This is the 12th out of 12 posts from my series of reflections on Jeff Goins new book Real Artists Don’t Starve. It really hit a nerve in my life and I wanted to express those thoughts to you, the artists, the local youth workers who work so hard to accomplish what God has gifted you do in your own artistic way.
If this is your first time here, and you want to start from the beginning, you can click here for the first post, Real Youth Pastors Don’t Starve, otherwise, read on.
Mine is a cautionary tale to young youth workers seeking to please God. I hope, after these 12 posts, you’ve come to realize that you are an artist and what you do is valuable to God. At the end of day, realize that YOU and only YOU, not the local body you serve, is going to make the best decisions for your life. I almost realized this too late.
Let’s continue with the the tale.
I have never asked how much a job pays until I was hired. Crazy? Maybe. but the calling was more important than the pay check. It sounded crazy even as I was typing it. It may be one of the reasons I’m in the position I’m in financially today.
I’m not broke, but I’m not rolling in money. But, how many youth workers do you know rolling in money? If you see one, call the cops because something bad is going on.
In my 30’s and 40’s I wish I was more ambitious to get paid what I thought I was worth instead of just taking the job because I thought it was the right thing to do or God’s will. It may have been both or neither, but I wished I had negotiated better or at all.
It’s hard to look back and say I was wrong though. Every place I’ve worked (or the two years I was unemployed) God has taken care of me and my family, but I have dreams and goals now that could have been funded by making better decisions
Money isn’t that important when you are young and stupid. We want the experience, the thrill of the chase. I certainly got that and more but one of the downfalls of youth is its inability to look into the future and see who you want to be and how much you’d like to be making when you get there.
This past Sunday I spoke with a young man who had started a speaking ministry and then became a youth pastor. After a year, he was let go because he was made to choose between the ministry he had started and the job he had. This wasn’t a fair choice, if that’s how it went down. This kid has dreams and was made to choose between them. The money he was making as a youth pastor was helping him build his dream, his art.
In his book Real Artists Don’t Starve, Jeff shares this principle,
The Starving Artist despises the need for money. The Thriving Artist makes money to make art – Jeff Goins
When youth pastoring was my dream it was to pay the bills, but now it funds my next dream of training and coaching youth workers. My job pays for
- my SoundCloud account where I post my podcast
- this website to be hosted
- the store where I post my resources.
It takes money to create and produce. Money serves the art I make not the other way around.
If you have dreams beyond youth pastoring or, like me, dreams of staying in youth ministry without the youth pastoring, it will take money. Consider the money you need to make to eventually
- build the boys home you want
- go on the mission field
- starts a training ministry
- open a bakery
Who knows the dreams God has placed in your heart (well, you do) but all those dreams will require money. How will you fund your dream? Here are a few ideas
Care about what a church is paying you.
As much as you want that job, don’t sell yourself short. Don’t just take the job because it seems like it’s the only church that wants you. Be prayerful and be patient. Make sure the church you work at values you and pays you accordingly. Negotiate your salary from the beginning (based on your needs) and then at three, five, and ten years.
Trade money for time
If a church cannot pay you what you are worth (and most cannot or will not) make sure you trade money for time. Don’t let a church pay you part time and work you full time. Make sure you negotiate the time you need to work on the other dreams or passions you have which will either pay your bills or fund your dreams.
If youth ministry/pastoring is your dream, make sure the church understands that and ask them for ways they can help make full time ministry a reality.
Don’t give away your dream for the sales pitch of “experience” or “opportunity”
Start something on the side
Take some something you already love, and are pretty darn good at, and make something of it. Try to do things that are in your wheelhouse and doesn’t conflict with the money making job.
My prayer for you is that you have as long a youth ministry career that you’d want. My prayer also is that that you don’t sacrifice future dreams and goals because you settled. Do all you can to serve the body you serve well but don’t be afraid. to work on your dreams while you do it.
Be prayerful, wise, and prudent about money, salaries, and negotiations. Don’t be greedy or over-inflate your capabilities to get a job, keep a job, or to get more money. Money is simply a means and not the end and money is certainly not worth fighting over.
God has taken care of my needs for 27 years through good decisions and terrible decisions I’ve made that had an adverse impact on my family. He took care of me and He will take care of you. Just be smarter than I was.
Jeff offers this last bit of advice and it seems fitting to leave you with.
money is the means to making art, but it must never be the master. – Jeff Goins
If you would like to help fund my dream of helping youth workers on a full time basis, check out my Patreon page and get some goodies in the process.