The Envelope Please: Compensation Considerations for the Evangelist
Having served for twelve years as a pastor and many years as a full- time evangelist, I have become intimately acquainted with the ceremonial passing of the envelope, both the giving and the receiving. As an evangelist, I appreciate so much the generosity of the pastors of the UPCI are. However, at times pastors may not understand the complexities facing the ministry of an evangelist, which may result in an evangelist not being compensated adequately. Unfortunately, this causes tremendous stress and discouragement to the evangelist attempting to fulfill this vital ministry.
Evangelizing is quite possibly the only profession in which work is done without the worker having any knowledge or input into the expected compensation. Evangelists rarely knows what their compensation is until “the envelope” is opened.
This lifestyle is not for the weak of heart or those weak in faith!
The Bible teaches that ministers should be paid for their ministerial work: “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel”
(I Corinthians 9: 13-14). “The labourer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7).
While bi-vocational ministry is both noble and advantageous in some cases, there is an added benefit to the body of Christ when ministers are
able to live by their labor in the gospel.
If indeed evangelists is worthy of their hire, then the obvious question is, How much should the hire be?
So How Much? The thrilling question for all involved is always, So how much?
It is impossible to establish a single amount applicable to all situations. In beginning to think about how much to pay an evangelist, there are some basic things a pastor should first consider: * The single evangelist, the married evangelist, the married with children evangelist, and the retired minister evangelist all have different financial needs.
* The maturity and expertise of the evangelist should be considered when determining appropriate pay.
* The results of the revival meeting should naturally be an influential factor. Greater results and ministerial effectiveness should appropriately result in increased compensation.
After considering the diverse life circumstances and unique needs of evangelists and their effectiveness during a meeting, there are several other factors that are often overlooked but that should be considered when determining the evangelist’s compensation.
Other than church planters in a new launch situation, most pastors
will have many benefits that evangelists must provide for themselves.
* The evangelist has no other benefits beyond the “check” deducted from each check are tithes, taxes, ministerial dues, and all offerings)
* no housing allowance (sometime this can be worked out)
* no retirement plan
* no medical insurance co-payment
* no life insurance provision
* no sick pay
* no vacation pay
* no church credit card for expenses
* no unemployment compensation
* no cell phone provided
* no vehicle provision or allowance
Limited opportunities to preach Most evangelists desire (and need) to preach every week.
But this is impossible.
* The average evangelist will have two to five weeks of cancellations each year due to sickness, weather, pastor’s emergencies.
* There will also generally be seven to twelve weeks when the evangelist will be unable to schedule services. For example, from Thanksgiving through Christmas opportunities to preach are very limited.
* Together, this could leave anywhere from seven to fifteen weeks with no income. This is in the area of 20-25 percent of the yearly income potential.
There are other expenses associated with traveling that are often overlooked:
* Rising fuel costs have become a significant expense, even when driving only a few hundred miles to and from meetings. The IRS allowable (currently .565 per mile) is usually preferred. Many evangelists report they are not reimbursed for mileage when driving to a church.
* There is always a need for oil changes, tune-ups, new tires, etc., as well.
* The evangelist travelling in an RV will have greater expense considerations. (The RV also saves the church money otherwise spent providing hotel accommodations.)
* Most airlines charge a minimum of $25 even for the first bag. This expense would be a minimum of $50 for a round-trip weekend.
* Travelling requires tips and other miscellaneous expenses along the way.
* Evangelists making missionary trips incur the costs of airfare, hotels, food, and transportation, along with the loss of a weekly income.
Therefore, an evangelist’s missionary trip budget is usually quite a bit more than normally anticipated.
Some suggestions that would be helpful:
* During Christmas time send an evangelist one week’s normal compensation to help with the holiday slow schedule.
* Notice tires on vehicles and, if worn, offer to replace.
* Provide one week of salary for a paid vacation.
* Raise a special offering during a meeting in addition to the regular honorarium.
* Purchase helpful and needed ministry tools, such as an iPad, a computer, or a new suit. As a full-time evangelist, I want to give special thanks to all pastors who open the pulpits of their churches to provide opportunities for evangelists, both young and old, to fulfill this important calling. The trust you extend with each invitation and return invitation is never taken lightly or for granted.
We evangelists are thankful for each and every comfortable hotel room, nice hospitality basket, honorarium, and special offering received. Those extra fill-ups at the fuel pump go a long way! The blessing of a $100 handshake at General Conference, camp meetings, and other conferences is always appreciated. We are so thankful that you keep us looking sharp with a new suit, some dress shirts, shoes, and ties. May the lord bless each and every pastor in the UPCI with abundance for your thoughtfulness and generosity toward the evangelistic ministry.
Douglas C. Klinedinst is an
International evangelist with the
United Pentecostal Church.
January-March 2013 FORWARD