Kingdom leaders are often given invitations to teach and preach the Word of God to others. This is a humbling and sobering responsibility. “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God…” 1 Peter 4:11 NIV
There may come invitations to speak to groups outside of your normal ministry audience. How do you process those invitations? How do you respond to the question about speaking fees? Below are some guidelines that have helped me over the years regarding speaking invitations.
- Receive the invitation graciously and with thankfulness. Respond promptly so the event planner knows if they need to keep looking for another speaker.
- If you already have another commitment, say ‘no’ graciously and if desired, suggest another speaker for the event.
- Never accept or reject an invitation to minister the Word of God to others based upon the size of the audience or the amount of the honorarium.
- If choosing between different invitations on the same dates, select based upon most alignment with your personal mission statement.
- When asked whether you have a ‘speaking fee’ here is how I respond.
- “I would hope that you will be able to pay for my travel expenses (flights, rental car, personal car mileage, meals, lodging).”
- “Beyond these expenses I don’t charge a fee to speaking. Whatever your event budget allows is fine. All honorariums are gratefully accepted.”
- Because I don’t make a living from my speaking ministry, all income from this is ‘extra’ income. Our donor base generously supports our personal ministry and should I accept additional speaking engagements outside of our regular ministry responsibilities, any income generated is extra.
- Should you be making a living from your speaking and writing (i.e. you are an author and are invited to speak re your book contents), then it seems a speaking fee could be appropriate. Just be sure that the amount charged for speaking is appropriate for the audience. Religious non-profits don’t have the same budgets as corporate enterprises.
- Entrust your provision and reward to the Lord. He will provide for you and your family whether you have a ‘speaking fee’ or not.
Remember the lesson from the leadership of Nehemiah who entrusted himself to the Lord –
But the earlier governors–those preceding me–placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. … I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people. Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people. Nehemiah 5:15, 18-19 NIV