Pastors' Forum


Guest Ministry

I am curious how other pastors today are handling financial responsibilities when it comes to guest ministers. Is it the host church’s responsibility to cover all travel expenses in addition to lodging? Do churches generally receive an offering for the guest minister during each service, during certain services, or do they just provide an honorarium? Are expenses taken from the special offerings, or are they taken from the general fund of the church? In the event of conferences, does the church charge a fee for each person attending, or just receive offerings?


Pastor Dave Williams – Lansing, MI
This is a great question, and I’m happy that you are concerned about guest ministers.

First, let’s go to God’s Word for some guidance in principles:

3 John 5-8 NLT
Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.

Philippians 4:15 NLT
As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this.

From these Scriptures we get an idea of God’s heart on this matter of caring for guest and traveling ministers. Paul was grateful to the Philippians who provided him ample support, while none of the other churches cared for his financial needs. And … the Philippians received the amazing promise of a rich supply:

Philippians 4:15 NLT
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

I have many friends who travel in ministry and have heard some of their stories. Some churches bless them greatly; others seem to justify themselves in cheating them. One minister was asked if he’d come for a special event at a church the next Sunday. The minister was already booked elsewhere, so he called the pastor and explained that this other church seemed urgent about booking him for a special event. The pastor graciously encouraged the traveling minister to go to the special event and then rearranged his calendar and rebooked.

So, the traveling minister booked his flight, which at the last minute was over $700. He traveled to the city to minister in the church, checked into the hotel, using his own credit card (another $300 for two nights). At the end of his ministry, the pastor handed him a check for $500 and thanked him for coming. The guest minister lost $500, plus the offering or honorarium he would have received at another church. Believe me, this created a memory.

I cannot speak for other churches, but here is how we handle it at Mount Hope Church in Lansing, and this is what I teach all of our ministry students:

My Policy

  1. If I believe God wants a particular minister at our church, it’s our responsibility to pay the expenses, the advertising, and all incidentals. This also includes travel, lodging, and food. That burden should not be on the guest minister. It’s a good idea to set an annual budget of 8-11% of your general regular income for marketing and advertising special events throughout the year.
  2. Some guest minister’s pre-arrange an honorarium. At Mount Hope Church, we do not receive an offering for guest ministers in the morning services – and we do not take up two offerings. For morning services we always make arrangements on an honorarium basis.
  3. For evening services, we receive the entire offering for the guest minister. We do not subtract expenses or so-called “administrative fees,” and we do not receive two offerings (one for the church and one for the guest). If we take an offering for the church first, it would likely cut into the guest’s offering. The guest is there to bless us, and we want to reciprocate by blessing him. And God ends up blessing us for it.
  4. We always add a little more to the offering or honorarium from the general fund. We do this because traveling ministers typically have to take care of their own insurance matters and “pension” (IRA or 403b).
  5. Also, if we ever have to cancel a guest minister, we will still pay them the arranged honorarium. It’s insensitive and even unconscionable to cancel a guest when he or she has already made plans. I realize there may be an emergency situation, but the church should still cover the traveling minister’s honorarium. When canceled, it puts a huge burden on the minister to find another place of ministry, change tickets, and a host of other inconveniences they will never tell you about.
  6. In the event of a special conference, it is certainly fine to set a fee for each attendee to cover the costs of the conference. But, we never view a conference or seminar as merely a “money-making” venue. They are always designed to be a blessing to the attendees.

I trust this answers your excellent and thoughtful questions about handling financial responsibilities when it comes to guest ministers. When you are like the Philippians were to Paul, you’ll find a real connection with the traveling minister’s ministry, and he or she will be telling others about your generosity everywhere.

Pastor Marvin Yoder – Mattoon, IL
Here are my thoughts concerning your question (keep in mind this a small church perspective).

I have the unique position of having been both a full-time guest minister and also a full-time pastor which provides me with insight on both sides of this issue. Ethical responsibilities to a fellow minister, preferences of the church in the way it conducts business, and the amount of resources available should be considerations in determining how generous a church treats a guest minister.

Having been a guest minister, it was a great blessing when a church did give me an offering plus traveling expenses. Now being a pastor we endeavor to do that for our guest ministers. I know it is not required but I like to be generous when I can. On the other hand, I do not overly reward guest ministers who get real pushy and demanding or if they come into our church and just do their own thing and don’t try to help build up our church.

When it comes to a conference, we try to have a total of the conference expenses and guest minister expenses, which we try to meet first with the offerings and then the general fund.

