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What Should a Guest Preacher Expect?

I wrote a post titled “How Much Should You Pay a Guest Preacher?” The post provided a formula for determining, from the church administrative perspective, how much to pay guest preachers. My hope is that the formula provided church leaders with a way determine guest preacher pay beyond the “shot in the dark” method.

Shortly after the post appeared, I received questions surrounding the proper expectations of guest preachers. Such questions did not surprise me. For some, the guidelines I suggested for host churches did not match their experiences. And I could tell that they were frustrated. So, to help answer this question of guest preacher expectations, I have put together four considerations. As you evaluate your own expectations, I ask that you consider these thoughts:

1. There is a calling.

Ministers operate out of a sense of calling. We identify our calling by a deep, inner longing for ministry work. This sense of calling is confirmed by those around us. For some, this includes preaching. Many are feel compelled by God to teach the Bible to others. This calling should not be ignored but passionately pursued.

2. God can use money to determine how the calling fleshes itself out.

Our calling is never determined by money, but God can use money to determine how our calling fleshes itself out. Bi-vocational pastors know this well. For those called to preach, the presence or absence of money can determine where and when you preach. This is no way minimizes the calling, but helps shape it.

3. It’s ok to say “no.”

Frequently, we say “no” to guest preaching requests because of scheduling conflicts. It is ok to do the same if being a guest preacher causes significant harm to your family’s finances. If saying “yes” puts your utility bill payment at risk, you can politely decline.

4. Be careful with expectations.

You will often hear me repeat the phrase, “Those who see themselves as entitled to nothing, become grateful for everything.” Many studies show that a person’s satisfaction level is frequently tied to their expectation level. This can be seen in relationships, marriages, job responsibilities, and finances.

If you choose to say “yes” to a church, do it without expectation. Remember, you are motivated by a calling, not financial gain. Find satisfaction in receiving an opportunity to exercise your calling. This will not disappoint.


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