General Ministry
Josh Griffin

My wife and I had an interesting discussion last week after receiving a generous “thank you” card and gift from the family of a recent funeral I performed. We talked about how accepting a gift might cause people to think that a pastor/church simply provides a service to them, rather than genuinely caring for the person in their time of need.

In the past I’ve never had any set fees or expectations in any way, but would accept a gift if it was given. Thought our discussion would make an interesting poll question this week here on the blog. Vote today – I’m interested to see the results and/or hear some of your reaction in the comments.


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  • Aaron says:

    I received a generous gift after a funeral one time, but when that was coupled with the really kind note from the family and the experience of journeying with them through that time, I felt like it was a heartfelt thank you for being there with them. It certainly wasn’t my motivation for doing it — I think that’s an important thing for ministers to remember.

  • Chris says:

    I’ve never felt wierd or guilty about accepting a gift for a wedding but a funeral for a church member or someone close to the church family…that would be awkward for me. I would take it only if the family insisted. As a general rule of thumb though, I feel as though my salary for being a “pastor” should be enough for most of these things.

  • Derek says:

    I always accept gifts from for these type of things. I feel like if someone has gone to the lengths to give you a card with money in it then they really want you to have it. I was always taught that if you refuse someone’s gift for something like that you are taking away their chance to bless you. If God has laid a burden on their heart to bless you with a financial gift, why would you take that away from them by refusing it? That’s the way I feel about it.

  • Chris says:

    One simple thought that a mentor told me is this: Do not steal someone else’s joy in blessing you.
    I think that applies in this situation, because a person is blessing you for being a part of their life.

  • Joe Gormong says:

    I checked I have a set fee, but the church sets the fee in the wedding guidelines (for the sound man as well as the rental fee for the church and or fellowship hall) and the local funeral homes have a fee already set.

  • Dawn says:

    When I was the only pastor in my last parish I never set a fee, but the custom of the community was to give a gift to the priest. When I was asked for a fee, I always asked to give a gift to the church. I often still received something above and beyond. Now, I am in a team ministry and the church sets a fee. I never set a personal fee because I understood weddings and funerals as part of my ministry.

  • Bob says:

    I’m fine doing weddings/funerals for free (and have), but almost everyone wants to pay you. They pay everyone else (florist, videographer, etc), and it helps them if I give them a number. I’ll only refuse to be paid if it’s an especially close friend/relative. The “but” of this is that I don’t count these “independent contractor” hours towards my week’s work for my church.

  • Todd says:

    Church has minimum set fee for wedding ($400). Pastors meet for pre-marital counseling 4-5 times, in addition to the rehearsal and ceremony.

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