Pastors' Forum


Hosting Guest Ministers

Approximately how many guest ministers do you have in your pulpit each year? Do you have a specific purpose when you have a guest minister, and what do you look for in selecting those you will invite to share with your people? What is your philosophy and approach when it comes to providing compensation for a guest minister? Finally, what benefits has your church received from guest ministers in the past?


Pastor Rick Sharkey – Spokane, WA

After decades of pastoring, my appreciation of guest ministers has grown and expanded. The purpose of their service is that they are to add a strength and gift that will help build our house into more than we are.

I only have ministers that are relationally strong with me, our church, or are in my ministry circle. I never invite someone simply because they are famous or just because they are a TV personality.

It seems like 3-4 guests a year works well for us, and usually we associate the timing with a special event (camps, conferences, outreach events). We are very mindful of the church calendar as a whole, trying not to overburden our church families.

I always consider economic issues. Budgets are critical for church stability, so we gauge our guest ministers with an overall church financial perspective. I always prayerfully consider our guests’ financial needs and give our very best. I’m uncomfortable with a church our size having guests come in with huge overhead (large support staff, media needs, transportation costs). Before I book a guest with those needs, I need to make sure we can meet the financial needs without putting the house in a financial strain.

Overall, our guests have been such a positive influence we’ve always been made a better church because of their visits.

Pastor John Huizing – Red Deer, AB, Canada

For many years, Ingrid and I have hosted an average of 6-8 guest ministers per year at the Family of Faith Church to help us build the local church and minister a specific topic at our Bible school.

It all began way back when I first started in ministry and was in need of someone to come in and bring the message of faith from a different angle. The decision to bring in a guest minister proved to be a winning solution: some people whom I had failed to reach now began to see what I had attempted to communicate. They sure appreciated the same message from a different view, from another side of the mountain. Since then, we’ve carefully chosen topics that we wanted to teach and bring in others who could help bring a well-rounded view of the material we teach.

Besides praying, we have asked the following questions to determine the right person for the job:

  1. How well is the incoming minister knowledgeable about the topic?
  2. How well does he/she communicate that message?
  3. How well would the incoming minister be received in our church culture?
  4. Does he/she help us build?
  5. Does the incoming minister have other resources, such as books and CDs, to help teach the topic?
  6. Is it possible to build a relationship with this guest minister for future events?


Because God has ordained for ministers to live of the Gospel, we have trained our people to pay tithes to the local church and to give towards guest ministries based on Galatians 6:6-7.

Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

This means that if I benefitted from the word that has been ministered, it is my duty to communicate/recompense my teacher. I need to be sowing into this minister’s life to the degree that I am helped by the word that has been communicated with me. If everyone in the local church operates this way, all the needs—spiritual and financial—will be met.

Benefits of a Guest Ministry

The benefits that we have received as a local church include a well-rounded understanding of the message of faith, as well as other important topics. Our church members have a sincere appreciation for the Body of Christ and the various gifts and graces that flow from it.

The Family of Faith Church enjoys a great number of relationships that we have been able to build over the years—relationships that add value to our vision and accountability to new projects and plans. Many times, guest ministers, by the Spirit, have helped the church by addressing an issue or a doctrine that needed attention. Ingrid and I could have brought it up from the pulpit, but it could become misconstrued, because of our personal involvement in the matter. What a wonderful blessing it is to have someone else verify what you have taught and bring agreement to the direction that you as a local church haven taken.

Pastor Sam Smucker – Lancaster, PA

  1. We have about 4 guest ministers a year.
  2. We usually look at what area of expertise we sense is needed in the congregation for the year, like marriage, evangelism, other topics of bible teaching, etc. We will choose a guest minister that has a ministry strength in that particular area and a guest minister we know and have developed a relationship with.
  3. We have an honorarium account in our budget. We provide for lodging, car rental, meals, and a generous honorarium. Sometimes an offering is taken. Other times, we take a specified amount per service out of the honorarium account. This amount per service varies as to the level of experience a minister has. We have 3 weekend services.
  4. Our congregation has been blessed by many outstanding guest ministers. Usually the teaching and ministry of the guest minister leaves a lasting impartation with our congregation.

Pastor Darrell Huffman – Huntington, WV

Approximately how many guest ministers do you have in your pulpit each year?

I try to have two, or at the most, three guest ministers a year along with at least one special conference of two to three days. The conference will usually be geared toward Leadership or Helps. My wife also hosts a women’s conference at the church in the spring.

Do you have a specific purpose when you have a guest minister, and what do you look for in selecting those you will invite to share with your people?

My purpose for bringing in guest ministers is to expose the church to different gifts, anointing and presentations of the gospel. Variety brings refreshing to the people and helps them to grow in their spiritual walk.

What is your philosophy and approach when it comes to providing compensation for a guest minister?

I look for ministers who are serious and committed to their ministry. Ministers who will sow into our church something that will last long after the service is over. I want ministers who will help me reach my area and are not just looking for a place to preach or another offering to pay for their ministry.

