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Suggested Guidelines for Hosting Guest Preachers

Some suggestions for hosting a guest preacher

1. Communicate well.

When a preacher selects his sermon, he/she should be aware of any factors in the life and program of your congregation that should be considered. Be sure he/she is informed if it is to be mission emphasis, profession of faith, the Lord's Supper, or any other special event. Send information that explains which Bible translation and hymnals you use. Be sure that the preacher sends adequate information about the theme and intent of his/her sermon so that other participants and worship planners can do their work. Be sure that all of this is done a week or two ahead of time to give time for each to prepare well.

2. Send the final liturgy to the preacher.

A preacher should have the final form of the liturgy before arriving at the church. The easiest way is to send it electronically once it's been finalized by the church office. Once it has been sent, no changes should be made. In the copy that is sent, clearly indicate  which portions of the liturgy he/she will be expected to lead.

3. Meet before the service.

Be sure someone is designated to meet with the preacher, extend a hospitable welcome, and go over the details. To give adequate time, this should happen 20 to 30 minutes before the service is to begin. Review the order of service.  Answer whatever questions arise. Introduce the guest preacher to other participants.  Join in prayer with others.

4. Meet other worship leaders.

Worship leaders who serve together in a service will serve more comfortably if they've had the opportunity to meet each other. The accompanist(s), praise team, lay leaders, and other key people should meet face to face. In this way roles can be clarified and questions can be answered before all have prayer together.

5. Explain the details.

If the preacher has not been to your congregation before, he or she will likely have a number of questions that you might not think of. Where should I sit? How much of the service do I lead? Are the songs all announced? Do I announce them even if you have PowerPoint? Who else will be part of the service? What type of microphone will I use? Do I greet worshipers at the close of the service? Where?

6. Explain the inclusion of children.

Many churches have a special time for children in the service. A guest preacher will wonder what is expected. Must I have a message for them? Do they come forward?  If so, how many? Are they dismissed at a certain point in the service, and should I do that?

7. Clarify the attire expected.

Not all churches are the same. Some are very formal and desire a robe. Some are very informal and casual. It can be difficult for some to listen to a sermon if the preacher violates local custom in attire.