who owes who?

I was talking to another youth pastor this week about his team structure. We started talking about the role of interns, and he told me that he doesn’t pay his. He said, “If we pay them, they owe us. But if they’re working for free, then we owe them.”

I’m not thinking about yanking the paychecks away from Katy, Blake or Erin (ok maybe Blake). But I am definitely compelled by that sort of leadership philosophy.

I’m always intrigued by backwards thinking, especially when it comes to leadership, evangelism, and personal hygiene.

11 thoughts on “who owes who?”

  1. I don’t think Erin is an intern. Basically everything about what she does, how she is paid, her title, her expectations etc. is totally different than an intern 🙂

    But I’m liking the philosophy of this guy…although there is the whole needing money for survival thing that might pose a problem for those interested in an internship.

  2. Many youth interns at other churches also raise their own support and treat the job like they are a missionary to students. I like changing it up too… but I’m grateful for the foundation that pays for two of our interns so they can focus on serving and not worry about being so busy with school and working at Starbucks that they really can’t invest time in ministry because of their other job.

  3. No, Erin isn’t an intern… bad example. She’s in a role that many churches fill with volunteers though. I, like Mike, am stoked that we aren’t one of those churches. That’s not the point though.

    I raised my own support for a long time when I was an intern. I didn’t work anywhere else. I just lived in a free room and drove a borrowed car. It’s possible. I’m gonna stop talking now before our intern money disappears.

  4. What if you pay them just enough to cover the cost of credits? Then do they kind of owe you and you kind of owe them?

    Currently we don’t pay any interns. Though we would love to develop a more competitive internship program.

    But I think the nature of an internship, paid or unpaid, is that the supervisor is pouring into the intern and not just having them make copies or refill coffee.

    Hey Mike (Fifty6 intern), go get me some more coffee!

  5. Jim- that’s about what we do pay them! I like what you’re saying. You guys have got a pretty big pool to fish from over there. Maybe that Rob guy should branch out and serve some 56’ers 😉

  6. Not paying interns seems to be based on the “we don’t want them to owe us” or “they work because they have to” mentality, but I don’t that. Is working for a church because you love ministry mutually exclusive of working for a church because it pays the bills? Is there anything wrong with the “they owe us” mentality?

    In the non-church-workplace, I feel like the best employees are the ones that have hugely bought into their jobs AND they are well taken care of. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. I say, find interns (or people like Erin who run the church) who love their job and who are amazing at it…AND pay them well!

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