Today Ernie Wagoner and Harrison DeJarnett were over at my house and we came upon the discussion of worship in the church these days. We had an amazing talk about what God is doing around the globe in worship and how He is raising up a praying/worshiping generation [and I love it!]. But then I posed the question which I will pose to you as well: Should churches pay their musicians?
For me, I struggle with this. [Note: This is my opinion and I am totally open to other's point of views. That is the beauty of this blog-thing: Freedom to voice your opinion.] I am a firm believer that a church needs to recognize the sacrifices their worship team(s) offer to be there week-in-and-week-out. Some sacrifice time with their family, jobs, friends, relationships, etc. But should each worship team member be financially compensated? Before I go on I think I need to totally EXCLUDE places like a North Point where they have the financial backing to pay EVERYONE on their worship teams. They are their own special, unique breed. I will say that most churches are not at the same level North Point is. So, if you pay a drummer or guitar player that plays during the main worship service on Sunday morning, then I believe you have to pay the other people that lead worship for the smaller settings (ie. youth, children's ministry, cell groups, etc). How can you segregate them from the others. Each person is giving up something to be there on any given day.
Something that has burdened my heart lately and saddens me is churches paying outside "musicians" to come in on a Sunday morning to play an instrument. I may be overstating here, but probably most of these people that come in to play are not members of the church AND are not being discipled or raised up. More than likely, a quasi-background check does not even take place. I am not implying here that churches need to contact the feds and see if you have ever been put in jail or cheated the government, or anything like that. I'm concerned with the potential lack of discovering what is at the center of their heart. Are they playing to just play because they are talented? Or are they playing because they love the Lord and love worshiping Him through their giftings? If they are the former, then what you are left with is a good-sounding performance. Members of the body are left watching and not worshiping, and that hurts my heart for real! Could satan be using this avenue to infiltrate a worship team or even a church to hinder the move of God? Is he setting up levies to prevent the river of God from flowing in a church service? My answer, I wouldn't put it past him. He is crafty like that.
I heard someone say that "sin equals worship gone wrong." If you take this is the literal sense, my fear is that churches are "sinning" by worrying too much about having top-quality musicians rather than having people play who genuinely have a heart for worship. An amazing guitarist or drummer can come in and play phenomenally, but what are they doing Friday night? Yes I know, we all have our own "thorns" that weigh us down at times, but we rely on the amazing grace that was given to us by Jesus' death on the cross and press in and press on because we rest in the wondrous fact that the Lord looks at our heart!
What do y'all think? Should worship team musicians be paid? My church does not have the financial capabilities to pay each person, and some have voiced the concern that we are going to lose musicians to other churches because of this. But I have to believe that one, our God is bigger than that and two, we will not lose God-centered musicians because they will see that God is truly in our house of worship.
I'm anxious to hear what you think...
Grace and peace.