Guidelines for Clergy Honoraria

How much to pay the pastor for his services

A common question for those engaging the services of clergy for special occasions is, “What is the acceptable honorarium range for a pastor performing a private ceremony such as a wedding or funeral?”

Research shows that the current rule of thumb is somewhere in the $150-$300 (USD) range for special clergy services. This (or the equivalent) is consistent in North America and Europe for the year 2009.

Explanation

Weddings:

Minimum Scenario: The officiating pastor will spend a bare minimum of three to four hours working on a wedding ceremony. This would include 1-3 hours at the rehearsal and 1-4 hours at the actual ceremony and reception, plus preparation time.

Maximum Scenario: A “full-service” wedding from the pastors’ side of things could include as much as 10 -20 hours of labor over a period of several weeks if premarital counseling is included.

Funerals:

Minimum Scenario: The officiating pastor will spend a bare minimum of two to four hours working on a funeral or memorial service. This would include 1-2 hours meeting with the bereaved and 1-2 hours at the actual ceremony and reception, plus preparation time.

Maximum Scenario: A “full-service” funeral from the pastors’ side of things could include as much as 5-10 hours of labor if counseling is included.

Rationale

Unless he is a close personal friend, a pastor is forfeiting other options for the time spent to participate and be at the disposal of the parties concerned. Even if he is also a friend, he is not simply a guest at the event, but an essential part of the ceremony. He will most certainly be held responsible in some way for its outcome.

Moreover, a pastor often has specialized training and extensive experience, which he brings to the event in order to make sure it goes smoothly as well as make it inspiring and memorable. These skills are certainly worth something to ensure a positive outcome for such important occasions.

Few clergy are doing what they do simply for the money. However, other professionals with a similar level of training and experience often charge $50 to $150 (USD) per hour for their services. While most pastors earn very modest salaries, they often they charge little or nothing up front for their service and expertise on these special occasions. A thoughtful and appreciative beneficiary of their services might do well to “honor” them by giving as generous an honorarium as their means allow.

Michael Bogart mbogart.com


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Rev. 05/09


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Comments 6 comments

Robert W. 6 years ago

Thank you very much-this is very helpful for us


Mike Bogart 6 years ago

I am glad this is helpful. Mike Bogart


Pastor Bev Sesink 6 years ago

This was very helpful. I sent it to several couples about to be married as this is a common but uncomfortable question that people need to ask.


mike bogart 6 years ago

Glad to be of service.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Thank you and amen!


celafoe profile image

celafoe 3 years ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

for clergy hirelings this might be ok but for a new testament servant ministry this is garbage.

First there is no clergy in the new testament church. There is NO man to stand before the people. ALL are equal and some just have more responsiblities. Jesus shed His blood to allow each man direct personal relationship with Him (God)

As was God's original plan as we see in the garden

Here is what scripture says about rulers (clergy) , in the new testament.

Matt 20:25 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Mark 10:42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

and to charge people for the services they are contributing to the church to pay for (clergy salary) is an abomination. But that's what hirelings do.

The unscriptural clergy/laity pattern along with the unscriptural pastor are both taken from the apostate catholic church by the churches of men. and both are an abomination.

If you want to give a small gift that's fine but to charge a fee it must not be a Christian church as there is no scripture for that in the new testament.

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