How, When, and Where Do You Pay Your Preacher?

I remember those early years. As I entered the building each Sunday morning, I was greeted by the treasurer in the foyer. He had my check in an envelope. He presented it to me in front of everyone.

Then followed comments — week, after week, after week:

“Where’s mine?”

“How much is it?” (Easy to find out. Every check for every item was listed in every monthly report.)

“I wish I got paid for working two hours a week.”

“Are you going to share with us?”

“Did you get one last week? You weren’t here.”

[bctt tweet=”For years I suffered humiliation — week after week, after month, after month. I dreaded the payday ritual each week.” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

I was scared. I didn’t know how to change it. It’s the same church where I turned down my first raise. I avoided discussing money.

I did nothing. Now I know: If a situation is chronic, it’s because everybody likes it the way it is better than what it would take to change it and changing an old rule will be painful.

When I went to the next church and we were getting serious, I asked a question, “When, where, and how do you pay your preacher?”. I’ve been a slow learner. Since I learned how to avoid the public hazing, it hasn’t been a problem for forty years. I finally learned I have a right to my feelings and I have a right to express my feelings.

[bctt tweet=”You never know what bothers a young man (or an old man, or a young or old woman) unless you ask.” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

Suggestion: during your regular review of your preacher or others on your team, ask, “What could we do to be helpful, more encouraging for you to do your work better, or for you to be more comfortable with us?”.

When frustrations aren’t dealt with, they build and they can come out in unhelpful ways.

Ways to get money from the church treasury into the preachers’ bank account

  1. Hand it to him in a public heckling each week.
  2. Place it in his church mailbox or on his desk.
  3. Hand it to him in private. He then deposits it with an app on his smartphone.
  4. Direct deposit. It shows up each week on the same day without physical transfer.
  5. It could be given with a periodic written or spoken word of gratitude for his work.
  6. Ask how would be best for him.

A good rule for paying the preacher — and everything else:

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12, NKJV).

If twenty-three-year-old Jerrie Barber could have mustered the courage to ask your counsel on this issue, what would you have told him? How could you have coached him to avoid several years of weekly embarrassment?


(Visited 818 times, 8 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

12 Responses to “How, When, and Where Do You Pay Your Preacher?

  • At my last work my check was given to me in the foyer, much like your example—except when the treasurer forgot it and I had to go to his office on Monday or Tuesday. I always felt unappreciated by that. I frequently brought it up in meetings and offered some of the solutions that you did in the post, but it never seemed to be given much thought by the leadership.

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      3 years ago


      If I, and others, would think and act on the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), it would make a great difference in our kindness and service.

  • wtomhall
    3 years ago

    The church here went to direct deposit and it solved every problem you brought up. In the past I have said I am not paid to preach but paid so I can preach.

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      3 years ago


      That is the best arrangement I have experienced.

  • Rick Luten
    3 years ago

    We pay our preacher weakly! Just kidding. Our preacher is worth every penny (and more) and he is not paid in anyway that would be embarrassing to him.

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      3 years ago


      I’m sure your preacher appreciates your appreciation and kindness.

  • I have been preaching for 40 years and have INSISTED that my pay be private. This was determined before I ever accepted the work. One of those things I wanted out of the way before it became a problem. I have had my check automatically deposited for the 25 years. I have been at my present location for 15 years and have never had a problem. I have been blessed with understanding shepherds and have avoided the type of problems you have written about. I only wish other “preacher” issues would have been as easy!

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      3 years ago


      You did well. The time and effort discussing and recording guidelines before a relationship begins will repay with compound interest in the future.

  • Chuck Lipford
    3 years ago

    We make both direct deposits and checks as desired by the minister. We also learned a the last transition to inquire the current salary range currently being received. One was out of our ball park but we did not learn that until after the entire interview process and both of our interest for possible engagement were known.

  • Russ Vickers
    3 years ago

    Direct Deposit is the way to go. I have never had a problem with the brethren because of this.

  • Sometimes little jokes are meant to break the tension, and I understand that. I’ve taken to saying interesting, funny or terse things to people in response to thoughtless remarks. Just had this conversation this past week with someone. I don’t mind telling people, “You know, I do my work free of charge, but I gladly accept you supporting my family and paying my bills so I can do it.” But you (Jerrie) and Barney Fife are right on: nip it in the bud. Everyone should be comfortable, and if someone isn’t, it’s because they prefer the current situation to the pain of change. If you don’t like it, make a motion to change it. If an eldership or treasurer has a problem with helping the comfort of the preacher in this regard, then the preacher has choices. He can deal with it, or revisit it later. I have a hard time believing that if THIS is a problem, there aren’t some more problems lurking around. If this is the ONLY problem, its not much worth the fuss. Stick it out. You’ll be in a position to affect change soon enough. But that’s just me, and I know very little. Thanks as always for thought-provoking words, Jerrie.

    • I wish I had known those principles forty years ago. But, I’m glad I’m learning them now. It’s amazing. When you learn some of the rules, the game gets easier.

      Thank you for the observations.

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