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If They Pay You to Speak, is it Ministry, or Business?

  • Rebekah Montgomery Editor, Right to the Heart of Women
  • 2007 30 Jul
If They Pay You to Speak, is it Ministry, or Business?

When it comes to ministry and money, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Look over these examples. Where do you fit? What fits you? Most importantly, how is God telling you to handle this?

Ministry By Faith

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” (Acts 16:9-NIV)

Like Paul, for most of us, it’s not about money. Perhaps you also hear voices of women calling for help in your sleep. So when you speak, it is about answering the vision God has given you — not collecting your honorarium.

Here’s something about Paul’s “ministry fees” you’ll want to remember: Paul’s first contact and convert in Macedonia was Lydia, a businesswoman to the rich and famous of Philippi. She not only made sure Paul met her influential clientele, she provided for him financially.

God has called some of us to ministry by faith. We receive a vision, step out and go to Macedonia — or Paducah — and God provides a Lydia in the person of a supportive husband, a sponsor, or maybe a financial bequest.

Ministry By Making Tents

Paul… went to Corinth. There he met Aquila with his wife Priscilla and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue… (Excerpts from Acts 18:1-4)

A few years ago, I encountered an elderly but spry widow woman preaching the Gospel outside Jerusalem’s Joppa Gate. She told me that she has preached on 7 continents and that her ministry is self-supported — by selling cosmetics!

God has called some of us to minister by “making tents” or working with our talents to support our ministry. Right to the Heart of Women eZine’s main sponsor, Jubilant Press , is one such “tentmaker ministry.”


“...for the worker is worthy of his support.” (Matthew 10:10)

Jesus said it. We believe it. But even so, this area can be awkward to talk about.

Kathy Collard Miller’s book, The Complete Guide to Speaking Professionally , addresses the subject of ministry-for-hire. Here is a small excerpt:

“Most people do not understand the expenses that a speaker has. There are costs like office supplies, telephone charges, dry cleaning, specialized clothing, automobile expenses, printing costs, and mailing costs. Though we may speak for only one hour at an event, a lot more time and energy is expended to do that.

“The most awkward part of fees, obviously, is actually discussing them with the meeting planner. If they do bring it up themselves and ask, “What do you charge?” I respond by asking, “What do you have available in your budget for the speaker?” If they respond with an amount that is more than you usually request, you can cheerfully say, “Thank you very much.” If it is less than you usually request, you can say something like, “Well, I usually request such and such an amount. Is there any way that you can raise your budget?” You must decide whether you are willing to take the lower fee.

“Although this is indeed an awkward part of our ministry, talking to knowledgeable people and seeking the Lord's guidance will give you greater confidence in determining your fees.”

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Rebekah Montgomery is the editor of Right to the Heart of Women e-zine, a publisher at Jubilant Press, and the author of numerous books on spiritual growth. She can be contacted for comments, reprint requests or speaking engagements at © Rebekah Montgomery 2007. For reprint requests, contact Rebekah at her website,