Guidelines for Tipping a Pastor for Funeral Services

by April Sanders

Officiating at a funeral is a sad but necessary part of a pastor's job. Many pastors oversee the entire event, while others may simply give a brief sermon or graveside prayer. Most pastors also visit the family's home to offer condolences. Thank your pastor for all he did to make a difficult day a little less difficult by offering him a tip, or honorarium, for his help with the funeral.

When to Tip

If you have asked your pastor to help with the funeral of a loved one, he may give you a checklist that includes a standard fee for her services.. More often, however, the pastor will not formally charge a fee. Instead, it is considered customary to offer the pastor a tip, or honorarium, shortly before or after the service. Some funeral directors suggest giving it to her sometime before the service, as things can get too busy during and after the service for you to have to remember the tip.

Handling the Tip

Place the money in an envelope with the pastor's name on it. Both checks and cash are usually acceptable. If the pastor is the leader of your home church, you can leave the money with the church secretary, but it is better to give it to him in person, along with a sincere statement of thanks. Alternatively, you can ask the funeral director to handle it for you. The latter is a common option and the funeral director will know how to do it discretely.

How Much to Offer

Honorariums vary from $50 to more than $500, depending on the family's resources and on the specific services provided by the pastor. In general, any amount between $175 and $250 is considered standard, according to the Connelly-McKinley funeral home.

Other Considerations

Resist the temptation to place the tip into a thank you card, as a thank you note should be sent separately after the service, according to Funeralwise.com. Send the note within a month of the funeral, and include a handwritten, personal message of thanks. Sign the note on behalf of the family.

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