Finding a great Christian speaker

Finding a Christian speaker for your event can be a daunting task.  A quick search on the internet will generate several thousand pages of possibilities, but how do you narrow down that list to a manageable size?

 Over the next few days, we’ll explore some important considerations as you look for a Christian speaker for your upcoming event.

Begin with your budget in mind

The first thing to do when trying to find a Christian speaker is to get some idea what your budget is.  It’s not uncommon for churches to think they should be able to get a professional speaker to their event for next to nothing because “it’s ministry.”  Others think that they should be able to get a Christian speaker cheaply because “they’re only speaking for 30 minutes three times…why should I have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for an hour and a half of work?” 

 There are two things to keep in mind when you’re thinking about what a Christian speaker will cost:

 1.  While Christian speaking is ministry – and most professional Christian speakers think of it in precisely this way – it is also how they make their living.  To be available to fly around the country or around the world on weekends and, often, during the week, these individuals can’t work a regular job.  So, while they consider speaking a ministry, they also have to make a living doing it.  Remember the Apostle Paul’s instruction:  For the Scripture says, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18). 

 2.  You can’t think about a speaker’s honorariums as an hourly wage.  Yes, you’re paying them for 3 or 4 talks of a fairly short length each, but you’re also paying them to be at your event which means time away from family and time away from other sources of needed income.  Think about it this way:  if you pay a speaker a $1500 honorarium for 3 talks of 30 minutes each, that would be $500 per talk…pretty good wages!  But wait: the speaker had to leave home at 8:30 am to catch the plane to your city, then drive to the event location, meet people at the event, speak, hang out between sessions, etc.  By the time the weekend is over, the speaker has essentially been “on the clock” for maybe 40 hours.  That’s only $37.50 per hour.  Still not a bad wage, but remember, speaking isn’t like working at most jobs.  Most speaking engagements only happen on the weekends, so during the week, professional Christian speakers often have no income at all.  And, even the most popular Christian speakers may only get 2 or 3 bookings a  month, so the honorariums they get paid for their weekend engagements have to go pretty far!

 So, what’s an average cost for a professional Christian speaker?  There may not be any such thing.  The cost depends on many factors including the speaker’s popularity, experience, etc. 

 Our advice is to look for a speaker with a sliding scale for honorariums.  What this means is that the speaker doesn’t have pre-set fees but works with the event organizers to find an agreeable rate.  At Shepherd Project, our speaker fees vary depending on:  how many people will be at the event, are attendees being charged for the event, what is the purpose of the event,  For evangelistic events where no one is being charged to attend, our rates are lower than for huge conferences where thousands of attendees are being charged hundreds of dollars each to attend.  Typically, our speaker honorariums run from $800 to $2000 (including travel costs) for weekend events.

 As you think about speaker honorariums, keep in mind that some speakers include their travel costs in the honorarium and others tack those costs on top of the honorarium.  Make sure you find out which it is.  At Shepherd Project we always quote all-inclusive deals that have already accounted for travel costs so you don’t have any unexpected fees to pay later.

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