In bringing in guest ministers, I have never—and will never—bring somebody in who has a set amount they must have. If your ministry is run by money, I don’t need you. In compensating a guest minister, I always take care of their transportation and needs for this ministry. If they fly, I provide their airfare (coach). I have always put our guests in the best accommodations that we could afford. If they drive, I provide fuel expense for their trip.

As for their offering, I have always received an offering for them after the service. I believe the host pastor should receive this offering for the guest speaker, and the guest speaker should never receive his own offering.

Pastors should never be afraid to receive special offerings for the special services and for their guest speakers. I always have a set amount as the base offering, but if more is received in the offering they will receive this also. I use my faith every week for the needs of this ministry and this gives the guest speaker an opportunity to use his faith to meet his needs.

Finally, what benefits has your church received from guest ministers in the past?

By bringing in good, sincere, anointed (known or unknown) ministers, our church has grown both spiritually and numerically. People sometimes need to hear something said from someone else in a different way to get it. Bringing the right ministers into your church will help you to fulfill the vision God gave you.

Pastor Mark Garver – Madison, AL

My philosophy of having in guest ministers has evolved over the years. When the church began, I had guest ministers in as much for me as for the church. I needed the fellowship of those of like precious faith. I encouraged the church from the beginning that when we had guest ministers, we needed to take care of them well so that their gift could fully function. We did the very best we could even with thirty members. We would put them in the best hotel we could, buy their meals, put a basket in the hotel room and give them a love offering. When we started having in ministers, I would use my faith for a good offering, encourage the people with scripture as they gave and give the guest minister ALL of the love offering that came in. I have never kept any of the love offering for expenses. The ministers I had in were my friends and people who were recommended to me by other Pastors. A lot of the friendships I have today were forged during these times. Guest ministers were almost a lifeline to my wife and me during the early stages of the church. I would encourage every Pastor to have in other ministers. It seemed to also be a way the Lord would use to reinforce what I was teaching our church. Probably the first ten years of the church, I would say we averaged about six ministers a year which also included missionaries we supported.

As the church has grown and my needs and the churches needs have changed, we have a different approach to guest ministers. Now, I usually only have in those with a special message, someone who is an “expert” at something that I am not, for example, someone to teach on end times. I would say today we average about three guest ministers a year for Sunday services. I do occasionally have someone minister on a Wednesday night. I have upwards of fifteen missionaries we support, so it is difficult to have all of them come and minister, although we try to have some come every year. I still have the same theory of taking care of ministers. We are now able to provide airfare, a rental car if necessary, a nice hotel, food, give them a basket for their room and treat them with the love and royalty they deserve. Their gift and supply of the Spirit is precious and we treat it as such. I still believe God for a great offering, use Scripture to encourage everyone to sow, and we give them one very large check.

Really, we have not changed very much in the way we treat our guest ministers in twenty two years. We still do the very best we can within our ability and faith. I told our congregation from the very beginning that if we will treat the ministers well, help them to make full proof of their ministry and take care of them financially, God would always send us the very best. We have done our part and He has truly done His part.

Final thought: you as a Pastor, especially in the early stages of your church, need support. If someone is a true itinerant, they will not need a guarantee of finances from you and they will understand where you are as a newer or smaller church. Also, have in itinerants that are starting out just like you. You will grow together and perhaps establish life-long friendships that will be a blessing to you and your church for a number of years.

Pastor Kevin Berry – Lansing, MI

How many guest ministers we have could change from year to year. We have had up to six, while this year we have only one scheduled. The bigger question is what you asked next—what’s the purpose? It is imperative that you have a very specific purpose in mind if you are inviting a guest minister. A couple great questions to ask before inviting a guest minister would be:

  1. What is the Lord saying? Is this an invite you feel He would like you to make?
  2. How will this guest speaker best help the people?
  3. How will this guest speaker support the vision the Lord has given you?

Over the years, I have found that there are some people who are extremely gifted and remarkable speakers, but I don’t get the feeling that they genuinely care for the people or the vision of the church God has called me to lead. They come in, sell lots of books, promote themselves, their events… and they are gone. And I prefer they stay that way… gone. Then there are those that come into the church with respect and honor for the pastor, the vision, and the people. They see themselves as being there to serve the vision and the people.

I think how we treat and compensate guest ministers speaks very much of us. Scripture gives some clear guidelines that we must take to heart.

3 John 5-8
“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.”

This shows us that our faithfulness to treat traveling teachers well is seen as us being faithful to God! There is a way to compensate them that pleases God. This tells me that there is also a way that does not please God. As you support them properly, you get to be partners with them in advancing the Kingdom!

A couple simple guidelines:

  1. Assign a host to be with your guest speaker—treat your guest like royalty.
  2. Always have the church cover their expenses above and beyond the honorarium they receive, such as airfare, rental car, hotel, food, etc.
  3. If you receive an offering for them, let the people know that your guest will receive 100% of the offering; you will not be holding back anything to cover expenses. Read 3 John 5-8 to the church before receiving the offering. Let the church know that this is their opportunity to support a traveling teacher in a way that honors God. Then you set the example and be the first to give.
  4. Honor, encourage, and seek to bless your guest speakers during their time with you. Unfortunately they don’t always get treated properly.
  5. If you are giving them an honorarium in place of an offering, make it big, generous, and extravagant.

