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An elder in the CRC recently asked for input on the typical monetary compensation for pastors that provide pulpit supply. Suggestions? 


   I did pulpit supply last Sunday and received a check for $258.96. It included mileage from my house which is about 5 miles away from the church.  I preached both the 9 am and 11 am service and led the Bible study between services. I am in the Chicago land area.  Rev. Marjorie

Although the "regional rates" are interesting, a "rational basis or policy guide" might be of greater use to determine the "fair & consistant" amount for travel, sermon preparation, communion, baptism & worship leadership".....etc.

      A council in Canada twice required a 10 cent refund from their pastor when on classical pulpit suppliy he received $4 travel only compensation and the train ticket was $3.90. The 3rd time he was unanimously directed to keep it & buy a good cigar.   Now they had a "policy" & they were paying his FULL salary!

The congregation I served most recently had Two morning services. Our policy was $300 for the morning if the pastor chose his/her own text. If we requested a text to be part of a series we paid $500. 
My experience in preaching in West Michigan is typical compensation is 100.00 to 150.00


One way to think through this is how many hours you expect the pastor to spend preparing and delivering the message. For a sermon where I pick my own text I have the option of choosing a text I've already studied fairly deeply. I spend about three hours in preparation: reviewing my study, rewriting or updating an existing sermon, and practicing out loud. Then the service lasts an hour. So four hours total. 

If I am given a text I haven't studied deeply before then I require at least a month's notice and I will average about 12 hours of total work for study, writing, practice, and delivery. 

I'd like to ask What are some similar professions? How much would you pay in labor for an hour of their work? But honestly most of a pastor's pay is simply in the reward of the work itself. So instead, maybe the best question is, How much would you like to compensate the pastor's family for the time he/she spent preparing the message for you? 

Scott - now that is an excellent answer & helpful in making a fair reasoned decision. Is it fair to estimate that a minister works around 2,000 hours/year, then divide the  "average, local, annual" wage by 2K as a fair hour rate of compensation + travel? [Sample: $60,000/2,000x4 hours=$________?]. I realize "# of hours" is the difficult figure to know. Thanks for sharing yours!

Jeff - I think that's pretty fair. I would say most minister's work more hours than that in a year. And it's probably worth double checking whether the pulpit supply is getting paid more than the regular pastor for time on a sermon. So in smaller churches I think it's fine to lower the total a bit. But your calculation comes in around what's normal in West Michigan right now.  

I should also mention that many of us would be happier to preach for what a church can honestly afford. If I go to a church in a very poor area I don't want the Word of God to be a burden. Some of the smallest paychecks have nearly brought me to tears because of the generosity and sacrifice behind them. But when I'm in a church with a handful of other professionals that charge hundreds/hour for their services then I start to wonder what we're saying about the value of God's Word with how little the preacher gets paid. 

I have been paid up to 400 to 100 at varying churches. Factors like distance and the situation. 

The time I was paid 400.00, the church did not have a pastor at the time and I preached for several Sundays.

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