July 29, 2014
Guidelines for dealing with money that's not a part of your regular salary.
Editor's Note: In his free ebook, The Minister's Salary, Thom Rainer addresses the issue of "other ministry income"—income ministers receive from services offered at weddings, funerals, revivals, speaking engagements, etc. While some minister's argue that such income is gift income and tax exempt, Rainer stresses that the IRS is clear: "this income is earned in the course of your work and is thus subject to taxation." He then goes on to offer the following best practices, which are based on conversations he's had with dozens of ministers.
Best Practice #1: It is okay to accept other ministry income. You have earned this income by conducting a funeral, officiating a wedding, or speaking somewhere beyond your church. You had to prepare extra work. You sometimes had to give up your weekends, particularly with weddings. It is one extra assignment to a schedule that is already busy.
Best Practice #2: It is generally advisable not to set fees. Leave the amount that you will receive to those you are serving. Sure, that means you will sometimes receive very little and other times receive nothing. But you are already receiving a salary from your church. Fee setting typically sends the wrong message.