How Much to Pay a Pastor for a Wedding

Many of you who plan to get married in the future can think right away of the pastor you would want to do your wedding.  Even if you don’t, nearly every state requires a member of the clergy to officiate a legally recognized wedding.  Since this is the case and because budgeting is such a key component of planning a successful wedding, how much should you pay a pastor for a wedding?  What are other key factors should you keep in mind when you contact your pastor? What is the typical compensation range for a pastor who does your wedding? Total compensation can vary based on the amount of time and effort you receive from your pastor.  For example, some pastors require as many as four to six pre-marital counseling sessions prior to that special day. If you are receiving that counseling from another source, then it will obviously require less time, although the officiating pastor will want input from those sessions.  Regardless, most pastors won’t simply “show up” for that special day without some preparation involved.  Here is a suggested pay scale for pastors depending on the circumstances: Greater than $300 – A generous gift $300 – A wedding with advance preparation and pre-marital counseling $150 – A wedding with some advance preparation but no pre-marital counseling $100 – A small wedding with little preparation I can speak from personal experience of the value of pre-marital counseling.  God used that time to confirm many things about our decision but also revealed areas we needed to be better equipped and prepared for as a couple.  One pastor that has conducted numerous weddings states: Couples come to the pastor thinking that they know everything when they are ignorant of what they don’t know.  I will attach a “Questions for Better Communication” sheet that I use to send couples out on a date to simply talk about those questions that they haven’t asked each other yet.  I have yet to have a couple come back that says, “We have already talked about all of these before.” (Still not sure how much to give? Here are some giving quotes for inspiration.) How much notice is recommended? Every pastor I spoke with stated, “The sooner the better”, but all indicated that the ideal amount of lead time to officiate a wedding is six to nine months.  Most pastors have a very busy schedule and anything less will make it difficult to work into their ministry plans for the year.  Also, a six to nine month notice provides the necessary time to schedule and complete any pre-marital counseling.  Notices two to three months or less will most like find the pastor’s schedule already filled. What questions should I be prepared to answer when I call the pastor? As I surveyed pastors, four common questions surfaced: When do you want to get married (date and time)? Where do you want to get married? Do you have someone doing pre-marital counseling with you?  If not, are you willing to go through that together? When can we meet together to do some initial talking and planning? What are other important considerations will a pastor take into consideration? Plan early and often – Most pastors will want the couple to think through what they want and not look to the pastor as a sort of pseudo-wedding coordinator. Similar spiritual convictions – Pastors will want to determine if both the husband and wife recognize that the basis of authority for their marriage is the Bible.  In addition, he will dig deeper to determine if both view marriage as a partnership and are on the same page.  For example, are future plans, mutual plans?  Are both sensitive to each other’s needs and desires, and how they will do life together, etc.? Be honest and forthright – The officiating pastor will need this to know where they stand and to serve you effectively.  Important questions need to be addressed, such as are you marrying in opposition to your parents’ will? Are you pregnant and trying to hurry things along?  Have you been married before?  Some of this will come out in your pre-marital discussions but you should not allow for any surprises. Get the whole story out there and allow the pastor to make an informed decision about participating with you in your blessed day. Follow-through – Determine up front if you are willing to follow through with the recommendations of the pastor, such as timing, issues that arise in pre-marital counseling, and other observations that may surface from an outside person looking in at your relationship. Enjoy the journey  – It is far too easy for couples to get caught up in trying to please numerous people, manage budgets, etc., and miss out on the joy that can be experienced leading up to the big day.  Purpose up front to not become overwhelmed and to enjoy each moment together. If you’re married, share your experience with the readers.  How much did you pay your pastor for your wedding?  Leave a comment below! Related Articles: How to Say “Thank You” to a Pastor: 20 Great Ways Pay your pastor well Premarital Financial Counseling: Questions To Ask Wedding Budgets: Slash Expenses With These 5 Tips! Chris McDaniel is the Chief Business Development Officer for DELTA Ministries International (DELTA) and author of Igniting a Life of Generosity . Chris loves to spend time with this wife, bumping the volleyball with his daughter, playing catch with his son, serving the “least of these”, pizza, snowboarding, running half marathons, and seeing followers of Christ become generous givers.

