When is Don available?
Although Don’s current engagements are listed only by month and not with specific dates, you can get some idea of his existing schedule on the Speaking Schedule button on this website. If you want to contact us to inquire about the possibility for a particular date, you may do so at the Contact Don button. For various reasons, open dates on the schedule do not guarantee Don’s availability at those times.
Sometimes Don is asked if a particular date is available before an official invitation is extended. While we are very willing to “pencil in” dates (if asked to do so) while awaiting an official invitation, please understand that we must keep dates open until the time that an official invitation is received. This means that if someone has spoken to us about a particular date but has not yet extended an official invitation, that date will remain open to an official invitation from others.
Typically, Don goes out on Friday afternoon and returns Sunday afternoon/evening. Only on rare occasions—particularly in January, the summer, and during spring and fall breaks at the seminary—can Don be out during weekdays.
What is Don’s speaking fee?
Nearly all those who invite Don intend to express their gratitude for his labors among them through some sort of honorarium. While Don expects his travel, lodging, and food expenses to be covered, he has always resisted setting a fee for preaching/teaching the Word of God. But a great many who invite Don convey to us their sincere uncertainty as to how to express their intentions appropriately, and have asked for help. Much prayer and thought have been given to this matter over the course of many years. Don and the board of CFBS have consulted with numerous pastors, lay people, and with other ministers who frequently travel. Together we present these guidelines in hopes that they are helpful.
Those who host guest speakers like Don should consider an honorarium that reflects (1) the speaker’s preparation, (2) the number of times you have asked him to speak, (3) the rigors and stresses of the travel required to reach you, and (4) the total number of hours (frequently fifty to sixty) required away from his family, home, and other responsibilities in order to be at your disposal.
When these things are taken into consideration, churches have averaged $200 to $300 for preaching once on Sunday morning (more if a class or additional service is involved), $750 to $1250 for a one-day event, $1250 to $1500 for a two-day event, and $1750 and above for a Friday night through Sunday morning event.
Again, these are only guidelines. Very small churches and groups are not always able to follow these guidelines without a great deal of time to prepare for them. On the other hand, many churches and organizations, especially those who frequently invite guest speakers, know that these guidelines are quite modest for popular speakers and authors.
How do we invite Don to speak at our event?
See the Inviting Don page.
Do you make recordings available so we can hear Don preach prior to extending an official invitation?
Several sermons by Don are available in their entirety on this website at the Audio Sermons button. In addition, you can contact one or more of the places listed on the Speaking Schedule button where Don has spoken in recent weeks.
What do you want to know about us?
If Don is not familiar with your church already, what kinds of things would you want to know about your church if you were coming to speak there? What is your doctrinal statement? Is there a denominational affiliation? What is unique about your church? If your church has a website, please provide that address.
How can we make Don’s books available at our event?
While Don’s purpose in coming to your event is not to sell books, he has found that the people in most places where he speaks are glad to have them available. Because of the luggage hassle and other reasons, Don generally doesn’t bring books with him, unless he’s coming by car. One exception to this is his Family Worship book and CD, which are quite thin and can be easily transported in bulk.
But it’s very easy for you to have Don’s books at your event. Just order them through this website or your usual book source. If the source you use does not carry Don’s self-published book and CD on Family Worship, please let us know so we can arrange to have them at your event.
If you intend to purchase one or more of Don’s books in quantity (approximately 40 or more), it is likely that The Center for Biblical Spirituality can make those available to you at the lowest cost. For more information, write Info@BiblicalSpirituality.org.
Click on the Books by Don button to find out more about the content of Don’s books. There you will find the table of contents and endorsements for each book, as well as a link to a sample chapter from each title. Books to which Don has contributed chapters are on the Books #2 page.
The farther in advance of the event that you order the books, of course, the greater the likelihood that the books will arrive on time with minimal shipping costs.
Please note: if Don is providing the book display at your event (which happens most often when he is traveling by car), please have at least one long table ready and a person designated to assist with the table during the event. Also, please determine whether you want people who buy books to make out checks to your church/organization, which would afterward write one check to “The Center for Biblical Spirituality,” 11113 Peppermint St., Prospect, Kentucky 40059, or whether you’d prefer for all checks to be made out directly to “The Center for Biblical Spirituality.”
Read this if you intend to give away one of Don’s books at your event. Nearly all Don’s books have been published by NavPress. If you intend to give away one or more of his NavPress books at your event (for example, occasionally he speaks at events where all who register receive a free copy of a particular book), NavPress will sell that book at a discount of 50-60%. To order giveaway copies from NavPress, call 800-955-4442 if you are east of the Mississippi, and 800-955-4432 if you are west of the Mississippi.
