How to host a guest speaker
Nine Ways to Properly Host a Guest Speaker
By Stephanie Bell
1. Find out what your guest likes. Snacks (candy bars, crackers, cheese), drinks, mints, etc. Have a welcome basket made for them and put in their hotel room prior to their arrival. If their wife is traveling with them or they are a woman minister, have a basket with candels and/or bath and body products in it.
2. What kind of honorarium should you give? Don't expect your offering to be a sufficient amount for your speaker. If you cannot give a sufficient amount, don't ask them to come. A lot of traveling ministers live off of their honorariums. Can you live off of $100 a week for you and your family? Most likely the answer is no. Always ask your guest what they normally receive for the type of meeting you are having and give them that amount or more. Have their check ready to give them before they leave. Never send the check in the mail. Idea: Start taking an extra offering once a month for three months before the meeting!
3. If you're not prepared to spend a little extra money and time, you are not ready to have a guest speaker in. It is going to take money! Remember, How would you want to be treated? If you treat a guest well and take care of him/her, he/she will be able to minister better.
4. Once they arrive before the meeting, give the speaker time alone. Don't assume they want to go and visit with everyone in the church. 99% of the speakers would like to have time alone before they preach.
5. Give your guest the choice of going to eat after service or to your home. Don't plan it - ask! Sometimes they may be too tired to go eat and they will just want to go back to the hotel.
6. When you have a male guest don't have a female pick them up or vice versa.
7. Hotel's - Most guests would rather stay in a hotel than your home. Yes, it's cheaper for you if they stay in your house, but they won't have privacy to prepare for the services. Don't put them in Motel 6, if this is all you can afford, you're not ready to have a special guest. You don't have to spend $100 a night. You do need to go look at the rooms before you have your guest come. You can find a nice hotel for $90-$125 a night, easy. A plus for your guest would be to check the heat/air before your guest arrives to make their room comfortable.
8. Find out if your guest prefers to rent a car or have you pick them up. If you are picking them up: make sure your car is clean on the inside and outside. Find out how much luggage your guest will have and make sure your car is big enough to put it in.
9.Often a guest minister will be told that the host church will be "looking after" the hotel. But when the guest checks in, he/she is asked for a credit card. There has been a mix-up of some kind and the front desk is not aware that the host church is responsible. If the guest minister can provide written confirmation that the host church is paying the hotel, that is helpful. In other cases, the host church is paying for the hotel and meals, but not phone calls, etc. This should be clearly stated in the invitation letter. Also whether or not they can charge meals to their room number. Another thing is that if they are ministering in another country other than the US, it should be made clear that they are being paid in the currency of the host country, unless otherwise arranged.
Most importantly, communicate with your guest speaker before they come on the arrangements you have made for them concerning the hotel and honorarium so you are able to have a fulfilling meeting with your guest speaker.