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How to Raise Support for Short-Term Missions

With so many books, resources, techniques and ideas out there, it can be hard to know where to begin when raising support to serve on a short-term mission.  We can lose balance with information overload and feel completely overwhelmed or go to the other extreme and do nothing and hope it works out. In addition to this lack of balance, most times raising support is viewed as a necessary evil to get on with the real ministry.  Oftentimes, what most do is simply send out a letter announcing their plans with a request for support.  While prayer is a key component of this approach, we can miss the heart of discipleship that God intends for the short-termer and those who will take part as senders. Is asking for financial support biblical? Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.  John 16:24 (NAS) If you have been charged with the responsibility of raising support for your short-term mission you can’t do it without establishing the conviction that asking is biblical.  Now, I didn’t say it was necessary for God to provide for your ministry, but it is clearly one of the methods by which He chooses to provide.  Here are examples from the Old and New Testament: Then the heads of households of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “The LORD commanded through Moses to give us cities to live in, with their pasture lands for our cattle.” So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these cities with their pasture lands, according to the command of the LORD. Joshua 21:1-3 (NAS, emphasis mine ) Here we see the heads of the Levites verbally reminding Eleazar, Joshua, and the heads of the other tribes of Israel of God’s command to provide for their needs.  Even though it had previously been commanded it didn’t happen automatically.  It took this verbal reminder for them to respond obediently. Let’s take a quick look at this New Testament example: And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city.    Matthew 10:11 (NAS) To “inquire” or ask required verbal communication with the believers in a particular city for their support and provision while ministering.  While there are other verses we could examine, these two make it clear that asking for resources has been, and always will be, a part of growing ourselves and others to be more like Christ and a biblical way to accomplish ministry. Go and Make Disciples of all Nations If you’ve committed to serve on a short-term mission, most likely you are aware of the Lord’s mandate to go and make disciple of all nations provided in Matthew 28:19.  In fact, your participation on a short-term mission may be one of the practical ways you are carrying out that mandate in your life!  Yet, we must remember that the call to make disciples is not just an overseas call but also one we must live out in the U.S. and within our own communities.  This is by no means a new concept, but oftentimes it’s a value we ascribe to as important but never fully live out.  In fact most believers agree with this strategy laid out quite nicely in Acts 1:8 (to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth) but they struggle with truly living a missional life. Have you ever thought of “asking” others for financial support for your short-term mission as a viable part of making disciples?  Have you seriously considered that God might have plans to challenge and mature others in their faith journey as a result of your short-term mission?  After all, isn’t giving just as much a spiritual discipline as praying or reading the Bible?  Most of us are very comfortable challenging others to pray, to read the Word or to serve but are genuinely intimidated at the thought of asking for financial resources. As short-termers we have a tremendous opportunity to help others become “more complete in Christ ” (Col 1:28-29) through their giving and an opportunity to be co-laborers in the short-term mission.  We also have a tremendous opportunity to grow as we step out in faith, ask, and trust the Lord for His provision.  How do I ask for financial support for my short-term mission? Without love “it profits me nothing” (1 Cor 13:3).  Authentic loving relationships are the bedrock of asking for financial support. Our relationship with the Lord is our first priority followed by our relationships with those we intend to ask for support.  Oftentimes, the support raising process is a good indicator of the quality of loving relationships we have in our life.     1.  Pray. Begin by acknowledging and adoring God for who He is.  Psalm 50:10-12 states, “the world is Mine, and all it contains.”   These and many other Scriptures make it clear that everything belongs to God.  We can love and worship God by acknowledging and resting in this truth through prayer.  There’s no single vision or need He can’t provide for. Share your fears and concerns for His guidance, and ask for the right words.  Also, pray for the individual(s) you intend to contact.  Pray that you will be able to connect with them, that their hearts would be open and ready for your request, and for God to lead them in their response.  This is not a “pray and pay” approach.  God knows our hearts and our prayers need to be rooted in love.  If we sincerely care about each person, our motivation is that all would be obedient to the Lord’s leading – however that may turn out. 2.  Be personally invested and trained (Luke 6:40). If we are not personally invested in the short-term mission, it can be difficult to encourage and ask others for financial support.  Jesus Christ set the ultimate example of generosity and challenges each one of us to conform to His image. As individuals seeking to serve on a short-term mission, we cannot attempt to develop other spiritual disciplines in our life yet neglect generosity, nor can we take others on a journey toward generosity or expect others to give if we are not personally committed ourselves. A model often recommended for short-term mission fundraising is the 1/3 – 1/3 – 1/3 approach , where the first one-third comes from the short-termer, the second from the church and the last one-third from family, friends and others who want to partner financially with your short-term mission.  