Note: you might want to print and mark this section for use as you get closer to the event. You might also take a moment now and put a reminder in your calendar for some two or three months before the event to review this section so that you can have the books shipped on time.
How would the flight arrangements be made?
Once we have received an Invitation Form and have formally accepted, we can agree on when you want us to purchase the tickets. We prefer to make Don’s reservations on this end. When it’s time to make the reservations, we will check for the best-priced flights that will allow Don to fulfill his seminary responsibilities for that day (if any) as well as arrive in time for the event. Following your approval of the flight information we provide, we will then book the tickets. After supplying you with confirmation of the cost and itinerary, we appreciate immediate reimbursement. In almost all cases, the credit card statement must be paid well before the event itself. If it is not possible to process the reimbursement right after the time of booking, please let us know in advance.
If it is necessary to make the flight arrangements on your end, please make that known to us at the time you complete the Invitation Form. Before making the reservations, please consult with us about Don’s seminary responsibilities on the day of travel, for that determines his departure time. Don travels from the Louisville airport. Its code is SDF. Before you book the tickets, we would also like to provide you with Don’s frequent flyer number for the airline you select.
What if we invite Don, then have to cancel?
If, less than six months before the event, you find it necessary (for whatever reason) to cancel the event at which you have invited Don to speak, please take into account the following. First, consider the time, thought, prayer, and preparation Don has already invested in your event. Second, realize that it is almost certain that Don would have received other invitations to speak at events scheduled for the same date(s) as yours. But he would have declined those opportunities because of his commitment to you. Now it is probably too late to replace your cancelled event with another.
Where may we find Don’s biographical information and/or photo?
On the Biography page is sufficient biographical information to read when introducing Don, along with a printer-friendly version of the same. There’s even a link at the bottom of that page to download both the bio and photo as a Microsoft Word file, already formatted to print as a bulletin insert you can use to promote the event.
At the bottom of the Biography page is a link to promotional photos where you can choose digital pictures in color or black-and-white, in both formal and casual portraits, to download to your computer.
And at the bottom of that photos page you can also download PowerPoint slides of Don and his books which you may find useful in promoting your event during your announcements or on your website. .
What equipment, materials, etc., does Don want us to have at the event?
This will depend upon the type of meeting. If Don is there only to preach, that is, if he is to preach in a traditional, Sunday morning worship service or similar setting, he will not need any special equipment or materials.
If he is teaching, such as in a Friday/Saturday conference, a retreat setting, or a Sunday School class, he will most likely need PowerPoint capability. And whether he will be using his own laptop or his flash drive in your laptop (this needs to be confirmed in advance), it is crucial that Don be able to change the slides himself. If the laptop will not be next to Don, please make sure that a cable, or remote control, or some other means will function in the event setting so he can avoid having to signal someone whenever the slide needs to be changed. For example, at online resources like Amazon and others, as well as local computer, electronics, and office supply stores you can find relatively inexpensive “wireless presenters.” This is a remote control with a separate antenna the size of a flash drive that plugs into the USB port on your (or if necessary, my) laptop. No other hardware or software installation or setup is necessary.
Also when teaching (but not preaching), Don will in almost all cases use a large dry erase board (i.e., whiteboard) and an eight-color set of dry erase markers. This should preferably be placed on Don’s left. Please provide the largest board you can. If only small ones are available, please try to have two.
May we record the sessions on audio and/or video?
Yes, in most cases. Increasingly, however, Don expects to have recordings available of some of the material he presents most often. These would be made obtainable on the book table in addition to or instead of (at least while Don is there) recordings made at the event.
Does Don prefer to stay in a home or a hotel?
Unless it presents a logistical burden, Don would prefer to stay in a non-smoking room in a hotel. There are rare situations where the best choice is to stay elsewhere, such as in a home. But please realize the difficulties of staying in someone’s home while needing to maintain one’s own schedule for rest, preparation, etc., along with the disruptive effects that switching time zones may have on one’s routines. If it is necessary for Don to stay somewhere other than a hotel, please tell us about this in your responses on the Invitation Form. When this is the case, please make sure that he has a private bathroom and a private work area. Do feel free to discuss this matter with us.
In all cases, please remember that high-speed Internet access is very important. Be aware that with some hotels—and surprisingly with some of the better hotels—Internet access is an extra charge.
Does Don want a rental car?
Don almost never needs a rental car. (An exception will be mentioned in the next paragraph.) Sometimes his hosts find it necessary to rent a car on his behalf so he can drive from the airport to their distant locale. But even in these situations, he usually prefers the fellowship made possible by having someone pick him up. Often a rental car is offered out of courtesy so that he may go where he pleases during his free time. Again, he rarely needs this. When he does have free time to visit used bookstores or go to Barnes & Noble, for example, most often he prefers riding with someone who knows the area, etc.
