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Paying For The Sermon: GH¢100,000 Is Too Small For A Good Message
 
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22-Nov-2017  
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“When they ask what I charge, I assure them that is a matter between them and the Lord. Most churches take care of travel expenses and an honorarium. However, on behalf of the thousands of guest preachers all over this land, I’ll tell you my opinion: “Pay them about twice what you have been paying them.” Dr. Joe McKeever

How much does a sermon cost? Well, it depends on who is preaching and how much you are prepared to throw in to keep the partnership. The good pastors are highly sought after, just like showbiz stars and footballers. You will need to book them a year or two ahead of time if you are privileged enough to have access to their office. You are lucky to have one on your event billboard as a visiting preacher; they are crowd pullers and conference shakers. To have them again same time next year, treat them well.

Homiletical scholarship

Homiletics (the art and science of preaching) is a special skill. It is not for everybody. It is for the anointed few who are able to explain sublime biblical truth with experiential knowledge and deeper revelation. Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams calls it ‘Prenostrous.’ We all have some general revelation about the things we hear preachers preach about. What we need is special revelation to complete the religious experience.

What does it take to put a sermon together? Steve J. Cole tells it better: “Three small boys were bragging about their dads. The first boy said, “My dad writes a few short lines on paper, calls it a poem, sends it away, and gets $25 for it.” “Well, my dad,” said the second boy, “makes dots on paper, calls it a song, sends it away, gets $100 for it.” “That’s nothing,” declared the third boy. “My dad writes a sermon on sheets of paper, gets up in the pulpit and gives it, and it takes four men to bring in the money.”

We don’t know whose is easier: The poet, the musician or the preacher? You would foam at the mouth and palpitate with shock, anger and disgust when you hear some messages from the pulpit. You would not call them sermons or bible messages, because they are bankrupt in homiletical scholarship and deficient in intellectual power. These messages are not grounded in any form of research or scientific investigation.

A good sermon, the kind we associate with Pastor Mensa Otabil, Archbishop Duncan-Williams, Bishop Agyinasare and Dr Ralph Dartey, are intellectual pieces condensed in biblical truth and intelligently delivered with rhetorical brilliance and oratorical fireworks. The congregation comes expecting to learn new things or the same old things retold another way. It cannot be the same old Mary and Joseph story; we expect an intelligent treatment of the manger birth in our modern context.

Footballer’s weekly wages

The modern pastor is studious and bookish. They have facts about globalisation and harmful IMF policies. They would tell you the GDP of your country before the economists started researching. They are systematic, methodical and analytical in their presentation. A lot of learning goes into a good sermon. It is not for lazy minds.

I learn more from Pastor Mensa Otabil’s sermons than I get from journal articles and novels. He would have read the novel before preparing his message, so I am spared the task of buying and reading the book. I learnt the meaning of ‘Third World’ from him. ‘Tissues of the Issues’ has borrowed generously from his expositions. I have borrowed a lot more from Dr Ralph Dartey of the TLC Ottawa, Canada.

What price do you put on a quality and well delivered sermon? It sits well with us when a footballer takes $300,000 every week for kicking a ball in front of a cheering crowd of freethinkers. It doesn’t matter whether he scores a goal or not. Musicians charge in the millions to flaunt their naked bodies, conference speakers get paid good money to speak at events. Why not men of God? And how much is too much to pay for the gospel?

GH¢100,000 for one sermon

Over the weekend, leader of Perez Chapel, Bishop Charles Agyinasare, dispelled as a palpable untruth news doing the rounds that he charges GH¢100,000 to preach the gospel as guest pastor. The Perez Bishop also defended two other senior men of God, Archbishop Duncan-Williams and Pastor Mensa Otabil, who have also been mentioned as charging huge fees to preach the word of God.

When I invite high-calibre professionals and subject experts in Ghana to speak as panellists at my organisation’s annual dialogues, I pay them for sharing their expert knowledge. My secretary usually records such payments as transport and honorarium. We feel they earned it. The day we decided to invite a man of God to say the opening prayer for a big conference, we could not agree how much we would pay for a simple prayer to our God. We selected one of us to pray so we could save the money.

Every worker is worthy of his wages (Luke 10:7). How much would you pay Bishop Charles Agyinasare if you invited him to your church as guest preacher? First, you need to provide decent accommodation for him. A five-star hotel will not be a bad idea. Even Shatta Wale gets one. Second, feed him well: English breakfast, steak for lunch and good salad plus French onion soup for dinner. He spends a week in your church, teaching in the mornings, counselling in the afternoons, and performing miracles at the evening service. How much is the man of God worth?

Lamborghini for Pope Francis

Charles Spurgeon gave us an idea in his autobiography when he wrote about a congregation that wanted to pay their pastor a very small wage: “The only individual I know, who could exist on such a stipend, is angle Gabriel. He would need neither cash nor clothes; and he could come down from heaven every Sunday morning, and go back at night so I advise you to invite him.’”

Verily verily I say unto you; these days, even Angel Gabriel will be glad to get paid. Times are hard. Church is expensive business and the sermon has a price. The Pope may decide to give away his recent Lamborghini gift to charity. But that is because he does not have a wife to adorn the front seat with her designer dress. Our bishops have a good taste for smart cars and airplanes. GH¢100,000 is not even a good start. For the poor, prayer is enough. For the bishops, money is a blessing. For God, grace is divine.
 
 
 
Source: today
 
 

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