We are a small church and we try to be as generous as we can to the guest ministers we have. We typically schedule our guest ministers every 2-3 months so we can bless them when they come. We also plan a year in advance to set the goals of the church and then identify guest ministers that can help us accomplish those goals.

We will typically treat the guest ministers we planned to have more generously than those who happen to be passing through and need a meeting, simply because we have had more preparation time to get ready for them. Sometimes if we decide to have a guest minister when he or she asks to come, we tell them up front that we will give them an honorarium rather than take a special offering.

If guest ministers and pastors will remember to keep God as their source, and recognize each other as valuable fellow ministers, churches will do their best and guest ministers will be a blessing to have in the church.

Pastor Mark Garver – Madison, AL
First let me say that no matter the size or age of your church, I believe that guest ministers are vital to you and the health of your church.  Even when I was first pioneering the church I had guest ministers in, as they brought a supply of the Spirit that I desperately needed.  When the church was young, many brought us a Word similar to what I was currently ministering to my body.  It brought me great confidence as well as shored up and confirmed what I was ministering to my congregation.  It was wonderful to see the orchestration of the Spirit of God on my behalf.  In addition to that, the fellowship that I received in the early days of the church was vital to my well-being.  When the ministry is young, it is like a cool drink of water.  Having said that, now our church is at a different stage and I don’t have as many guest ministers in as before.  When I do have someone in, I have someone with a specific message to the Body of Christ.  In other words, I will have specialists in.  As a Pastor, I am more a general practitioner and every once in a while a specialist is required.  We have had people in who specialize in leadership, marriage, finances, end times, and other subjects.  We have people in who stand in specific offices like prophet or evangelist.  We also have those Apostles (missionaries) in that we support.

How to take care of a guest in your church can best be answered by how you want to be treated.  A wise minister once said something to the effect that every Pastor should have to be a traveling minister for two years and every traveling minister should have to pastor for two years and they would help and take care of each other better.  My wife and I both were traveling ministers and she was also a missionary to India, so we have been on both sides of this question.  From the very beginning, we have taken care of a guest minister’s lodging, food, and travel expense from the general fund of the church.  If you cannot take care of someone’s airfare in the early stages, you will just have to let them know and they will have to decide if they can do it on their own.  I always used my faith to take care of these gifts of God.  I modeled that in front of my church, and in the same way, my church has always taken good care of me and my family.  So much so that our congregation started a Pastor’s travel fund for my wife and I for our ministry trips overseas.  They have seen me treat the guest ministers first-class and they want to do the same for us.

As far as the offering, I always receive a special offering in every service for the guest minister.  I always tell our church that when the guest minster goes home they will leave with a large check.  It has grown over the years, but it has always been large for where we were as a church.  Sometimes I receive an offering before they speak and sometimes after.  I don’t want them to give based on performance but based on God’s leading.  I do have a policy in my church that I do not allow the guest minister to take up their own offering.  I know some guest ministers have been taken advantage of, and do not receive all of their offering so they want to do it to protect themselves; but be that as it may, I still receive all the offerings and use my faith that they will receive a good one.   I have broken with that one time and probably will not do it again.  Many want to have addresses of the people who gave so they can put them on their mailing list.  I do allow every guest minister and missionary to put up tables and have a sign-up sheet for their mailing list.

As Pastors, we cannot be afraid that our people are going to give all their finances to guest ministers.  Teach your people to be led and don’t get into fear. Money is like dust – there will be more tomorrow. I have never taken any money out of the guest minister’s offering for any reason – 100% of the special offering goes to them.  As a matter of fact, I always round it up when I give it to them.  When you have multiple speakers, for instance a week-long special meeting, I always let the speakers know that I will divide the entire offering based on the number of services they speak.  It has always seemed to satisfy everyone involved.

As for whether or not to charge admission for a conference, I usually leave that up to the conference speaker.  For instance many times they will do a special meeting on Saturday, and if there is a fee involved because of the materials that each attendee receives, then on Sunday morning we will take up a special offering for the speaker.  I think you need to be flexible with that especially if there are materials involved.

The bottom line is this.  Take care of them like you would like someone to take care of you.  Give to them like you would like someone to give to you.  Don’t wait until you are a large church to have guest ministers.  I guess the only other advice I would give you is to know those who labor among you.  I have not let anyone in my pulpit that I did not at least meet and talk to.  If you know someone’s heart and their track record, you will be comfortable and then your church will be able to receive from them.  You will then want to take good care of them and be a good example to your church.