About the only time Don needs a rental is when he is driving to the event, which he usually does when the event is within a three-hour or so drive from Louisville. Because these rentals usually occur on a weekend, the rate is half the cost of a weekday rental. The result is that even with gasoline expense added to the rental fee, the cost to the host church or organization is less than if Don drove his own vehicle and received reimbursement at the current IRS mileage rate. So he gets to drive a newer vehicle, leave his best vehicle with Caffy, and save money for his host as well.
What does Don like/not like to eat?
We appreciate the spirit of hospitality that is always behind the question. And because this is one of the most common inquiries we receive, we will try to provide some helpful details. Generally Don is a “meat and potatoes” guy. He does not care for fish, seafood, Chinese, or Asian food. He likes beef, chicken, pizza, Tex-Mex, and salad bars. He likes some Italian food, but less than most. He would not mind if pickles and mushrooms became extinct. For breakfast he usually has just toast, oatmeal, cereal, or eggs when at home. But he will eat all the traditional American breakfast foods—cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, pancakes, bagels, muffins, fruit, etc. While a wide variety of these is by no means needful, Don does request some protein (such as eggs or meat) at breakfast when he is speaking. He really enjoys going out for specialty coffees at places like Starbucks, but at home he drinks coffee just with cream. Decaf is preferred in the evenings.
Don can snack, but not eat a regular meal late in the evenings. So if the arriving flight schedule is such that there’s no time to sit down and eat before the event, eating fast food in the car is okay. The same is true regarding the departure. In fact, at least half the time when Don is traveling back home on Sunday it is necessary to eat fast food in the car. That’s just the way it goes regarding the time when most church services end and the time Don has to be at the airport.
Will Don be bringing his family?
More often than not, it is after Don arrives that he is asked, “Why didn’t you bring your family?” So perhaps it will be helpful to address the issue here in advance. Don loves to bring his wife Caffy and daughter Laurelen (born December, 1993), but it is not always possible. Sometimes it’s because the trip will conflict with their own schedule at home or church, but usually it is because they are not explicitly invited. Of course, some situations (men’s retreats, for example) are not conducive to having Don’s family with him. Most often, however, the obvious reason is the expense of flying, housing, and feeding more than one.
Occasionally, some hosts with the means will invite Don’s family and pay for them to accompany him. Frequently it is clear that Caffy and Laurelen are very welcome with the understanding that Don should bear the added expense. In a few situations, part of what would have been given as an honorarium has been offered as the means of bringing Don’s family, with some extra time provided for them to enjoy the area and each other.
Note that Caffy has experience speaking to women’s groups. She has been a women’s Bible study teacher (particularly with the Precept materials) since the mid-1980s. For this reason she sometimes receives invitations to travel with Don and speak to women sometime during the event. Most often she speaks on praying through Scripture, meditation on Scripture, on submission, and on resignation to God. Photos of Caffy are also available on the same page as Don’s photos, and her artwork is displayed on her website, www.CaffyWhitney.com.
Don is always grateful when his girls are remembered in any way. Having said all this, however, do not feel the need to address this subject in your communication with us (unless you expressly want to invite them). As said earlier, they rarely accompany Don and unless you mention it, we will assume that your invitation is for Don alone. But we have taken this space because Don has been told so often, “You should have brought them!”
What does Don want to do in his free time here?
Many, but not all, events at which Don speaks afford a free afternoon and/or evening. His favorite activity is to spend what time is available that afternoon (usually after a nap) looking for fountain pens or going to bookstores that have coffee.
Usually only larger metro areas have pen shops. However, sometimes an old, family-owned stationers/office supply store will still have a stock of “new” fountain pens they’ve had for many years. Beyond this, flea markets and antique malls are often good sources for vintage pens. Don’s hobby is restoring and using old fountain pens.
Don always finds a trip to Barnes & Noble, Borders Books, and quality used bookstores enjoyable, and the cafes in most of them provide a pleasant place for fellowship.
Be assured, however, that Don does not need to be entertained. Even if it is not possible to look for pens or visit bookstores, Don will bring plenty of work with him. He always travels with more than enough things to write, books to read, and e-mail to answer.
Don’t hesitate to make the mealtimes or the pen/book-hunting times ministry times. If Don is not speaking, say, on a Saturday evening, he welcomes the opportunity to eat with a group of church leaders and their wives, or another group in the evening where there can be fellowship or Q&A during/after the meal.
If you have not done so already, please read Don’s article, Ten Questions to Ask to Treat a Guest Speaker Well.