Here we go again: take a new job that pays double or stay where I've been tremendously supported
  • Although I may gripe every now and then about my current position, I cannot stress enough how supportive my "work" church has been to me. The congregation is wonderful, the choir is wonderful, the pastor is completely supportive of our music ministry program and trusts us to do what we do with minimal interference.

    But the pay is really low...I was given word yesterday about a position that will come up in July or August, and it pays over twice the salary of my current job. I am so torn over this. I can't do both, unfortunately, otherwise I would!! Sigh..well, at the very least I can interview for it and see what these people are like. I hate that my financial situation is such that I would choose money over good people, it feels wrong.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    Welcome to, as a former supervisor often said in meetings, "the wonderful world of work." I wanted to strangle her every time she said it - LOL.

    I have never objected to being paid for music work, but it is good to have some backup in case things go sour. They seem to do that in many places involving church music. I understand missing good people, but dividend paying stocks can be really comforting on cold winter evenings. Redundancy can be a good thing where income is concerned.

    Do you have a good 'feel' for what the new job would be like, the working conditions, the people, and about the pastor?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,203
    What's awesome is you have the choice between two good things. That's an opportunity (although I realize it feels like a hassle).

    I agree with Charles, find out all you can about the new place.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • @CharlesW: I don't know anything about the place other than it's location, a wealthy, cushy little town just a bit west of me. A colleague and resident of said town gave the heads up on the job, and as it turns out we know some of the members there. I am going to give her a call and get more information. It's another Presbyterian church like the one I work at now, so no guess work on their music hopefully. I keep hoping a Catholic position will open up but no luck here so far.

    The other thing that is pushing me to consider it is the fact that the church I am at now is struggling to keep and grow its numbers. Another Presby church just around the corner from me closed its doors a few months ago, their attendance numbers were about what ours are now. The only thing keeping mine afloat are a few wealthy old timers, and once they are gone then what??? So knowing this, it feels foolish not to get myself into somewhere that is better off and I won't suddenly find myself unemployed. Sigh...
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    I understand. The original settlers in my region were Presbyterians. While many of those original churches have closed, some are so heavily endowed they keep operating. I visited one in a lovely old building with 25 people in attendance. They have the endowment to go on forever.

    Sounds like you need to be elsewhere, especially if you have to depend on the income from music.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • tlm4200
    Posts: 1
    I'm sorry to seem crass, but this would appear to be a no brainer. A failing church vs. a church that seems to be doing well. Hmm. Demographics march on. Our church used to be funded by wealthy old timers but they have died off and we're hurting. You can hang on to what's pleasant, but you also may do the old church a service by leaving. Some churches can be rescued if they wake up in time. If you are liked and respected, and they give you an exit interview, you can express your misgivings about the future of the church and their efforts (or not, as in the case of my church) to do anything about it.
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood CHGiffen
  • As CharlesW mentioned about church endowments, that is definitely keeping mine going. Our music program is also endowed, so my being there isn't necessarily hurting them. It does seem like a "no brainer" in some ways...well, we shall see what happens. As it turns out, the position is actually my colleague's husband's. They are moving away this summer. And it's not a Presbyterian church as I thought before, it's Methodist. Not sure what the difference is, musically speaking,
    but I was baptized and raised at my grandmother's Methodist church until I was about 12, so I think I can handle it lol!
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,398
    Not sure what the difference is, musically speaking ...

    A lot more John, Charles, and Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
  • A failing church vs. a church that seems to be doing well.


    That's simplistic, to say the least. Why is the Church congregation shrinking? Are the children growing up, and going to college? They may return and bring their spouses and children, once they have these. On the other hand, if the parish is merely hard up for money, what is being done about it? Are acts of reparation being offered, or is there a 'we need a wealthy donor' attitude? Worse yet, is the parish trying to be "relevant"?

  • I have found that smaller environments are usually more supportive than large management teams where there seem to be many power struggles.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,354
    I'm confused. Is the low-pay place that is very supportive and wonderful the same place about which you were so upset because you were being told to change your organ registrations?
  • @Adam Wood: Yes it is the same place. And yes I have issues with the director on occasion, who doesn't? And judging by others' experiences here, those issues are minor. Interestingly, she recently supported me when a member notorious for complaints emailed the pastor to complain that the organ was too loud. Does my patience run thin when dealing with a superior who isn't professionally trained? You betcha. But that's to be expected in this line of work, unfortunately. And I've learned a lot about how to deal with it.
  • @Chris: those are all great questions. Some of the problem is that the pastor is very laid back and tends to be a non-managing manager, letting others do things. The church is very active in its community, monthly pancake breakfasts, sponsoring 5K runs, events for children, a large after school care program, supports local musicians and is home base to a 60+ member community choir. And yet their attendance is scary low. It makes no sense, and we discuss why this is the case all the time. They haven't figured out how to attract people and I don't know why that is. It is a very traditional church, not really concerned with "relevance" at all. Some people think they should do more in that way, and we have lost some members to local "mega churches".
  • UPDATE: after all these months they finally replied with a request for an interview. I'm so torn right now it's awful. We are still dealing with the house selling nonsense and I've been working insane hours at my day job, and now this. The email said something like this:

    Sorry for the delay, we are now ready to begin interviewing candidates. Please prepare one piece for prelude and postlude, and "one SONG suitable for congregational singing, preferably in the United Methodist tradition." Song? Meaning hymn, right? Ugggggh.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    Methodists are lovely people and they tend to pay well. Except for some of the largest churches, my experience is you wont find traditional music as we know it being the everyday fare.
  • The salary is double my current one. They have two Sunday services, one "traditional" and one contemporary. Since I already do a pretty even mix of both at my current job, I'm sure it won't be a big issue. I guess I can just interview and see what happens. The trouble is that I've had all these months to think, pray, contemplate the whole thing, and it's really hard. Our yearly session meeting is in a few weeks and I want to discuss a raise since I've been there over two years now, agreed to start learning and playing organ as they asked me to, and while I know they cannot pay me what this other place can, if they can at least consider a raise and compensate me better for what I'm doing, I would stay.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • JesJes
    Posts: 544
    Ok so I had something similar crop up.

    Choice between moving into a new job with a free house running everything on my own with a really great priest who is very easy going for about 3x the pay with another full time job on offer.

    Or remain with a demanding but giving priest, my best friends in my parish and stay living at home.

    I found my solution this way.
    1. I talked to most people involved.
    2. I went to mass at both places to sense where I was more likely to make holy and good decisions.
    3. I prayed about it.
    4. A friend popped up as being a suitable candidate for the job for the next couple of years.
    5. I bought myself some time by recommending her.
    6. Since staying lots of things have happened and I'm glad I stayed, I think my friends won on this purely because they bring me closer to God.


  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 873
    one "traditional" and one contemporary

    I know this will sound ignorant, but - do they play organ at "contemporary" services? As far as I've been able to tell, that isn't normally the case.

    compensate me better

    I suppose the case could always be made that (assuming you are Catholic, and not just a musician in a Catholic church) there's already the benefit of not having to play 2 services and then also finding time for Mass - the compensation being that you are fulfilling your Sunday obligation at your current church, as opposed to at/where you would end up.
  • @CCooze: I don't know if they use organ at both services. At my current job I can only attend Mass on Sundays during the summer when we have service at 10, then I can make it to 12:30. The rest of the year I have to go on Saturday evenings. I am
    a Catholic working in Presbyterian church currently, the other job is a United Methodist church.