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What is the going rate for guest pastors (pulpit supply)? Our church has been paying $125 for a while but we're not sure if this has gotten behind the going rate. 


We're in a similar situation. We currently pay $150 plus local travel but are wondering if we need to increase it. I am also curious if there are geographic differences. We are in an urban area (Washington, D.C.), so in general salaries and expenses are both higher.

Great question! I worked in church ministry for 15 years and have some background on this. My understanding was that this nominal fee was offered to pastors who were part of the Pulpit Supply list. This was part of the Classis churches' covenant to each to help another church out when they are vacant. This nominal fee covered the pastor's time to come and preach and lead a service, but it was assumed he/she was using a previously shared message and most of the service would be planned and executed by members of that particular church. He/she would also get mileage paid on top of this preaching fee. In our area, the amount was set at $150.

At my last church I challenged this tradition. (This was about 3 years ago.) We were a church plant and many times people who were asked to preach came with 'new material'. Many were asked to participate in a certain worship series we were doing so it warranted a brand new sermon to be written. Also, because our context was quite different than a typical CRC, we would ask that a message be geared to newer believers and/or seekers. So again, a new message would likely be done, or an old one would require some tweaking. And let's be honest, many spend between 10-20 hours writing messages. In order to honour this person's time and expertise, we set our preaching fee at $200-$250. Mileage would also be paid on top of this, if they so requested. Some internal people who preached for us would donate the amount back to the church as they weren't doing it for the money, but some would use it to help pay for their ongoing education or other things. Their choice was completely respected by our church leadership.

Overall, we felt it was time to up the amount we paid and also make it relevant to our church and culture. Hope this helps!

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