Presbyterianism, whose bodies are also called Reformed Churches, share a common origin in the 16th-century Swiss Reformation and the teachings of John Calvin, and today is one of the largest Christian denominations in Protestantism.

Paid Musicians

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  • Paid Musicians

    My tiny church doesn't have any musicians, and it drives me nuts. I really dislike singing without a pianist.

    I've suggested hiring a pro, and even offered to pay for it, but the elders scoffed at the idea. They essentially said that they would only allow a member of the church to play an instrument during the Sunday worship service.

    Anyone have thoughts, opinions, or suggestions?

  • #2
    The best solution would be to pray that God leads someone who can play the piano to join your church.
    Clyde Herrin's Blog
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by thatbrian View Post
      My tiny church doesn't have any musicians, and it drives me nuts. I really dislike singing without a pianist.

      I've suggested hiring a pro, and even offered to pay for it, but the elders scoffed at the idea. They essentially said that they would only allow a member of the church to play an instrument during the Sunday worship service.

      Anyone have thoughts, opinions, or suggestions?
      I agree with the elders on this one. I'm a musician and I play at Church and it's a ministry. If we were short a player, hiring one would never even come to mind. We'd just do without.

      IMO there is nothing wrong with guitar leading worship.
      Comment>

      • #4
        Having a musician within your congregation is just another added benefit of a growing church. It is not a necessity, but a nice-to-have. Though, like theophilus has mentioned no church should be spending money on hiring musicians. Though, I venture to guess that some of the larger churches/mega-churches do have the members of the worship band in the church's payroll. But that is only because they have chosen to put that much of their resources into that kind of ministry.
        Comment>

        • #5
          Hi Brian, it would be a long-shot, but you might try approaching the minister of music at a larger or mega church in your area about "borrowing" a pianist for your service. There are normally a ton of qualified Christian pianists at a larger church who would "like" to play, but will never get the chance to. Big churches usually have multiple services, which means they would be able to play at your service and still attend a service at their home church if they wanted to.

          Of course, this might still be seen as an attempt at "sheep stealing" by the mega-church staff, but if they have a pianist who would like to have the "experience" of helping to lead worship, at least until another pianist joins your church as a member who is willing and able to take over for them, maybe they'd be ok with it. Having been part of a Presbyterian Church that averaged 5,000+ each week in attendance, I can guarantee you that our minister of music was approached regularly by people who hoped to be at least a small part of the worship ministry there, but there was simply no place for them.

          You might also try putting up a sign on the bulletin boards of some of your local music schools to see if one of their Christian piano majors would be interested in helping out, at least for awhile (as a ministry, not as a job). As a music major myself, I certainly liked to find "paying" jobs when I was in school, but mostly, I just wanted the opportunity to perform, whether I got paid or not.

          Praying that the Lord would provide such a person for your church should remain your #1 focus, of course.

          Yours and His,
          David
          p.s. - I think I should also say that I have no problem with paid staff at a church. We pay our pastors, our secretaries, and our janitorial staff members either full or part-time salaries, why should we expect someone who has spent years training as a musician (and who continues to spend hours each day practicing to remain proficient at it), to simply give us all of that (+ the additional hours each week that are required to prepare for and perform in our Sunday Services)? If they want to do so w/o compensation, that's fine, of course, but there should be no objection to making certain positions in our churches paid positions in the case of such people and in the case of "jobs" that require so much time (IMHO anyway). I know of no Biblical grounds for doing so. In fact, quite the opposite is true, is it not (i.e. Matthew 10:10; 1 Timothy 5:18).

          In the giant Presbyterian church that I spoke of earlier, anyone who did a regular, weekly task at/for church that required spending 15 or more hours of their time to complete was immediately put on the payroll (unless they chose not to be, of course).
          Last edited by David Lee; 10-12-2016, 03:29 PM.
          Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

          "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

          "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

          "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

          "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
          Comment>

          • #6
            I could see hiring a person who is a Christian to serve as the pianist. But outside of that, it's a bad idea.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by Papa Zoom View Post
              I could see hiring a person who is a Christian to serve as the pianist. But outside of that, it's a bad idea.
              I definitely agree with that Papa. Leading worship in church should always be much more than just a paid "gig", for all kinds of reasons. Non-Christians should never be part of the leadership in our churches, in any capacity.
              Last edited by David Lee; 10-14-2016, 03:41 AM.
              Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

