How to Save Your Church $34,000 a Year

Read Time: 10 Minutes

Here at Reverent, our mission is to help you engage your members, impact your community and reach the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through media. We believe you can achieve this and so much more with a powerful media presence.  Churches see the need to engage in the culture around them, but sometimes they don’t have the personnel to complete their goals.


This blog is going to show you how to save your church money on media.  Before we begin, I need to lay out a few details for you to understand what it is that I am writing.  There are two main jobs in church media:  Media Director & Editor.  The Media Director is the one who creates and captures video content and casts the vision.  The Editor is the one taking the video content and making it look amazing.  This blog primarily focuses on the need of having a great editor, because most churches have someone on staff with director level skills and can oversee the media of their church.  But when it comes to creativity and quality, you must have a great editor.  But how much does one cost?

The Cost of a Great Editor

Video editors are a unique breed of people.  They like comic books, movies, new artists, and pretty much all things media.  They normally are younger minded people with the hopes of being a part of something great – a great movie, a great music video, or even one day on the set of a Star Wars film!  They have big dreams of working in big companies on big scale production and to offer one of them a job at your church is going to be a huge risk.

Why a Full-Time Editor is a Risk?

There are a few reasons why editors cost so much for churches.  Helping a church with media 95% of the time is not what an editor has in mind for a full-time job.  They always dreamed of being on sets of a big production, having their own company, or getting paid freelance and working their own hours.  So let’s go through three main reasons why an editor doesn’t want to work for a church.

The Day to Day

To edit for a church every day can get well, boring.  You have to edit the podcast, the video announcements, the church camp video, the audio, and so on. Nothing is new under the sun when it comes to in-house editing for churches.  And it starts to “kill” the inner artist of your editor.  This type of day to day work is not what an editor wants for a career.  Where’s the big budget?  Where’s the creativity?!

The Artist Within

Editors think of themselves as modern day artists.  They are always wanting to work on something new and something that brings excitement to the world.  They want to make a video that people want to watch.  Church editing work in general just does not allow for an artist to express themselves.  This will begin to kill their inner artist and they will normally blame leaving on being “burned out”. Why are they feeling burnt out?

The Dream

Every editor has a dream of becoming someone who impacts their world.  Whether they are editing a YouTube channel like Dude Perfect, or onset of the newest Star Wars episode they want to make an impact.  This is their dream.  When you ask someone to join your staff as the church editor you are asking them to give up their dream.  Every pastor thinks of himself as “called”, and therefore you believe that every church staff position should hold the same intrinsic motivation.  This is not true of an editor.  They are motivated by what they produce and how people react to it.

The risk of hiring an editor is high because you are not just paying someone to fulfill a job title or ministry.  You are paying someone to give up a part of what they love to do.  And I am not even mentioning that the next generation has a turn-over rate of fewer than 2 years.  So how do you manage this new culture and unique positional need in your church?

The Cost by Numbers

Now that you’ve heard the “theories” behind why not to hire a full time editor let’s take a look at the numbers.

So where does a full-time editor fall on this scale of ministerial pay?  Well it is safe to say that an editor is not as much of a value as the Associate Pastor, right?  I mean at the end of the day when the church has to decide between keeping the Associate Pastor or the Editor the choice is easy.

The annual income for the Editor position is roughly $40,000.  But even then, most churches would prioritize the Youth Minister over the Editor.  Because people believe that a Youth Minister is impacting more people week after week.  So we reach the average income of a full-time editor at a church, and we get $33,000 a year.  Which brings the hourly rate to $16 an hour plus benefits for an in-house editor.

What is the Average for the Industry?

That’s right – $50,000 is the average income for a video editor.  That is not even a Freelance Video Editor because their average pay is $79,000.  These numbers do not include benefits or vacation.  The annual income of these positions require a larger salary by the nature of their skill and rightfully so.  Not everyone knows how to balance true white on a video, or even how to cut a scene and add music to create a truly engaging video.  Think about how much money in Hollywood goes toward finding an editor who can make the film seem flawless.  So if you’re looking for a great editor just realize that you will need to pay at least $50,000 a year for s/he.  And you’ll have to overcome the temptation to offer them a salary of only $33,000 which is what most churches would offer.

So what does this tell us about hiring a great editor?  They cost a lot!  Now do not get scared and think “well I guess I’ll just never have good media.”  That is not true.  Many churches with small budgets have found a way to get high-quality media.

So what possible solutions can there be?

Finding Solutions

While you are completely overwhelmed with the cost of hiring an Editor.  Here are 3 ways churches have moved past the cost.

Hiring Them Even Knowing the Cost

Now, this might not seem like the best answer, but some have done it.  For some churches, the actual cost is not the issue, but the turnover rate.  If you come to grips with the fact that your editor will most likely only be there about 2-3 years, and you are ok with that turnover then hire them.

I do not recommend this option because it will cost you a lot more money over time, could lead to lapses in media, and could reflect badly on your use of ministry funds.  But ultimately you are the only one who gives an account of your management of what God has given you. The good thing about hiring a full-time editor is that when you need/want them they are always there because they only work for you.

Hiring Them Part Time

This is a good option if you are looking for someone to handle some of the workloads.  Now there are a few things to consider this option.  First, realize that most likely a person who will take this job is divided into two jobs.  Just as likely, they are doing freelance work on the side and think of the church job as only a part-time gig.  Also, I guarantee you that you are not paying as much as the freelance jobs. And when it comes to you and them, well you will lose every time.

Now you’ll only have to pay around $25,000 a year to have an employee who is only half committed to their job, and they also can give a two-week notice at any point.  So in the long run, it is too much administration to keep up with the back and forth and not worth it in the end.  Though for a time, having a great editor is nice to handle the media of the church.

Hire A Third Party Editor

Outsourcing editing has become a new trend in churches.  So why hire a third party editing/media company?  You can count on a company to edit to the highest quality!  They are fully devoted to giving you the best product possible. You are working with professionals who are always having to better themselves to keep up with the industry.  So every edit you get from them is the highest quality.

They are your editor and they don’t age out!  Media companies understand that churches need great editing and they understand it is hard to find those who will last year after year.  This is one of the reasons they offer their services to churches. Along with that, after enough years, some editors will lose their eye for what is new & cutting edge in the industry.  This is not so with a media company! Companies are always using the best, most creative editors out there to stay in business.

Companies have to offer a competitive price for their work.  For years churches have wanted an in-house editor but have found them to be too expensive.  However, companies have to balance supply with demand in their industry or field.  This leads to a high quality with an affordable price. So churches are now able to fill their media position with an affordable alternative that still provides a top quality outcome!

Affordable Pricing for Editing

The Total Package

How much would you be willing to pay for these services each year?

Weekly Podcasting (and Facebook sponsored post)

Weekly Announcements

Custom Website

Church Film

Reverent Pricing

$16,000 a year

For all the services listed above, you would only pay Reverent $16,000 a year.  That’s $34,000 less than what a great full-time editor would cost you.  Also, Reverent handles the details of some services that an editor would not know how to handle.  Does an editor know how to develop a website?  What about producing a story film from Pre-production on?

You are getting a company who is passionate about the Gospel and wants to help churches save resources while doing it!

Author James Hall

More posts by James Hall

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