Pastor Jeff Jones – Portage, MI

We have always benefitted by having guest ministers come to our church. Typically, we will average around four guests per year. But the last several years we’ve done our best to leverage their time with us. So let me explain how we do this.

For many years we would only have our guests speak at our weekend services. Now we try to maximize their gifts the best we can. If it works for all of our schedules, we’ll have them speak on Saturday night to encourage our key givers, usually in conjunction with a dinner. Sunday mornings we’ll have them speak to our church at large. Occasionally, because we have two Sunday morning services, we’ll have our guests share two unique messages. Sunday night we’ll invite them back to speak in our layman’s Bible School. Then we will wrap up our time together by having them share a fresh word to our staff on Monday morning. So, one guest speaker strategically communicating with different key audiences, bringing great value to our church with every message over two and a half days. Now that’s one full weekend.

Pastor Eddie Turner – Murfreesboro, TN

Approximately how many guest ministers do you have in your pulpit each year?

At FWC, we always have one guest minister a month. At certain times of the year we will have multiple guest ministers in a month (mission’s crusades, divine healing crusade). I have always believed it is important for our people to hear and experience the different gifts, anointing and visions in the Body of Christ.

Do you have a specific purpose when you have a guest minister, and what do you look for in selecting those you will invite to share with your people?

We have a strong emphasis on missions, so the majority of our guest ministers are missionaries. At other times, we have guest ministers whose ministry specializes in certain areas: marriage, family, money management, divine healing, end-time studies, leadership, etc.

What is your philosophy and approach when it comes to providing compensation for a guest minister?

Our desire is to make sure the guest minister leaves more than blessed. We always provide housing in a nice hotel, travel expenses and food expenses while they are with us. We always receive a special offering and add some to it from the church’s general fund. If the guest minister has product to sell, we provide space in a visible location for them to make their products available to the congregation.

What benefits has your church received from guest ministers in the past?

Our church family grows in vision and gains a world view as they listen to missionaries from around the world. We also have the opportunity to receive from ministers who are gifted in special ways. Plus, each guest minister brings their expertise and revelation to our church family that enables spiritual growth.

Pastor Bill Anzevino – Industry, PA

When inviting guest ministers to share the pulpit at our church, I look for those who will strengthen our church and help us fulfill the vision God has given us. Another characteristic I look for is someone who is humble and truly seeks to be a blessing to our people and not just promote his or her own ministry. Like many other pastors, I’ve had some clean-up work to do after a guest minister leaves. This experience causes one to be cautious when deciding who to have in as a guest speaker.

As far as compensation is concerned, we always pay for travel expenses, meals, lodging and have a special offering received for the guest minister. We never take money from the offering to pay for the expenses. We also will add to the offering if we deem it necessary.

The benefits we’ve received include exposing our people to other anointings that exist in the body of Christ. This exposure has resulted in inspiring them to draw closer to God, get involved in supporting the work of the church, and in some cases, giving their lives to follow Christ.

Pastor Jerry Weinzierl – Sterling Heights, MI

Approximately how many guest ministers do you have in your pulpit each year?

From outside of our church, maybe two to three.

Do you have a specific purpose when you have a guest minister, and what do you look for in selecting those you will invite to share with your people?

Yes, the only way we generally have a guest speaker is if it’s tied to something we want to emphasize (discipleship, missions, end times, etc.). I often already have a relationship with them or someone on my staff does.

What is your philosophy and approach when it comes to providing compensation for a guest minister?

We provide an honorarium. We still receive an offering, and at times, it’s more than the honorarium. If it’s a larger offering than the honorarium, we send anything remaining beyond expenses for the meeting to the speaker.

Finally, what benefits has your church received from guest ministers in the past?

Well, in the ‘short run,’ they’ve heard from an outside voice that most likely communicated in a way they’re not use to. There’s value in that. But, as mentioned, the speaker is generally speaking on a subject that we want emphasized as a church, so it’s not just the value of that meeting, but the purposeful building on the information we received that makes the difference in the ‘long run.’ Long term value is what we’re looking for. We attempt to be very intentional in these areas.

Pastor John White – Decatur, AL

At the beginning of each year I seek the Lord as to the direction He wants us to take the church. With that in mind, I seek out ministers that will help me accomplish what the Lords is leading us to do. Men and women that are anointed, proven, and gifted in the area that will help the church reach and fulfill our goal. Never do I have a guest minister in without a specific purpose in mind. I also try to reserve a few dates for our missionaries.

The compensation is always agreed upon before the event takes place. Either we receive an offering or an agreed upon honorarium is given to our guest minister. We also cover all expenses incurred by our guest: travel, lodging, food and if needed, local rental cars. If the guest needs to bring part of their staff, that is worked out ahead of time. I never like surprises. Every detail is agreed upon well in advance.

Paul said in I Corinthians 9:5 in the New Living translation, “Don’t we have the right to bring a wife along with us as the other disciples and the Lord’s brothers and Peter do?” Therefore, if the minister wants to bring their spouse we pay for their expenses as well.