Pastor Dan Morrison – Farmington, NM
My father imparted a way of thinking into me that has been my guide when it comes to the hospitality extended to guest ministers.  He was trained by the Four Square denomination and sat under the ministry of Aimee Semple-McPherson.  At Life Bible College, she taught her students this truth:  How would you treat the Lord Jesus if he visited your church?  I hope that you would put him in the best accommodations, feed him well, and insure that his physical needs were adequately met.  I am not advocating being extravagant, but we should do our best knowing that when we have taken care of the least of these brethren, we have actually done it unto Jesus.

My thinking is this:  when I invite a guest to our church, I want it to be burden free.  I want the guest praying about God’s direction for the services rather than his needs being supplied.  Our church will pay for travel and lodging and all meals while our guest is ministering.  We choose to receive an offering at each service because not all our people will attend every service.  As a pastor, I take the responsibility to adequately inspire and encourage our people to give.  If I’m not excited about investing into the guest’s ministry, the congregation won’t be either.  I can understand why some guest ministers insist on receiving their own offerings.  In some cases it is because the pastor doesn’t do his best in promoting the guest’s ministry and needs.

When our church promotes a seminar to meet a special need such as a marriage encounter, etc., we will have a set honorarium in mind for the seminar portion but will then schedule the guest to stay for a main service, giving our people the opportunity to be a blessing to the guest.  Conferences almost always necessitate some sort of conference fee to meet the budget.

As I pondered this whole subject, I really feel that our mindset should be similar to that in a marriage.  The partner who has the attitude that marriage is a “give and take” proposition will most always be disappointed and unsatisfied in the end.  However, when both partners go out of their way to sincerely be a blessing to the other, neither will be disappointed.  I challenge guest ministers to put away the “you owe me—I’m special” mentality and be willing to serve no matter what.  Pastors, let’s have the mindset that we will be do whatever it takes to be the greatest blessing to any guest who ministers to God’s sheep.  In the end, everyone will go away satisfied and happy.

Pastor Bill Anzevino – Industry, PA
First, if we invite a guest minister to hold a service in our church, we pay for transportation and lodging. We also have a love offering received for the ministry allowing the people to sow into the ministry as they are directed by the Spirit of God. We don’t just give an honorarium. We never take any expenses out of the offering. Everything goes to the ministry. Usually, we give more from our general fund and add it to the offering. For example, if the love offering amount was $1,789.52, we may add to that amount and give $2,000.00 or even more.

Second, if the guest minister is in the area and asks to come and hold a service at our church, we don’t pay travel expenses or lodging because we know their expenses are being paid by the ministry that brought them in. If they are traveling on their own, we know the offering they receive will more than cover any expenses they might incur by coming from where they’re at to our church.

We also provide a meal for whoever comes after the service is over. We may have a home-cooked meal for them, or we may take them to a local restaurant. Either way, the expense is taken form our general fund unless the host prefers to provide the meal at their expense.

Finally, the only time we ever charged a fee for any event held at our church was for a concert where the group required tickets to be sold. All the ticket sales went to the group, but we as a church incurred all expenses including lodging, travel and food.

I pray this helps answer your questions. God’s best!

Pastor Sam Smucker – Lancaster, PA
Normally we cover travel, lodging, and food expenses. We have in our annual budget an honorarium account that covers these expenses. Depending on the speaker or the event, we receive an offering for the speaker (there are also times we give an honorarium and not receive an offering). When we do receive an offering, we usually do not take the travel, lodging, and food expenses out of that offering unless we have that kind of agreement with the quest speaker. For a conference like a marriage or parenting or leadership conference, we request a registration fee which covers the expenses of the speaker including his or her honorarium. Many times when we have a conference we also have the guest speaker minister in our weekend services and then receive an offering for the speaker which allows us to keep the registration fee for the conference at a price that most can afford. I believe it is important to have an understanding with the guest speaker in advance of how the expenses and offering will be handled.

Pastor John Lowe – Warsaw, IN
We try to take care of all the expenses that would be normal. To do so, we try to get all the required facts before hand; all of the mentioned ways if agreed upon by the guest minister and the host work.

There have been times we have had to send added funds to give honor where honor is due. We have rounded up offerings from the general account. Usually, we try to set some funds back to cover the expense as well as do right in the offering. The recession has made some things tough because saving is a little more difficult. Communication is the key before and after the event or events. This allows understanding and appreciation to grow and remain.

