Guest Post- The Dirty Truth About Honoraria

I quite often get questions from ministry leaders about how to pay Christian speakers and what the host church’s responsibility in providing for guest speakers they bring in.  I, personally, speak on Love offering and have been provided for beautifully in that way.  However, I have also been a victim of the t-shirt/table centerpiece payment for my services.  The following post is a great look into the amount of work and time that goes into to preparing for a speaking engagement and the kind of thought we need to put into what it looks like to really honor the messengers of our God.

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The Dirty Truth About Honoraria

John Stackhouse

The way some Christian churches and other organizations pay their speakers, it makes me embarrassed to be a member of the same faith.

A friend of mine is a gifted staff worker with a well-known Christian organization on a university campus. He is married, with three young children, and works hard and long at his job. Frequently, he is asked to speak at churches’ youth retreats or special events sponsored by other groups. Rarely is he paid well for what is, in fact, overtime work — for audiences other than the one that pays his regular salary.

One weekend, he left his family to speak at a retreat for more than 100 young people, each of whom paid to go away to a well-furnished camp for three days. My friend gave four talks and participated in a question-and-answer session — a typical, and demanding, schedule. But his work didn’t end there, of course. Retreat speakers are “on call” all weekend: for impromptu counseling, offering advice over mealtimes, and modeling what they preach on the volleyball court or around the campfire. Make no mistake: There is very little relaxing in that role, however restful the retreat might be for everyone else.

So at the end of this tiring weekend, at the close of the Sunday luncheon, the leader of the group thanked him profusely at the front of the dining hall (he had gone over very well). Then he tossed the speaker a T-shirt emblazoned with the group’s logo while everyone clapped. It took my friend several minutes to realize that this shirt was his total payment for the weekend’s work. He got in his car, without even a check for gasoline, and headed back to his waiting family…. read the rest of the post here…

Vision-Casting: Developing Your Methodology

12.26.12_Celebrate_Success_and_Plan_for_2013So, we’ve dug through scripture to determine our biblical foundation.  We’ve lined that up with the cultural and contextual teachings that drive our ministry.  We’ve laid a foundation and built walls to form our structure….now for the fun stuff! What do we do?  How does our ministry function in the world?

 

Jeremy Pace from Resurgence calls this our furniture.  He puts it like this:

Furniture should complement and enhance the function of a room. Likewise, yourmethods (the how to’s) should be based on your theology and philosophy and should fitwithin the boundaries set by them. Remember, furniture is only functional for so longbefore it wears out and either needs to be replaced or reupholstered. The reality is thathaving a solid foundation and a clearly defined framework allows you to be creative andnot limited to how you go about doing ministry

furniture

To begin “furnishing” your ministry, ask yourself these questions:

•Based on your theology and philosophy, what are the methods that you will use to
see the vision fulfilled?

•Does your current furniture fit in the new rooms? Do you have a toilet in the living
room or a bed in the bathroom?

•How does your philosophy of ministry look organizationally?

•Do you have the right positions in your organization?

•How does each ministry/program fit within the philosophy?

It’s important to remember that the methodology should not drive the ministry.  Your philosophy and your theological foundation drive the ministry.  Don’t become so attached to a “how-to” that you find yourself “remodeling the room because you like the couch.”

Chicago-modern-colorful-sofa-sets

 

 

Testimonies and Timelines

Strings Attached Retreats 039

Sunday night I had an opportunity I don’t get very often.

I was asked to share my testimony with a group of about 30 prayer warriors.

All the ugly parts.
All the painful parts.
All the scary parts….and…
All the beautifully redemptive parts.

It is a gift to be given such an opportunity.

But it is hard….

To share my testimony is to become vulnerable in front of a stranger.  To share the full force of what God has done in my life is to open up and expose some terrible missteps and pray that you still offer me grace after you know who I’ve been.

It is a fearsome opportunity to show that God can and does deliver, heal and redeem in fantastic and wonderful ways.

Storyline

I have been working through Donald Miller’s book, Storyline.  It is an incredible adventure into discovering God’s plan for your life and your purpose in His Kingdom.  It’s been fun and interesting and hard and scary all rolled into one, but as I look over my timeline and use the positive and negative turns of my life to discern a theme, I see what Jesus has been telling me all along.

I am a wounded healer.  I have been redeemed. And I am to use my story of healing and deliverance to draw others to the same well of healing and deliverance.  Jesus will use my brokenness to heal others’ brokenness.

theme of my life

Sunday night was a confirmation of that theme in my life.

Of that purpose in my life.

Thank you to those of you who were there listening. It was a fearsome gift indeed.

Vision-Casting: Your Philosophy is Your Filter

12.26.12_Celebrate_Success_and_Plan_for_2013Last week we talked about building the framework, or more aptly, the foundation for your ministry.  We began (or continued) working through the questions that every ministry leader should ask as they begin the process of deciding how their ministry should function in the world.

The theological foundation upon which you build is extremely important to defining your over all goals and mission on the field.  It has been a lengthy and prayerful process for me to work through taking the better part of a month and lots of wise counsel and prayer from my spiritual mentors.  Take time to nail this first part down, before moving on,

Once you’ve determined the scriptural basis for your ministry, it’s time to begin building the grid work which will become the filter through which all opportunities and ideas should pass when making decisions: the philosophy. Jeremy Pace of Resurgence likens these to the walls of a home.