Many times you will not see any immediate results of your meeting. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you get the mind of God before you have your meeting, then you should see some accomplishments. Your church will begin to take on an identity in the community because of the ministers you have in. Whatever reputation your guest minister has, that reputation will also be hung on you. So, make sure you hear God as to who will grace your pulpit.

Pastor Edwin Anderson – Alachua, FL

Approximately how many guest ministers do I have in my pulpit each year?

I have approximately three guest ministers per year. I do not have as many guests as I did in my earlier years of pastoring. I suppose that as our church has matured and solidified in terms of our vision and calling, I have fewer “general purpose” guest ministers.

Do I have a specific purpose when I have a guest minister?

There are a variety of reasons for bringing in a guest minister. I sometimes invite a guest minster in order to expose my congregation to a particular anointing that a traveling minister operates in. Or I might bring in someone who specializes in a particular Bible truth or doctrine that I am not as strong in, for instance, like eschatology. There are times when I enlist a traveling minister to simply bring another perspective to a common Bible topic or emphasis. More times than guest ministers realize, I bring in a guest not so much to help me or my congregation, but to help the guest minister develop his ministry.

Above all others, my foremost reason for having a guest minister in is to support and strengthen what God is already saying and doing in my church. I have been pastoring almost 36 years. I am not trying to find my way, or to discern the will of God for my church or ministry. Because I keep it on front of my congregation, they and I know what our purpose for existing is, and what God has called us to do. These days, I primarily bring people in who can bring further illumination and development along the lines God is already moving in our church.

What do I look for in selecting those I will invite to share with my people?

First, I look for someone who respects the local church, and the pastoral office. Those who are mostly focused upon building their own ministries and gaining a following will generally not be invited. I look for ministers who have a reputation for good overall character and ethics. I also look for balance in preaching and teaching, not someone who tends to gravitate toward gratuitous controversy in doctrine. I look at the long term fruit of a ministry or message.

Traveling minsters should help the churches and pastors they serve. But I have found that sometimes their concept of helping the churches are misguided, even bordering on arrogance. A guest minister should not presume to offer subtle (or not so subtle) suggestions to the pastor on how to run his church or handle his church members. Since the traveling minister is not graced with the pastoral anointing, how likely is it that he will have the insight to pastor the church he is visiting? It is absurd, really. Those guests are not usually invited back.

What is my philosophy and approach when it comes to providing compensation for a guest minister?

When I have a guest minister in my church, I pay all their reasonable travel expenses, and their food and lodging out of the church funds. I do not deduct the expenses of the meetings out of the guest’s offerings. I take up one offering per service, with all checks made payable to the church. I total the offerings received for the guest, and issue one check to the guest for the total amount that came in. I am fine with my guests offering their ministry products to my congregation, but I do not allow them to solicit my church members to join their “mailing list” or to become ministry “partners.”

What benefits has my church received from guest ministers in the past?

The church members’ primary source of ministry should be their pastor, not a traveling minister. That being said, the pastor should not think he is the only minister his church needs. The Body of Christ needs all the ministry gifts and ministries. A pastor friend once asked me why I had so many guest ministers in my church. Actually, I do not have an unusual number of guests, but this pastor rarely opened his pulpit to anyone else. I told him it was because Jesus set the five-fold ministry gifts in the church in order to equip the saints for ministry, and that I had no right to dismiss them.

One example of the benefit my church has received from a guest minister involves a guest teacher named Larry Hutton. Many years ago, I had Rev. Hutton in to conduct a four-day seminar on the subject of divine healing. There was a lady who had been in my church for over four years. She struggled with depression. I had laid hands on her, rebuked the depression, counseled her, and taught her. But she still struggled with depression. I was always strong on the subject of healing, and often taught on our covenant right to healing and deliverance from any kind of bondage. The Sunday after Bro. Hutton left, this lady came up to me beaming like a neon sign. “I got it! I got it!” she said. I asked what she had gotten. She said that as Bro. Hutton taught on the subject of divine healing, she suddenly understood that she did not need Jesus to heal her of depression because he had already healed her 2000 years ago. She said she saw that all she had to do was receive her healing and deliverance. She said that she also suddenly realized that I had been saying the same thing for four years. It took her a few more months to walk through it, but then she was completely free from depression!

Often, a guest minster can teach on the same truths the pastor has taught on, but he will express them differently, or present them in a way that opens them up to people who have failed to receive illumination. Would this dear lady eventually have received the understanding she needed from my teaching? I would like to think so, but the fact remained that in spite of the breadth of my biblical knowledge, the weight of my healing anointing, and my silver tongued erudition, after four years, she still had not gotten it! No minister can do it all! We all need each other, and we need all the ministry gifts. I was just grateful she got the help she needed. That was over 25 years ago, and that lady is still free from depression! Praise God!

Pastor Thom Fields – Kennewick, WA

I don’t always invite guest speakers in to speak based upon the same criteria. Some are gifted to encourage the body, while others are more specialized in equipping our team of leaders. There are very few who have been extremely effective doing both. A speaker that is well received by our leadership team isn’t always embraced with the same fervor by our congregation. Therefore, we pray very hard regarding who we’re bringing in. I’m much more inclined to invite a speaker that can help me grow my leaders than one who can inspire the house.