Pastor Brad Allen – San Mateo, CA
When I was growing up in church, good guest ministers brought new perspectives and fire to our church. I loved it. I wondered why the pastor didn’t do that more often until I became a pastor and realized the financial cost to the church.

Guest ministers help the local church, but their expenses for travel, hotel, meals, and offering should be discussed in detail before a date is scheduled. Every ministry has a budget and the pastor should know what the guest minister needs for his budget and the guest needs to know the approximate attendance and likely size of the offering. These topics are often difficult to bring up, but should be clearly discussed.

Our church is just under 100 people on Sundays right now, so paying for air, hotel, meals, etc., plus providing a respectable offering is difficult. Often, we’ll work with a larger church where a guest speaker will be there on Sunday and then come to our church either the Friday before or Wednesday after.

Good guest speakers are a good investment. So planning for and building a guest ministry savings account through the year works well.

Which guest speakers would most benefit your congregation this year? What would it cost to have them in? Set a savings goal and when the money is there to pay for air and a good hotel, then call them up. Continue to add to the savings account so that when they leave, you send them with a generous offering from savings as well as the offering in the service.

Our church primarily receives its tithes and offerings on Sunday mornings. Over 90% of our funds come in just four services each month. So we still need to receive our Sunday church offering as well as our speaker offering. Since we’re asking people to give twice, often, both offerings are lower than if just one was received. This is why a savings account is needed. It may also be used to assist the church expenses for that week.

Be honest about what you can cheerfully afford to pay and communicate that clearly with your guests. Let them know what they can expect in the offering and make sure that setting a date is realistic for them and for your church.

Finally, guest ministers are your honored guests. Pick them up in the best car you can, take them to the best meals you can, and put them in the best hotel you can. And when other pastors and leaders come to your church to hear the guest speaker, honor these leaders as well. Why? Because when you honor God’s servants, you honor their Master. Your congregation will receive more and you’ll build live giving relationships. Make it a joy for them to come to your city. 1 Tim 5:17, 1 Thess 5:12-13.

Pastor Doug Foutty – Parkersburg, WV
I believe that at times it can be a faith adventure when you invite a guest minister into your church. I’ve had more experience at this when I worked for other pastors than since I became a pastor myself. I think you should get your congregation ready and have them start calling in extra income for offerings and have them declaring the needs of the meeting to be met in advance of the guest minister’s arrival.

As a church, I think you should be prepared to pay the travel, lodging and food expense of the guest minister and believe with them for an abundant offering. I have looked at traveling minister’s schedules and asked if while they were close to our area they could stop by on a certain date. This helps with expenses if you can get a situation like this. Many ministers have wonderful testimonies of going to a small church and being treated amazingly well. Allow God to work and don’t limit Him in His blessings.

Dr. Dan Beller – Tulsa, OK
Before inviting a guest minister to your church, it is good to inquire up front if they require a certain fee for their ministry. If there is a specific amount required by the guest minister, it can be paid from the local church treasury or supplemented from offerings received during each of the services. If they agree to come on a love offering basis, it is good to clarify that the local church will pay for their travel expenses and hotel and meals while in the meeting. You should also know in advance how many will be in the traveling party so you can plan a proper budget. The expenses which are in addition to the honorarium should come from the local church treasury.

When offerings are received in the local church, the total amount should go to the guest minister and none should be deducted for any local expenses. This is proper ethics because when the people give, they are expecting it to go to the ministering person or group. Also, this principle is in harmony with the Scripture in I Tim. 5:18 (NIV), “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain, and the worker deserves his wages.”

If the local meeting is some kind of special Conference, there can be a fee charged if agreed on with the Pastor and guest minister. Another option is to receive offerings to pay the guest minister and the local expenses as agreed on before the Conference.

Pastor John White – Decatur, AL
It depends on what kind of meeting we have whether or not we receive an offering for our guest minister or simply give them an honorarium. If a guest minister is our only speaker, we receive an offering after every service. If we have more than one speaker, we guarantee them a set price and if the offerings in those services exceed the guaranteed honorarium set by us, we divide that among the speakers. All this is agreed upon before the meetings are finalized.

If we invite a minister in, we pay for all their expenses plus that of one traveling companion. Expenses include travel, food and lodging, and on some occasions, a rental car. Once again, this is agreed upon before the meetings are finalized.

We never allow a guest minister to receive their own offerings. We found over the years that this practice has worked best for our congregation. Never take anything for granted. Make sure everyone knows what to expect and how it is to be done.

