's when people make ministry the excuse behind why their value is diminished." Her comment gave me pause because I've realized over the years how much I've heard people say:

  • "I don't need to get paid a lot because I'm in ministry."
  • "I work odd and long hours because I'm in ministry."
  • "We're not going to have the resources we need because we're in ministry."
Serving in ministry involves sacrifice, and there are limitations; however, it is not at the expense of our integrity and value as ministry leaders. When it comes to serving in ministry, Code of Canon Law tells us:
Lay persons who devote themselves permanently or temporarily to some special service of the Church are obliged to acquire the appropriate formation which is required to fulfill their function properly. (Code of Canon Law 231)

The paragraph continues:

Lay persons have the right to decent remuneration appropriate to their condition so that they are able to provide decently for their own needs and those of their family. They also have a right for their social provision, social security, and health benefits to be duly provided. (Code of Canon Law 231)

The bottom line is that those working in ministry need to be supported and appropriately resourced. All of this should make sense, but what does not is how we, as a Church, don't follow through on these expectations.

While there needs to be a lot of systematic change to the way that we form and support lay persons who dedicate their lives to the Church, there are a few things we can do in the short term, starting with:


Whether you are looking for a new ministry job or interested in a pay increase, it's critical to know your value as an employee. A few things you have to take into consideration are:

The Title and Responsibility of Your Role - In other words, are you a director, a coordinator, or an associate? All of those things mean different things because they involve different responsibilities. Typically, a director has employees that he or she manages. An associate is responsible for a ministry, but when it comes to multiple ministries, they become a coordinator. As you can imagine, the more responsibility you hold in your position, the more valuable your role.

The Market Value of Your Ministry - Most dioceses should have guidelines for the pay range and benefits of your position. However, it's likely that in many places, these roles are still undervalued. If that's the case, look at other industries with similar positions. Is your job comparable to a non-profit volunteer coordinator? Do you function more like a teacher? Once you've figured out what to compare your position to, then research different employment sites (e.g., ZipRecruiter) to see what they are saying.

The Return On Investment (ROI) For Your Position - This might be a little trickier to figure out in ministry, but what would happen if your position did not exist? Would fewer people come to the church? Would the giving towards the parish decrease? While you might not be able to look at the parish's giving, you could base it off of programmatic costs versus income brought in by registration fees. While looking at the church as a business is difficult for some, it is good to know the value of each position at the parish.


You might not have the budget to go to conferences or sign up for coaching, but you do have time. Even if you are a volunteer, you should set aside time to learn and care for yourself. To do that properly, have designated time to shut it down. Know when your workday ends and when it begins. Granted, there is always crossover, but it should not be at the detriment of your spiritual life, family time, or physical and mental wellbeing.

One way to improve time management is to strengthen your leadership skills. Read a book, listen to a podcast, and, if possible, invest financially in your professional development (Have you checked out MYM Premium yet? Click HERE). It might feel like a sacrifice to take the time or money to learn, but you'll be able to increase your capacity and the margin you need to be healthy while leading.


I believe the reason so many people stay in ministry despite the lack of support is that they feel as if they are failing the Church. The only person the Church needs is Jesus. We have to remind ourselves of that Truth, or else we place ourselves at the center. While I would love to see an increase in lay ecclesial ministry, I've met so many people who are doing the work of the Church in a variety of ways.

Remember that you can preach the Good News and bring others the love of God through any type of job or career path. You can invite others to know Christ through the ways you interact with others both personally and professionally. And if you are worried about what will happen to your parish ministry if you walk away, remember that God has His plan, and that's what matters most.

The reason knowing that you can do God's work outside of the parish is important is that it should liberate you. When you feel like you've got nothing to lose, it's a lot easier to push boundaries and think outside of the box. Don't be afraid to go all in, knowing that God is done with you when He says it. You'll not only do amazing things but also rediscover the joy of what He's called you to do.

There is a lot of work we have to get done in the Church to better care for her employees. We have to have some difficult conversations at the local and national level. At Marathon Youth Ministry, we're having that conversation through The Church Podcast, and we're also working with diocesan and parish leaders to build systems of care.

You don't have to put up with poor support or a lack of resources because you are in ministry. Your health and joy are just as important as the work. While there is much to do in the life of the Church, we need to ensure people experience God's joy while doing it.

Similar posts

Get notified on blog posts, updates and all things MYM

Be the first to know about new happenings from Marathon Youth Ministry Inc, from blog posts, to webinars and professional development opportunities.