We do not open the door to guest speakers very often. Two or three guests a year is a lot for us. The main reason for this decision is based upon our ability to properly compensate our guests. We make sure that we are prepared to be a blessing to those we wish to bless us. If we can’t afford to invite them, we don’t. This also includes ALL travel expenses and meals, housing, car rentals, etc.

We believe compensation should be based upon a number of differing criteria including congregation size, demand placed upon the speaker (number of services the guest will minister), speaker’s source of income (a visiting pastor versus an evangelist or missionary), and relationship with the Church. The only thing we DO NOT DO at our church is allow the guest to receive their own offering. If this is a requirement from the visiting minister, we simply do not invite them. It’s just our “personal policy.”

The greatest impact we’ve experienced from our guests has been realized amongst our staff and leadership team. They’ve been elevated to higher levels of effectiveness from gaining insights and deeper understanding of their own roles and overall calling. Not to say that the body, as a whole, hasn’t benefited from guest speakers. It’s just much easier to measure growth among the leaders.

With all that said, PRAYER is the most crucial ingredient when considering a guest speaker. I’m certain that I do not always know who or who not … why or why not … BUT GOD DOES!

Pastor Aimee Flanders – Lebanon, MO

As far as how many guest ministers we have each year, it is about three to four.

We believe in quality over quantity. We have found that the teaching of the pastor is the most important foundation for the congregation, and then adding to that foundation with teaching from a few guest ministers each year is best for us.

Typically, we will have a guest minister in for special events, such as a volunteer event, women’s event, etc. For example, in April, we will be doing a Wednesday night series on Marriage, and we will be hosting some different ministers each Wednesday to get different viewpoints. Also, we may have a guest minister in if the Pastor is going to be gone. It’s important to us to have guest ministers in that we have built relationships with.

In regards to compensation, we will do one of two things; either receive a special offering, or just give an honorarium of a set amount. We also take care of travel expenses as well. We feel that having a guest minister in is an investment in our people, so we always want to sow into their ministries accordingly.

Hospitality for Guest Ministers

When hosting guest ministers, we try to be very sensitive to their travel schedule and try not to overwhelm them with meals. We always ask ahead of time what types of snacks and food they prefer, and when they prefer to eat. We find that many times a minister will prefer not to eat before they preach. We always give them the option of eating after service, or going back to their hotel because sometimes they are just tired from ministering. We also try to be sensitive to who we invite with us when we take them out to eat or serve them meals. We may invite some staff members, but we don’t want to overwhelm them with a lot of people. Also, we used to do gift baskets in their rooms, but we found that if they have flown, it is hard for them to get a basket and everything back home. Instead, we will sometimes just do a small gift of appreciation.

Pastor Jeff Erlemeier – Harlan, IA

I consider inviting guest ministers to speak at our church an important part of what I do as a pastor. I recognize that there are a variety of gifts within the Body of Christ and our church can certainly benefit from those gifts in addition to mine as their pastor. We try to have in four or five guest ministers per year. We have discovered that doing so provides a great boost to our church every quarter or so.

Our purpose in inviting guest ministers to our church is manifold. The primary purpose is to allow our church to be blessed by and exposed to the different giftings within the Body. We have seen tremendous blessing by people who are anointed to teach, preach, pray for the sick, and prophesy as the Spirit leads. Our secretary and her husband are two of the greatest blessings in our church. They first visited on a Sunday when we had a guest minister. The Holy Spirit spoke directly to their hearts by this person who was a complete stranger to them. They were so profoundly impacted that they have been coming and serving faithfully since that time, which was over eight years ago!

We also like to have in some of the missionaries that our church supports. This allows our people to get to know those that they are supporting in prayer and financially. As the hearts of the people grow closer to those they are supporting, several of our members end up going on short term mission trips to assist them. That ends up being a great blessing both ways.

The first thing I consider when it comes to inviting a guest minister is whether or not they are of like precious faith and grounded in the Word. I don’t want a situation that is going to cause more harm than good. Secondly, I consider what types of giftings and graces would benefit our church at that particular time. I also like to consider if they would be a good fit to have into our church. I normally spend time seeking the Lord about who to have in each year.

I like to encourage the people of our church to sow generously into the ministries that come to bless our church. I remind them that these are ministers of God and that we need to respect and honor them with our giving. Often times our church will sow extra, in addition to what the people give, into the ministries we host because we want to see them blessed and able to keep doing what God has called them to do. We also take it upon ourselves to offer the best accommodations possible, as well as quality meals, snacks, and any supplies needed for their room to make their stay enjoyable.

Our church has been impacted in so many different ways by our guest ministers that it is hard to put into words. There have been incredibly rich teachings which have really helped people gain understanding of certain truths. We have seen numerous healings and miracles. We have seen people get connected for future mission trips. We have seen people receive words that have confirmed things in their heart concerning the plan and purpose of God for their lives. We have also seen numerous decisions where people either got saved or rededicated their lives to Christ.