This is not a hard and fast rule but only a recommended breakdown.  The key here is that you personally invested at any amount and were generous towards what you are asking others to be generous towards.  Your portion can come from a monthly gift that you set aside prior to your trip through budgeting , out of your personal savings , or by creative ways to generate additional income such as taking on odd jobs or having a yard sale. 3.  Involve your local church. Acts 6:6 provides an example of the early New Testament church commissioning and sending missionaries to share God’s Word and make disciples.  Involving the local church is biblical and critical for success.  Most likely your short-term mission is taking place through your local church, but that is not always the case.  Either way, it’s important early in the process to schedule a time to meet with your church’s mission team or pastor and to share a bit of your testimony and journey, why you want to participate on the short-term mission and what you hope God will accomplish. This is also a great time to determine if there are any scholarships or funds that would be available to help you along your way.  Most churches have a line item for short-term missions and plan for scholarship opportunities, but if they don’t have funds set aside, determine if there are any plans for members of the team to work together to raise additional funds.  This could be a number of things such as a fundraising dinner or dessert, silent auction, food sales, or something else!  Be prepared to step in and help with events like this any way you can. 4.  Share the vision and need. Consider who you are contacting and what their passions are before making contact with them.  Because you are in relationship, you will know if what you are going to ask for is in alignment with their passions. Seek first to meet face-to-face to share about your short-term mission and the opportunity to help with financial support.  If you cannot share face-to-face, the next best approach is by phone.  As you share, be clear and concise with your request.  Start with the vision or need of the short-term mission, and then work your way into the critical details such as the timing, overall budget and how specifically they can help.  Be sure to express how your role on the short-term mission can help meet the need. After sharing, ask them if they will pray about supporting you financially.  If the answer is “no” or they make it clear it’s not a possibility, thank them for their consideration and ask if they would be a part of your prayer team.  If the answer is, “yes,” to joining your financial support team then always follow-up with the question, “When can I contact you to determine how the Lord leads you?”   All too often, this is where the “disconnect” takes place in the discipleship process.  We ask them to “pray about it,” and fail to identify what the next step will be.  Good discipleship requires good follow-through!  By asking them for a follow-up date, you are essentially getting their permission for follow-up.  This allows them to have ownership of their decision made between them and the Lord as well as to your follow-up contact with them. 5.  Follow-through to obtain a “yes” or “no”. Once you identify a date and time, be sure you make that follow-up call or contact.  Your chances of connecting are very favorable because they will be expecting you to contact them.  Once you connect, greet them, and briefly remind them of the reason you are calling again and that you are following up on the day/time they had indicated would work for them.  You have an opportunity to demonstrate a genuine sensitivity to their life situations by asking them if this is a good time to determine what decision they have made.  The goal here is to get a “yes” or “no” answer not provide a “sales pitch.” If you are unable to determine their decision be sure to ask them for permission to connect again.  Continue this process until they have responded with a “yes” or “no” answer. This is most often where the support raising process breaks down due to a lack of persistence, fear, or forgetfulness.  In Luke 18, Jesus shares about a persistent widow who was finally granted her request from a judge.  Verse 5 hilariously states, “because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”   The context of this verse is persistent prayer to God, yet I also believe God works and honors those who are persistent to fulfill their various ministries.  We don’t want to be a pest, but it is biblical to receive a “yes” or “no” answer from those who said they would pray and get back to us. 6.  Thank supporters. Regardless of how individuals respond to your request always express your gratitude and appreciation for their time and consideration.  Saying “thank you” is another key component of an authentic loving relationship.  Take the opportunity to do this verbally during the follow-up meeting.  This may sound odd, but I have had the opportunity to thank individuals for saying “no” to a financial request.  I typically do this when I realize later how God intended to provide for a specific need.  Remember that a “no” can be an obedient answer and that God can use a “no” to reveal His pathway of provision. When individuals do choose to support your short-term mission, set a personal goal to thank them a minimum of five times.  These “thank you’s” can come verbally, through written cards, emails, a final report, or by sending a thank you gift.  You can never say thank you enough. What questions do you have about raising support for short-term missions? Or perhaps you have some additional advice having been on a short-term mission yourself? Leave a comment below! Related Articles: How to Raise Money for Community Service Projects or Missions Short Term Mission Trips | 17 Ways To Save Money How to Raise Non-Materialistic Children How much does it cost to raise a child & 10 ways to cut the cost! Chris McDaniel is the Chief Business Development Officer for DELTA Ministries International (DELTA) and author of Igniting a Life of Generosity . Chris loves to spend time with this wife, bumping the volleyball with his daughter, playing catch with his son, serving the “least of these”, pizza, snowboarding, running half marathons, and seeing followers of Christ become generous givers.

