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Compensation Survey and Report Tutorial


Click here to watch Sutton’s tutorial

By Sutton Turner - COO, Vanderbloemen

Last Updated: August 29, 2020

For a Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor, or Church Board, there is no greater stewardship decision than compensation for your church staff. At most churches, 45-65% of the church’s budget is compensation. Given that compensation is a substantial part of your church’s budget, we here at Vanderbloemen are offering our Vanderbloemen and ChristianTeams clients access to a free compensation analysis database with information from 2,600+ churches and Christian organizations. 

As a former Executive Pastor, and now COO of a Christian organization that has been given compensation information with very few data points, I know how a compensation survey can be manipulated to increase pastors’ salaries, which is not good stewardship. Thus, the quality of the data in a compensation survey is critical. Over the past 18 months, our team at Vanderbloemen has been building a compensation database using the Executive Searches and compensation analyses that we have completed over the last ten years. 

Now we are ready to roll this out to our clients for free. Here’s a guide to walk you through the process and ensure you’re able to make the most of this free tool.

How to Navigate the Compensation Survey:

Once you receive the survey and click on your link, you can navigate through the pages using the tabs at the top of the page or by using the next buttons at the bottom of the page. While we understand the survey is long, the depth of information we receive allows us to provide you with such accurate, strong data. Furthermore, the only way to receive a benefits analysis is to fill out the questions surrounding benefits. Compensation Survey ExampleIt may not be possible to finish filling out the survey in one sitting. If that is the case, you can save your work at the bottom of the page and return to it using the same link you will receive in your email. 

Please note that all links are unique, and sharing your link with someone will not allow them to access their own compensation report, but rather it will change the information you provide on your survey and report. 

After you finish your initial analysis, you are able to reuse your links to get an analysis of different roles in your church without having to fill out the entire survey again.

What You Will Receive After Completing the Survey:

After you’ve completed filling out the survey, our team will send you a PDF showing where your church’s compensation falls in comparison to other churches with similar sizes and budgets. This information is already adjusted to account for the cost-of-living in your church’s area. 

Compensation Analysis Example

If you fill out the survey including all of the benefits information, then you will receive data and pie charts to compare your benefits with other churches and Christian organizations. You’ll be able to see how your church compares to similar churches and use that information to make important compensation decisions.

Sabbatical Comparison Chart

Furthermore, after filling out the survey one time, you can submit it as many times as you’d like to get compensation data on the other roles within your organization. 

Understanding the Compensation Report Data:



When you complete a compensation form, you will receive a report with two charts. The first chart shows where your organization’s compensation for a specific position lies in regard to other organizations with similar attendance. The second chart shows where your organization’s compensation for a specific position lies in regard to other organizations with similar budgets. It is important to note that this data has already been adjusted to account for the cost of living in your area.

When looking at your data, you should take into account your organization’s personal story. For example, if your pastor’s compensation lies in the 15th percentile it does not necessarily mean the pastor is underpaid. Similarly, if your pastor’s compensation lies in the 65th percentile it does not necessarily mean the pastor is overpaid. Rather, it is important to look at this data through the lens of your specific organization. If this is your pastor’s first time being a lead pastor it makes sense that they would not be compensated as the same as someone who has been the head pastor of the church for 30 years. If however, your pastor of 30 years is in the 15th percentile, it is probably time to reevaluate their compensation. 

Compensation is a stewardship decision that comes from those who govern your organization. Our compensation reports are based on real data that shows where your organization falls in regards to other organizations of similar budgets and sizes. We hope this data allows you to be a good steward of your organization’s resources and helps you make important compensation decisions.

The Data You'll Receive

This data will serve as a tool you can use to understand how your church’s compensation (salary + benefits) compares to other churches. The analysis will use 50 data points to show the range in compensation based on both size and budget of your church. 

Compensation Analysis Example

We may not have 50 data points available yet for some roles. In this case, you’ll be provided with as many data points as possible. When interpreting your results, it’s important to keep in mind the number of data points and the range of the data. If you have a large range with few data points, this analysis may not help understand compensation for a specific role in your church. 

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Remember, however, the more people who fill out this survey, the more information we will have, and therefore the more accurate data you will receive. If your PDF is not super helpful when you first fill out the survey, give it some time and try again. Over time, our data will become more useful and accurate as we acquire more data points.

We here at Vanderbloemen are excited to get to provide you with this free compensation report. Thank you for trusting Vanderbloemen and ChristianTeams to help in your staffing decisions.