What is a Guest Ministry Worth?

Below you will find general information gathered from several Christian leadership sources.
Defining the Coins from the Treasures | Compensating Guest Speakers/Musicians on a Church Budget |
Giving the Guest What They Deserve | How Much Should You Pay

When deciding what to pay musicians, speakers or pastors, the following can be considered:

  • Is this what they do for a living?
  • How much time will they spend preparing as well as traveling and serving?
  • What would you expect if you were in their position?

The Bible makes it clear that it is right for those who preach the gospel to receive a living from this ministry. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:11-14:

“If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?  If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”

For a speaker alone, here is a hypothetical example [source] for calculating a “starting” figure:

You start with 5% of the senior pastor’s yearly salary and add a gratuity of $250.00 plus mileage/expenses. This would be applied to every session that a guest artist/speaker is booked by the organization or church, as you can see below in the example.

Pastor’s salary (includes housing allowance): $60,000
Number of services: 2
Guest’s honorarium: $60,000 x .5% = $300 x 2 services = $600
plus a gratuity [self employment pension/benefits etc] $250.00
Total= $850.00 – as well as mileage, meals and accommodations

This amount would resemble a paycheck before deductions, taking into consideration that the artist/speaker has taken at least a week’s worth of time preparing for the event/church service. Using this formula will allow churches to be generous without compromising stewardship.

In general, Music Artists and Authors/Speakers (for 1 session) with 1 Cd or book can start at around $350.00 to $450.00 [plus expenses]  Artists and speakers who have multiple products such as CDs, DVDs/books etc, travelling regionally or abroad can set honorarium guides starting between $500.00 – $850.00. The bottom rate is a higher for guest artists and speakers because of the overhead of printing, licensing, time spent in the studio, recording costs ect., are weighed into the honorarium.

Laurie’s Ministry Guidelines

It is Laurie’s great joy and honor to spend time with an extended church family, and women of God for the purpose of ministry. Her heart is to encourage each one in their faith and in wholeness.

This is Laurie’s sole income. In faith, it’s great to acquire “capital” to run the ministry, (the business operations of ministry) in addition, an income for “the workman who is worthy of their hire”, according to scripture.  In addition, there is no typical Pension deductions or other benefits. As a speaker for more than 10 years with ministry gifts, custom recordings and authored books, she loosely follows the established guidelines below.   However, please keep in mind, that Laurie also balances this with trusting the Lord and if it is within her means, she accepts engagements for less.  All honorarium fees below are a guideline and completely negotiable.  The first priority is to serve the Lord while humbly ministering to the body.

The Fees below are just a general “ball park”.

One session – music and speaking: $800 plus expenses
Two sessions – music and speaking: $950 plus expenses
Three sessions: $1500 plus expenses

In some circumstances, arrangements can be made with an offering plus expenses taken during the event, from the congregation as well. Laurie will use her charitable status to report donations that are submitted directly to the ministry.

General Information


The closer to an event, the less of a chance of filling that date with another engagement that brings in revenue for the ministry. Once again, this is Laurie’s sole income and so these are standard speaker/musician industry guidelines.

10 days or less before engagement …….. 100%
11-30 days before engagement …………… 75%
31-60 days before engagement …………… 50%
61-90 days before engagement …………… 25%