You begin with the load-bearing walls.  These are immovable, unchangeable within the structure (else the structure falls down). They are the primary grid which make up the shape and form of a home.  Ask yourself the question:

•What are the non-negotiable, prescribed truths of Scripture that set the boundaries?

The next step is to begin constructing the interior walls.  These determine what you are and are not about.  Ask yourself these questions:

•What biblical imperatives and indicatives does your church/ministry/organization need to explicitly articulate because they are overlooked?

•What biblical imperatives and indicatives does your church/ministry/organization practice faithfully (almost without thinking)?

•What biblical imperatives and indicatives does the culture and context of your church ignore or fight against? These you will want to make more explicit.

•What biblical imperatives and indicatives are paralleled within your culture and context but need to be connected? (These too you will want to make more explicit.)

These questions will begin to define the type of culture your ministry will subscribe to and thus become the filter for everything that you do.

snail crossing finish lineSo I am on to building these walls.  I said this before, but I think it bears repeating, this has not been a speedy process for me- although I must admit I thought I had already done most of this work.  What I have found is that as I dig, God opens up questions in my heart.  He opens up visions of something more in places and less in others and is awakening me to a renewed sense of purpose through my ministry.  I hope and pray that as you work through these questions with me, he does the same for you as well.

Vision Casting: Building the Theological Framework for Your Ministry

12.26.12_Celebrate_Success_and_Plan_for_2013I have been fasting and praying this first few weeks of January seeking God’s guidance and direction as I take the time to build out my philosophy of ministry.  It’s been three weeks and I am still working through the first (and most important) step.  I have sought the prayers and guidance of wise mentors in my network, and I have spent time searching scripture and asking hard questions and…


I am still not finished.

I thought I would share the questions I have been working through.  But first, a little refresher as to what we are doing here from Jeremy Pace at Resurgence:

Laying a theological foundation for your church, ministry, or organization can be a lengthy and difficult task (this is not an understatement!), but the reality is that you want your foundation to be firmly and accurately laid. Your desire is to glorify God with your ministry, and God is most glorified when we faithfully work from the foundation he has laid in Christ Jesus revealed in the Scripture. This assumes that you know the Scriptures well and have a proper way of understanding them.

 

•What is the theological foundation from which we build?•What is the primary biblical imperative (and surrounding indicative/s) for your 

church/ministry/organization?

•Are their multiple imperatives and indicatives? Where are they found in the
Scripture?

•Is there a single passage of Scripture that encompasses the main starting point for
your church/ministry/organization?

•How can you connect the contours of Scripture to outline the foundation in two to
three paragraphs?

As you work through these questions for your own ministry (or family…or self…every Christian should have a philosophy of ministry as we all should have a ministry of some sort), be attuned to the questions that these questions raise in your heart.  These questions have started me down a path of exploration with Jesus to really uncovering what He is doing through me.  Between this exercise and Donald Miller’s Storyline project, God is walking me through some deep questions.

I think this is gonna take a while.  🙂

snail crossing finish lineI would love to hear what questions and answers you come up with.  Will you share some with me?

Visioncasting 2013: The Year of the Verse

12.26.12_Celebrate_Success_and_Plan_for_2013

I’m doing something a little different this year in setting my theme for the year.

Generally I choose a one word theme for the year.  This is a popular thing to do, particularly in the blogging community, to choose a word to meditate on that will define the course of your writing for the year.  One year, I chose ‘relationship.’ Another, ‘Sabbath.’ Last year was ‘solitude.’

This year in seeking God’s word for me this year, he brought to me a verse instead.

It really started while I was attending a class at Adullam School of Warriors on Wednesday night.  The instructor, Stan Tyra, wrecked me with a lesson on honor.  And then this morning, in my devotional time one of the verses God brought to me a verse that reinforced his message.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:8-12

The gist of it is this:  Honor.  That’s it. Period.  Whether you think a person deserves it, whether you think it is fair or not, especially when it requires a supernatural act of will to do so.  Honor because it is what you, as Christ’s beloved, undeserving, grace-lavished child, are called to.

The vision of how living this verse could change my family grabbed hold of me.  I posted it to the refrigerator. I’ve prayed it over me in one way or another every morning since.  So as I prayed for a word, God gave me this verse and so I started out this post thinking to say that I didn’t have a single word for the year, but instead a theme verse. Perhaps even a life verse.  And I do.

But I suppose I also have a word:

Honor.

What’s your word this year?

A little footnote:

I don’t usually read the Amplified version of the Bible (probably because all its paranthetical clauses drive me crazy and remind me too much of my own writing. 🙂 ) But I loved the way the Amp Bible breaks this verse down.  I thought maybe you would like it to:

Finally, all [of you] should be of one andthe same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble).

Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God—that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection].

10 For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit).

11 Let him turn away from wickedness andshun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony; undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. [Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]

12 For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), and His ears are attentive to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil [to oppose them, to frustrate, and defeat them]. – 1 Peter 3:8-12