–Pastors should check with their colleagues in other churches from time to time to see what they’re paying guest speakers. Some pastors are still paying at the 1965 rate, while others are most generous.
–Generous is always best. (Another smile?) And appreciated. However, if the honorarium is small, I still thank the Lord. It’s Him I serve, and He is my Source, not the host church or host pastor.
–If you plan to pay the guest speaker, give him the check while he is there. Do not tell him, “We’ll be in touch,” or, “I’ll have to send you a check; our treasurer was out today.” What the guest wonders is how you could schedule him to preach months in advance but give no thought to paying him. “The laborer is worthy of his hire,” says the Scripture, in both Old and New Testaments. The pastor who expects his own paycheck in a timely fashion should see that his guest preacher gets the same treatment. (Most retired preachers count on this as a help to their fixed income.)
Twice in these retirement years I have called pastors many weeks after speaking in their churches. “Brother Bob, were you going to give me anything for preaching in your church?” There. You just say it. As uncomfortable as it feels, you get the words out. One pastor said, “You mean you weren’t paid? I told the secretary.”
Between you and me, it’s inexcusable for a pastor to be so sloppy about his work that he doesn’t even follow up to see if something important has been done.
One final thing. A quick thank-you note to the guest preacher is always appreciated. These days, notes by email or Messenger are acceptable. The pastor where I preached Sunday said something in his thank-you note which I cherish:
“Thank you for the respect and care you give to the churches to whom you speak!”
That’s almost as good as the generous check they gave me.
This article originally appeared here.