On the recommendation of a seasoned minister, many years ago we started putting aside money in a special account for special meetings. Then when it was time for the meeting, we had our budget already met and we were not under any pressure as to how big the offerings were. I always have a predetermined amount that I believe God wants us to give ministers we bring in. If the offerings do not cover that amount we always add to it or make up the difference.

We never will have a minister who wants a set or guaranteed price for their ministry. We use our faith for the offerings and I expect them to do the same. They cannot guarantee us that they will add a certain number of families to our church and neither can we guarantee them how large their offering will be.

We do not have just anybody to fill our pulpit. We have a reason for having a special speaker or ministry. We bring them in to meet a need and the Bible says that the laborer is worthy of his hire.

I believe that God’s word teaches us to take care of the ministry gifts. If we take care of them, God will take care of us. Your reputation will spread as to how well you treat your guest. If you do it with integrity and excellence, you’ll never have a problem getting the people you want to minister to your congregation.

Pastor John Brady – McAllen, TX
It has always been our policy to treat guest speakers and missionaries with great honor. I believe when someone comes to bring the Word of God to your church under the anointing of God, that we need to take care of that person in every way possible. For our church, that means we pay their airfare (sometimes their spouse), nice hotel, food and any expenses they have. At every service the guest minister speaks, we take up a special offering for the minister and encourage our people to bless them abundantly. 100% of the special offering goes to the minister. I have heard of pastors receiving a large special offering and only giving a portion to the minister. If you told the people the offering goes to the minister, then that is where it needs to go. If the offering is low, sometimes we will add to it. I have been practicing this policy for 16 years and we have been blessed because of our generosity.

One thing I would like to add is that I think we need to treat our missionaries with even greater honor. As a church, we at times have blessed our missionaries’ socks off because of their work and sacrifice for God.

Pastor Tim Phillips – Harrison, AR
Over the years our church has been privileged to host many fine guest ministers, with the majority being invited to return.

Our goal is to try to make it “worth their while” to minister at the church. We receive an offering at every service they minister at. I instruct the congregation that this particular offering will go to the guest speaker. If the service is a regularly scheduled service, I will also receive the church’s tithes and offerings in a separate offering. If I sense the need that the expenses of the meeting are not being met, I will include this in my appeal. Most of the time, expenses for the motel and meals will be covered from the church’s general account.

Usually the honorarium is sufficient but I also like to “sow some seed” into the guest minister’s ministry. When travel expenses are required by the guest minister, many times the guest minister will have also arranged for other churches to help defray the travel costs.

On the subject of conferences, we have charged a fee but when the guest speaker speaks at a regular church service, I will receive an offering for the guest as well.

Pastor Ray Almaguer – Glendora, CA
This is a great question. Usually we will handle all of the financial responsibilities: travel, lodging, and meals. Incidentals in the hotel are handled by the guest speaker. There have been times when we have shared the expenses with another church because we were having the same speaker during the same week. I believe it is very important for Pastors to communicate all of these details up front before a commitment is made to a guest speaker. A Pastor (or whoever handles the arrangements) shouldn’t be afraid to ask these questions. I have heard of many situations where either the guest speaker or the host church assumed the other person would cover certain expenses. Hard feelings resulted when it didn’t happen.

A Pastor should “know the state of his flock.” He needs to know what type of guest speaker will benefit his congregation the most at any given time. The congregation needs to be exposed to different ministry gifts. However, having too many guest speakers can put a financial strain on the church.

A guest speaker is exactly that, a guest. He needs to remember that he or she is a guest. He should come in and seek to add something to the church. He needs to be a support to the Pastor. A Pastor shouldn’t have to come back the next week and correct some controversial thing a guest speaker taught. If a guest speaker is asked to speak on a certain subject (or avoid a certain subject) that is what he should do. If he is asked to speak for a certain length of time, that is what he should do.

If a guest speaker comes to a church on a love offering basis, then he needs to be happy with whatever the love offering is. I recently spoke to a guest speaker who had been at a church on a love offering basis, but he was complaining to me about the love offering! He’s the one who agreed to the terms. He should either be happy with the love offering or start setting a minimum requirement to come.