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Biblical Purposes for Money: 3 Concepts and Principles

As a mom, I want my children to have a firm grasp on money as they grow. Of course I’m not speaking in the literal sense, with their fists clenching wads of bills; but rather the concepts and principles of the use of money, saving, spending, and good stewardship. As a Christian, what better place to get that guidance than the scripture? In a search through the Bible, I’ve found three basic purposes for money to teach to them—and share with you here. 1. To Provide Basic Needs Amazingly, we only need a few items to maintain our lives—food, clothing, and shelter. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us not to worry about such things: Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. – Matthew 6:31-33 God makes no other such promises in the scripture. He never promises to provide us with a vehicle, a washing machine, or a cell phone. But by trusting him for our basic provisions, and praying for them daily, we come to deepen our love for and trust in the Lord. And then those extra things that we are able to purchase become blessings, not expectations. Give us this day our daily bread. – Matthew 6:11 If we cultivate a sense of contentment in our lives, ceasing to strive for more and better and bigger, then we no longer feel a need to fill emotional voids with stuff. We will also quit expecting to have things that we really do not need. By altering our expectations to include only the basic needs, then when God does provide other things for us, we grow a grateful heart and attitude toward Him and others in our lives. This new-found place is known as contentment. Having food and raiment let us be therewith content. – 1 Timothy 6:8 2. To Give to Others Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. – Luke 6:38 I don’t need to expound on this. The principle of giving is throughout God’s word and ingrained in us from the time we are little children. Hopefully, giving to those less fortunate than ourselves is already a part of our lives. However, giving comes in two forms—from our abundance and sacrificially. In 2 Corinthians 8, the church was encouraged to share out of their abundance “that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.” Then we have the story of the poor widow who put two mites into the offering: Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. –Matthew 12:43-44 The point of balance between giving from one’s abundance and giving sacrificially is something each person much find, through prayer, for themselves. 3. To Provide Direction Often we are faced with a spending decision that brings turmoil. School starts soon and I don’t have all I need to pay for the first semester. Obviously, I need to take out a student loan, right? Maybe not. Maybe that lack of funds is an indication that I chose the wrong school. Or maybe it’s the wrong time to start school. Sometimes we go with the flow without truly seeking God’s will or direction for our lives. If we purpose not to use credit or go into debt, then God can use finances to guide us in our decision making. Here’s another example. The engine blows in my car. I have $5,000 saved in my car fund. But the car that I think would be perfect is $7,000. I could put down $2,000 and finance the rest, pay it off in two years and use the other $5,000 I saved for something else. But I have to ask myself, “Is God trying to steer me to buy a $5,000 car?” Maybe I don’t have a direct scripture for this principle; but there is “Owe no man anything, but to love one another” in Romans 13:8. If I purpose to live by this verse, God could use my funds, or lack thereof, to lead me in my purchasing decisions. And often this will be a test of my will and patience. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way…” – Psalm 37:7 I wouldn’t say this is an exhaustive list of God’s purposes for money. You could probably add a few of your own. Care to share them in the comments? Related Articles: The Biblical Prosperity debate 4 Money Principles Talked About In The Bible Grow Closer to God: 5 Core Financial Principles The Power of a Plan: 8 Principles to Follow

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