In conclusion, hosting guest ministers is one of the great blessings that I enjoy as a pastor for myself and our church. I don’t take it lightly and neither does our church. I am very thankful for the relationships that have been built as a result. I look forward to seeing what else God has in store for these important times with our guests going forward!

Pastor Kempie Womble – Savannah, GA

Who needs guest ministers anyway?

Well, we all do. Guest ministers can be a vital ingredient to the life of your church. We usually plan to have around three to four guest ministers in our church each year. Prior to the first of the year, we pray for what direction God wants concerning the church, and then choose guest ministers who will take us in that direction. We have hosted ministers with different anointings on topics such as marriage, finances, and healing. Also, we have ministers who specialize in the training of our volunteers and church leadership. The key is to make sure they have an anointing.

As pastors, we have a huge responsibility to feed and protect the people God has sent us. Everything including who to schedule as a guest minister must be guided with prayer. A guest minister can either fuel or halt the direction the church is going. Key ingredients: Do they carry an anointing? What will they bring to your church? Where else have they spoken? Did another minister recommend them? Is there a special reason why you will have them? Over the years we have learned not just to have a guest minister because they called you on the phone over and over wanting to speak at your church. The key is to be sensitive to the voice of God and know what God wants for your church.

Guest ministers can have a huge impact on your congregation. For example, my Dad had been a member of my church for years and had heard the faith message on healing preached over and over, but never got the revelation that it was God’s will to heal everyone. No matter how many times it was preached from the pulpit it wasn’t until a guest minister came and ministered on healing did my dad get his revelation that it was God’s will to heal everyone. It was the right word at the right time. It’s real funny that you can preach a message numerous times, and yet some people never seem to get it. Then a guest minister comes in preaching the same message and a light comes on and they grab hold of it, and it changes their life. Yes, guest ministers are a vital ingredient to your church. Whatever it takes to get the Word alive in the people of your church, just do it.


We believe that if we will honor those God sends, then God will send us those He honors. 1 Timothy 5:17-18 says to pay them well for those who work hard at both preaching and teaching. There’s one thing that we don’t do and that’s take up a special offering to meet the budget of the speaker. Instead, we receive an offering to honor the man or woman of God. It’s very important that we teach our church how to honor who God brings. It’s important that we not only give a honorarium, but cover all expenses the minister has while he or she is away from home, which includes travel, food, and accommodations. If the offering is not sufficient then the church needs to sow into their ministry. One way to do this is to be prepared and allow for this in your budget for the year. After all, you cannot put a dollar value on the power of the Word. No one can pay a minister his true worth. The bottom line is that you try to bless the minister’s socks off. It’s like making an investment. It will pay off in your church in the long run. We are talking about a life changing message and that’s priceless.

Pastor Mike Campbell – Algood, TN

Over the years we have hosted many speakers and guests that have ministered to the body here at Trinityalgood. There are many approaches that churches can take with regards to this issue. Here at Trinity, we have found a few things that we go by and use as our policy.

  1. We tend to cater to ministers that will impart something to our congregation. The Apostle Paul did not require anything of the churches, but he always had something to give to them. So we consider those who will impart and enlarge our people. We also look for those whose vision will align with the vision of this house.
  1. Since our church is a mission’s church, most of the speakers we host are missions-related speakers whom we know and find that they are making an impact for the kingdom of God through crusades, church plants, and discipleship.
  1. We sponsor missionaries, evangelist, and other para-ministries monthly, so we treat them differently than those who we have that are not regularly supported. Depending on the projects and need, we sometimes take an offering for those we regularly sponsor. Many times I will give those whom we regularly sponsor, an honorarium and pay their expenses to come so that they do not have a loss to be at my church.
  1. For those who are not regularly sponsored monthly by the church, I will always receive an offering (usually at the end of the ministry on Sunday mornings) and pay all expenses out of our general fund so that all that comes in the offering that day will go directly to them. We do not take expenses out of the offering since we are asking the people to give and believe that they have an abundance for every good work.
  1. We typically have no more than five guests on a Sunday morning for the year who will have the full service. On many occasions we will give missionaries a 10 minute window on our Sunday morning services to update the people and give vision. Sometimes I will use Wednesday nights to fill the pulpit when I am away. This is reserved for people whose ministry I am very familiar with and we give them an honorarium and pay expenses. Our honorarium is compensatory with the ministry that is presenting.

As a side note, I will consider what I would like for someone to bless me with when I speak. I would rather be guilty of a generous gift rather than not, when it comes to honorariums. You can be assured that word gets around when you are not generous and I want people to leave Trinityalgood with a good taste in their mouth about the God we serve. Two scriptures we use to judge this by are Luke 10:7 – The laborer is worthy of hire and Proverbs 14:4 – Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but, much increase comes by the strength of an ox. This is why we should be selective and generous to those who speak into the lives of our people.

Pastor Bobby Marks – Dothan, AL

I normally have five to six guest ministers each year. That number includes those that we have minister on a Sunday and Wednesday night. I usually have three to four stateside ministers and one to two missionaries each year.