I don’t think it would be necessarily wrong to deduct expenses from the offerings as long as you and the guest speaker agreed to that up front. We have both received offerings during each service and given honoraria to guest speakers from the general fund. Both methods have worked for us. A Pastor needs to decide what is best for the church at the time. If the agreement is for the guest speaker to come on a love offering basis, then the Pastor needs to give the guest speaker that love offering, no matter how large it may be. That guest speaker might be believing God for something extra, and God chose to bring the answer through your church.

A church should treat a guest speaker with honor. A Pastor should treat a guest speaker the way he would treat the Lord Jesus Christ. A Pastor needs to train his church and leadership how to treat a guest speaker. I want our guest speakers to be well taken care of, well fed, and well rested. I have found when that happens, the church is the beneficiary. I want nothing to hinder the gift the guest speaker brings to our church.

Pastor Rob Wynne – Linden, AL
If I invite another minister to speak in my church, I cover the travel expenses, lodging, and meals while they are here. Each service I take up a love offering, which goes to the minister entirely. All expenses are taken out of the church’s general fund. If I feel the offering is inadequate, I will increase the offering out of the general fund.

I have had ministers come before an already scheduled minister (because they asked and I felt it was right), and I covered the offering and expenses out of the general fund because I do not bring other ministers before an already invited minister and take up a love offering. I do not want to abuse my people or take from what the already scheduled minister would have gotten in the offering that he or she would be receiving.

Pastor Thom Fields – Kennewick, WA
This is an issue that is handled best with a proactive mindset. It is my opinion that making the decision on how to handle guest ministries is performed best when dealt with in advance and shared early and openly with the ministry guest. Discussing these issues during the booking process eliminates any misunderstanding and promises to remove the possibility of unmet expectations for either party.

We accept responsibility for all travel, lodging, and meals for the guest speaker. In some cases, a minister likes to travel with a travel partner. Sometimes this is a spouse, while other times it may be an intern or associate of some kind. We inquire about this early, as we don’t always accept financial responsibility for extra members of a team. If they are travelling simply to work the product table, for example, we make certain that it is understood that we can provide workers for those spots but do not cover the expenses associated with that type of travel associate.

We also agree upon a set honorarium, unless we’re bringing a particular guest in who is actually raising money for a specific ministry endeavor, such as a mission project like feeding millions in Haiti or something like that. In that case we would receive a special offering and inform the people that every dollar would be going towards that specific effort. However, if the guest is ministering for the intended result of edifying our local body, we simply ask the congregation to remember that along with our regular expenses we are blessing our special guest. This way the congregation can give above and beyond their regular giving during the offering without the need to receive multiple offerings during a single service. We attempt to stay away from that as much as possible.

Our rule of thumb is that if we can’t afford to have a guest come minister without experiencing a supernatural financial miracle…we just don’t invite them. It is our responsibility to be a true blessing to any one we invite in and we prepare for that in advance.

Conferences are typically handled in a slightly different way. We receive special offerings during each of the services of the conference in addition to the small price that is charged for admittance to the day-time sessions. Monies are used to cover expenses, but again, if we can’t afford to pay all expenses we don’t schedule the conference.

Pastor John Grunewald – Bonn, Germany
We do this in a variety of ways since sometimes ministers come and minister in both the Training Centers and Church, but I will stick with the church-side for this response.

The basic rule is “communication,”—what is agreed upon ahead of time. Usually anyone who comes covers their airfare. They can fly in any class they choose but we will make sure in the offering that a coach class airfare is more than covered. We take care of hotel and food while they are here ministering. We do receive offerings in every service for the minister/ministry and all the donations that come go exactly where we said they would when we received the offering. Expenses are covered from the general fund.

We do have conferences where we have registration and charge a fee and this seems to work very well in Europe. We might still receive an offering in this conference.

Bottom line, we know how expensive it is to travel and we want to be as big a blessing to anyone who ministers here as we can. My suggestion is get it to the visiting minister in writing as arrangements are being made.

Pastor Mark Boer – Boise, ID
Our practice is to cover the traveling expenses (airfare, hotel, meals) of our guest ministers out of the general operating fund. We do have one guest that comes in his own airplane and covers all of his expenses on his own—including hotel.

We typically receive offerings for the minister in the services in which they speak. When doing so, 100% of the offerings go to that ministry/minister. On occasion, we have given an honorarium—usually if there have been a high number of special offerings in a short period of time and we just didn’t want to be overly burdensome to the people. Also, we usually add an offering from the church to whatever comes in from the people who were in the services.

Concerning conferences, any fees received are used for conference expenses while the offerings go to the minister. We are not locked into this method but would simply explain to the givers if we were to handle the finances differently.