Saturday, August 11, 2018

Paid to preach?

In most churches it is common practice to pay the speaker (preacher, teacher, evangelist or pastor) for his speech.

This custom originates from the apostle Paul's exhortation in 1 Corinthians 9:14 where he states: the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. So far, so good.

Although Paul endorses this custom, he never made use of it himself. He continues in verse 15 with the following personal statement: Yet I have never used any of these rights. And I am not writing this to suggest that I want to start now. In fact, I would rather die than lose my right to boast about preaching without charge.

Wow, strong words. He would rather die than preaching for money. So what is it? Should preachers get paid or should they deny payment? It seems a very personal choice, Paul is sharing with us. He made a living as a tent maker (see Acts 18:3) and probably did not need anyone to pay him for sharing the Good News. I wonder, however, why he uses such strong words to explain his choice... I mean, to rather die than getting paid for a good sermon... come on! (his comment made me think though... here's a radical preacher!)

Personally, I was able to make my choice as well. When I get invited to speak somewhere I do not ask for a honorarium. I do not make use of my rights, so to speak. Why not? Because I consider myself a 'tent maker', just like Paul. I work for a living and as long as I get to do that, I can freely speak everywhere. If the host insists in giving me something, I propose an offering for our non-profit organization Traveling Light.

When someone has no income from a secular job, it would be wise to receive payment for preaching/teaching, right? Maybe one day I will make use of my rights, who knows.

I am curious to hear your take on this... Do you get to speak at conferences, in churches or at women's meetings? Do you get paid to preach?

PS: I teach on paper as well 😀If you haven't done so already, you can order my latest e-book IN MY NAME on Amazon for just 2.99.


  1. Our pastor is full-time at our church and draws a salary. I think that's fair.

    I know of a bible teacher who speaks and also writes books, but lives off of the book sales and does not accept a fee for appearances.

    Imagine if we knew a teacher or preacher who lived a simple life in a one room apartment and traveled at their own expense, but could have made millions teaching. It would speak volumes. Kind of like Mother Theresa.

    I don't know the right answer. I just know that seeing fancy people glorying in their riches kinda makes me sick.

    1. I am glad there is not one 'right' way to do it Sandi, as I wrote... we can make personal choices like the apostle Paul did. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

  2. Marja: I recently read the autobiography of George Mueller. After a while, he chose to NOT take a salary from the congregation where he preached. He eventually went to England and relied solely on God to supply his needs and the needs of his ministry. Several years ago, I was asked to lead a Sunday
    service in the absence of our pastor. A week or so later, the treasurer handed me an envelope. I thought it was money to reimburse me for something else. No, It was the amount the church would have paid a pulpit-supply pastor. The fact that they did this humbled me.

    1. That is certainly a nice example of good stewardship Cecelia, of treating people on an equal basis. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Marja, great points you make here. Paul was absolutely radical!!! And your book, I'm still checking and trusting that despite the fact that it may have gotten lost, God knows where it is and it will arrive sooooooon!
    God bless

    1. Unbelievable that it takes so long for that book to arrive. We must keep hope!


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