When I invite a guest minister to come, I usually have a topic/subject that I ask them to minister on, which is usually a subject that they minister on somewhat of a regular basis. Before I have anyone that I do not know/have not had them minister in our pulpit, I will have talked with them and ask who they have ministered for in the past year. I have called pastors to ask them how well this person was received and were they easy to work with. I only have people in who I feel good about and who have a good reputation among other ministers/pastors.

In regards to compensation, we receive special offerings for our guest ministers. After we have counted the offering, we normally add some money to the total that we have received. We really want to be a blessing to our guest ministers. We provide reimbursement for their travel expenses and pay for their lodging and food while they are with us.

Our church has received many benefits from guest ministers over the years. We have had many people healed, the church blessed and encouraged to continue reaching people with the love and power of God, and revelation from God’s Word that has truly changed the hearts and lives of individuals and families. I believe there is definitely a need for anointed traveling ministers who have a heart to help local churches reach lost people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and equip the saints to be involved in ministering to people wherever they may be.

Pastor Duane Hanson – St. Paul, MN

The scope of this month’s question covers a variety of issues, and each of these: the quantity, purpose, compensation and benefits of having in a guest speaker, could easily be its own topic for the month! It was a real challenge where to start, but I’ll begin with what we believe is the purpose for bringing a guest speaker into our church, and hopefully the other questions will fall in line with that thought. I believe we must first consider the principles Paul taught to the church in Ephesus.

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. ~ Ephesians 4:11-16 (KJV)

This is a well-known passage in our circles, and yet the significance gets overlooked when people fail to understand the importance of bringing other ministry gifts, and other “voices” into the local church.

Other translations make the point very clear, and when we compare and combine the emphasis of these various translations, we end up with this thought: …His [God’s] intention ~ and the purpose of these gifts He gave to the Church ~ and their responsibility within the Church ~ is the perfecting ~ equipping ~ qualifying & training of the saints ~ to prepare His people for the work of the ministry ~ to edify and build up the Church ~ and bring the Body of Christ to a place of strength and maturity.

We intentionally bring in various ministry gifts that we believe will accomplish God’s desired purpose as stated above by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter four.

Back in the early Eighties when we pioneered our church, the custom was to bring in a guest speaker almost every month! However, in today’s culture of instant access to “10,000 teachers” through an ever increasing array of mediums, the Church has become overwhelmed with options. Therefore, we seek the Lord for specific direction regarding what our congregation will need to hear in the coming year.

We currently schedule only two or three major events each year, and we do our best to plan well in advance whenever possible. There are also times we take advantage of a scheduling situation when we know a guest speaker will be with another church in our community. For instance, we have a Marriage Seminar scheduled for this Spring, and the plans have been in the works for months. However, we recently took advantage of scheduling a guest speaker on short notice when we discovered he [Rev. Tony Cooke!] was going to be with another church in our metroplex.

On other occasions, we have combined forces with one or two other churches in our community and brought in a guest speaker and shared the cost and coordinated their schedule among the different churches (we have our main service on Saturday night, so it works well to share a minister with a church who has a Sunday morning service, and another with a Sunday evening service). Splitting the cost three ways is very prudent these days!

We plan the budget for a guest speaker as best we can, and work out the details to help cover the hotel, meals, and travel expenses; setting aside in advance the necessary funds whenever possible. This is especially true when considering the overall cost of hosting a guest speaker for a major event, like our Marriage Seminar. We do not expect the guest speaker to take their expenses out of the honorarium. They are coming to minster based upon our request, and therefore the expenses of that event become our responsibility. We will usually issue a separate check to their ministry if we have agreed to reimburse the guest speaker for expenses, assuming we have not already covered them ourselves.

Again, I must admit, there’s so much that could be said about the subject covered this month. This question could easily have been broken into individual questions and stretched out over the next four or five months! However, if we purpose to be faithful to the principles we’ve read in Ephesians chapter four, our guest ministers will hear from heaven and bring just the right message that our churches will need to hear! Simply put, we’re responsible to seek God’s direction, and trust the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of God’s Ministry Gifts when they minister to His Church!

Rev. Guinn Shingleton – Oviedo, FL

Approximately how many guest ministers do you have in your pulpit each year? 

My answer is a “then and now” response. When I began pastoring, it seems I had a guest speaker once a month. There were several reasons:  (1) I was still new at my calling and appreciated someone else filling the pulpit for a week; (2) Friends I had made at Bible school were looking for opportunities to minister and found few open doors to sharpen their skills; (3) I wanted seasoned ministers who could bring a “word in due season” to benefit both me and the congregation.

Ultimately, I would have in two or three guest ministers per year.

Do you have a specific purpose when you have a guest minister, and what do you look for in selecting those you will invite to share with your people? 

By about my fifth year of pastoring, I was more discerning and selective when inviting guest ministers. As I had opportunity to hear other ministers, by audio or in person, I developed a sense of who could bring messages on faith, healing, family, etc., from a different perspective that might help my congregation better grasp important biblical concepts. It was amazing how many times the Lord would bring seasoned ministers into my life who happily agreed to come to my church. By and large, these ministers deposited spiritual truths that I was able to build upon in my congregation through line-upon-line teaching. There were times that I missed it with guest ministers I had in. If there wasn’t a big doctrinal error, I would keep it to myself, but I wouldn’t invite him back and I would teach on the subject with clarity so that the congregation wouldn’t be in error or confusion.

