Saturday, February 16, 2008

Should we pay?

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.

12 comments:

brad said...

You aren't getting paid? This is awkward...

Seriously, I think it is a slippery slope. You and I have talked about it and while I am not necessarily concerned about losing musicians to other paying churches, I want to make sure we do all we can to make people want to play here. The main thing that entails is being in a posture to receive the Holy Spirit during worship. HIS presence will draw people, not cash. Also, doing worsihp excellently is another way to draw musicians in. If we are striving for God to move, all is good. He will take care of the rest.

steve and randel hambrick said...

interesting post~~~
i'm looking forward to hearing what people say..

i think it would be great to pay everyone, but seems a bit unrealistic.. it seems like each part of the body picks a place to serve, and musicians serve through music. we don't pay community group leaders, but they take time away from family too.
i at least think the leader of worship should be paid something, as the time this person should/would be spending is significant each week (planning, mentoring the team, etc..)

great question!

Boggsy said...

Brad and Randel, I couldn't agree with you more! Despite all of the sound issues we have at church, one of the biggest draws is that the Spirit is alive and moving amongst the body, and there is freedom!

Randel, you are absolutely right! If we pay the musicians, then we need to be paying other "servant positions", ie. cell group leaders, childcare, etc.

It is a very fine line and my heart is burdened by some other places (at least from what I've heard and gathered).

Harrison... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harrison... said...

I am kindof still on the fence about this whole thing as well...
On one hand, just the thought of being able to make money while leading worship is somewhat enticing... I love worshipping, especially playing and worshipping more than anything and being able to get paid for doing something you love like that would be great.
however, the love and passion I have for worship has developed during times I have not been paid. It is the voluntary act of moving towards the lord in music that creates worship... not the price of each musician.
So I will repeat myself and say that I am on the fence about the whole thing.
But in all reality, our only reason for being on this earth is to worship our lord through the talents he gave us, if we are faithful he will take care of us... and the will look different for everyone of us.

ManUtd17 said...

I think if the resources are there, we should pay the musicians. I agree with paying the worship leader/pastor -- assuming he does more than sing on Sunday morning (did I type that out loud?) But I hear what you're saying about everyone doing their part regardless of the chance for dough. And if people want to leave because there's money to be earned somewhere else, I can't fault someone for trying to put food on the table -- but I hope they are leading elsewhere because they sense the Lord's leading first and foremost.

As much as Satan can use a non-believer on the worship team for his purpose, I think the Lord can use that for His purposes. We wouldn't turn away a non-believer from a Bible study or Alpha or Men's group, would we? Couldn't the Lord speak to someone who is on the fence or who is searching from the stage as much as in the seats?

Just a thought.

Boggsy said...

Bill,
I would have to throw some thoughts out, leading worship is not the stage for an on-the-fence person. Being a Levite, or worship leader, is such a high calling that is vitally important to God's heart. I believe there is a "heart for" priority list for people on-stage: 1)Heart for the Lord, 2)Heart for worship, 3)Heart for people, 4)Heart for music. Without number 1, they should not be up there.

Good comment...Anybody else?

duanemixon said...

Well, That’s the question right…

We pay our musicians...
For a couple reasons--

We make it a point to use members (we try to never contract musicians from outside the church)
And most of them are not professional musicians...
It is hard for someone who isn’t playing music as a full time occupation to budget for musical equipment(drum heads, strings, amps, etc.) and this stuff gets pricey.
I think it is a small price for the church to pay to help equip it’s musicians with the ability to purchase quality gear…..

Also, You use the term Levite quite a bit to describe modern worship leaders…
And I agree…We are spiritually speaking descendants of the Levites
And the Levites were completely supported by the other tribes…
Now I’m not saying that anyone who plays lead guitar in the band should have his house paid for by the church….but it does lend some credence to compensating those who facilitate worship in our services….

In the end though it’s all about motive…
If you are doing it to bless the musicians and help them in developing as musicians…that’s one thing
But if you are doing it so you can have a stellar product…that’s totally different

Boggsy said...

Duane, I was hoping you would offer your wisdom here. I agree with you and if churches are financially capable of paying their musicians, then I think that's a good idea. Unfortunately we can't, which means we must find other ways to show musicians that they are appreciated. And to be honest, I think this is lacking in our church.

Motive is the key!! Why are they on-stage? For their own glory or for God's. Good word.

I need to come visit your church for real!

The Mixon's said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
duanemixon said...

Do we pay musicians for the good of the Church and musicians??
Or the glorification of the Music Directors ego??

The desire to have a bangin' band can sometimes blind the best of us....am I right?

Constantly checking our motives is an absolute must.....

Dig the blog boggs...

come see me anytime
You are always welcome

shaneharvey said...

Alright, I'm done stalking your blog and I will finally post a comment.

I personally wrestle with any church staff being paid full-time for serving the church. I don't have an answer for that, but I do know that there are many ministers out there who work at churches because it pays the bills. (This does not apply to anyone in our church).

The only time I have felt "hurt" in this paying your musicians thing is when groups outside of church come in for an event (to lead worship, not a concert) and get paid. I don't expect to get paid for what we do, but we do put in some overtime at times. Why pay outsiders and not your committed servants? It's for His glory, so I honestly put it aside and do what He made me to do.

As for me, I am gonna keep on pursuing His Face and enjoying His Presence...it is an honor to worship with you, brother.