What is your philosophy and approach when it comes to providing compensation for a guest minister? 

We always tried to be a blessing to our guest speakers which is why we eventually began scheduling on a quarterly basis. Regardless of how wonderful many of the guest ministers were, I could not continually expect the congregation to invest into a guest minister every few weeks and still move forward with the vision of our church. So we began to store up finances little by little to make sure we could bless the minister.

As to how much we gave each minister, it varied. I would always ask the guest minister how much they needed to meet their budget. Most replied that they only wanted transportation, a room, and a love offering. About a month before the guest speaker arrived, I would begin talking about the meetings more often and encourage the congregation to begin setting aside a special offering as the Lord led them. On rare occasions I would take up offerings a couple of weeks ahead of the meetings to help cover expenses.

Finally, what benefits has your church received from guest ministers in the past?

Over the years, we were blessed to have all of the five-fold ministry ministering at our church. Each one brought a distinct message and deposit for us. The teacher kept us in the center of God’s Word. The prophet helped keep us alert to what the Lord is doing in the earth now and in the immediate future. The evangelist stirred our hearts for soul-winning. The apostle (missionary) helped us keep our eyes on the mission fields. And of course, the pastor guides the flock and keeps them fed and safe. I suggest that you always keep a fresh supply of the ministry gifts flowing through your church; but always be sure that you, as pastor, be the one who casts the vision and guides the flock.

Pastor Doug Foutty – Parkersburg, WV

We only have one or two guest ministers a year for us. I wish we could have more, but I want to be able to treat them right. We are a small congregation. I might look for someone who has a ministry that leans in a certain direction that I want my people to glean from. I pay an honorarium rather than taking up a special offering at this time. Our people benefit from hearing a different voice with different illustrations from their lives, but the same message. I think it is a great thing to have guest speakers in. 

Pastor John Lowe – Warsaw, IN

I try to have a guest minister on the months that have five Sundays. This helps us as well as the speaker. I never have anyone I have not heard or know.

Financially, I was told years ago to give the guest minister at least what I make a week. Well, that was much then or now, when you consider double expense. I travel a lot myself, but I never ask for travel expense. My church doesn’t pay them either. I am not making a living though. So we receive an offering and we plan on adding to the total if it is not what I think a good offering from us should be.

I have cut back on who I have and depend more and more on long term relationships. Sorry newbies, but I didn’t call you and I don’t have to host you.

Pastor Jesse Zepeda – Pflugerville, TX

Things have changed concerning traveling ministers. Most of the ones we used to host are not in the field anymore. So now we host traveling missionaries that pass by the Austin area. Sometimes we don’t have enough time to promote or advertise, but we always cancel our services to allow them to come and minister and share what God is doing in the world through their ministry. We provide meals and a hotel for their stay and we receive a special offering on their behalf. Our church gets blessed by knowing we may not go, but we support those who do.

We, Pastor Rose and myself, have our elders and/or their wives minister from time to time. They are well qualified and are a blessing to our church.

Pastor Rob Wynne – Linden, AL

We look to have three to four ministers yearly. Our purpose in having another minister is to expand our people both in revelation of our Lord and in the moving of His Spirit. We want our folks to have what they need spiritually to win in every area of their lives. We want each person to be able to affect their families, friends, school mates, coworkers, other church members and people they will encounter as they live their lives in Christ.

The first requirement is that they have character—not be a character. We are already adding the core values that I mentioned in the previous paragraph along with a list too long to mention. I believe the Word requires me to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ and to provide an atmosphere for God’s Spirit to move as exemplified in the Book of Acts. I want our guest ministers to have the same mandate that Dad Hagin passed to Pastor Hagin and Lynnette. I normally look for Rhema people. We do, of course, depend upon our witness in our selection of ministers. I am not impressed in the least little bit when someone is a name dropper or bragger. I like to know the folks that I invite.

Although Rose and I treat people as our guest, each minister is actually a temporary staff member that is working off of the reputation we have worked hard to build. We provide monies for transportation, food and lodging. We also provide a love offering. We do not invite anyone that we don’t already have the capability to compensate, even if no money comes in during the love offering. We will make sure that there is a generous love offering. We treat others as well or better than we want to be treated ourselves.

We have in most cases, been very blessed by the character, the messages, the vast experience and the sensitivity of other ministers to God’s Spirit. In the sixteen and a half years that I have been at Cornerstone Church as pastor, I cannot remember ever having any members added to my congregation due to a guest minister. Unfortunately, I have had to “clean up” after a guest minister(s) did something questionable without my permission. I have been insulted and have had my wife insulted too.  Fortunately, only a minute number of people that we have invited have conducted themselves in a manner that excludes them from our guest list ever again.

Rev. Tony Cooke is the cream of the crop. If you are interested in knowing how to interact with pastors, he is your man. I can’t say enough about his impeccable character. By the way, I offer this last statement free and of no charge to Tony Cooke!!