              "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

              "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

              "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

              "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                The best solution would be to pray that God leads someone who can play the piano to join your church.
                Praying isn't a solution. Farmers don't pray in crops. They till, sew, water, and pray.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by Knotical View Post
                  Having a musician within your congregation is just another added benefit of a growing church. It is not a necessity, but a nice-to-have. Though, like theophilus has mentioned no church should be spending money on hiring musicians. Though, I venture to guess that some of the larger churches/mega-churches do have the members of the worship band in the church's payroll. But that is only because they have chosen to put that much of their resources into that kind of ministry.
                  Should a church spend money for a pastor or communion wine?
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Papa Zoom View Post

                    I agree with the elders on this one. I'm a musician and I play at Church and it's a ministry. If we were short a player, hiring one would never even come to mind. We'd just do without.

                    IMO there is nothing wrong with guitar leading worship.
                    Does your pastor have a "ministry"? Is he paid?

                    I think may people have a knee-jerk negative reaction to paying musicians, but I can't find any reason for not paying them. Do you have a biblical reason behind your answer?

                    A guitar would never work for the music we do, also, it's too lowbrow for the are in which I live.
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
                      Hi Brian, it would be a long-shot, but you might try approaching the minister of music at a larger or mega church in your area about "borrowing" a pianist for your service. There are normally a ton of qualified Christian pianists at a larger church who would "like" to play, but will never get the chance to. Big churches usually have multiple services, which means they would be able to play at your service and still attend a service at their home church if they wanted to.

                      Of course, this might still be seen as an attempt at "sheep stealing" by the mega-church staff, but if they have a pianist who would like to have the "experience" of helping to lead worship, at least until another pianist joins your church as a member who is willing and able to take over for them, maybe they'd be ok with it. Having been part of a Presbyterian Church that averaged 5,000+ each week in attendance, I can guarantee you that our minister of music was approached regularly by people who hoped to be at least a small part of the worship ministry there, but there was simply no place for them.

                      You might also try putting up a sign on the bulletin boards of some of your local music schools to see if one of their Christian piano majors would be interested in helping out, at least for awhile (as a ministry, not as a job). As a music major myself, I certainly liked to find "paying" jobs when I was in school, but mostly, I just wanted the opportunity to perform, whether I got paid or not.

                      Praying that the Lord would provide such a person for your church should remain your #1 focus, of course.

                      Yours and His,
                      David
                      p.s. - I think I should also say that I have no problem with paid staff at a church. We pay our pastors, our secretaries, and our janitorial staff members either full or part-time salaries, why should we expect someone who has spent years training as a musician (and who continues to spend hours each day practicing to remain proficient at it), to simply give us all of that (+ the additional hours each week that are required to prepare for and perform in our Sunday Services)? If they want to do so w/o compensation, that's fine, of course, but there should be no objection to making certain positions in our churches paid positions in the case of such people and in the case of "jobs" that require so much time (IMHO anyway). I know of no Biblical grounds for doing so. In fact, quite the opposite is true, is it not (i.e. Matthew 10:10; 1 Timothy 5:18).

                      In the giant Presbyterian church that I spoke of earlier, anyone who did a regular, weekly task at/for church that required spending 15 or more hours of their time to complete was immediately put on the payroll (unless they chose not to be, of course).
                      Very helpful reply, and I agree. There is nothing inherently wrong with paying musicians, and for all of the reasons you've mentioned.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by thatbrian View Post

                        Should a church spend money for a pastor or communion wine?
                        It depends on that Pastor's focus. If they are completely full time, and that is really their only "job" then it is incumbent on the congregation to provide a living wage so the pastor will not be burdened in that regard. It allows him to focus on shepherding the flock rather than be distracted with having to maintain another job to support his family. It really is part of the cost of having a self-sustaining church.

                        Of course we spend money on communion wine/grape juice. Would you want us to steal it? What kind of precedence would that set?
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Knotical View Post

                          It depends on that Pastor's focus. If they are completely full time, and that is really their only "job" then it is incumbent on the congregation to provide a living wage so the pastor will not be burdened in that regard. It allows him to focus on shepherding the flock rather than be distracted with having to maintain another job to support his family. It really is part of the cost of having a self-sustaining church.

                          Of course we spend money on communion wine/grape juice. Would you want us to steal it? What kind of precedence would that set?
                          I light of the above, how do you reconcile this statement?: "no church should be spending money on hiring musicians." If wine (not grape juice) producers are allowed to earn a living for their work, and pastors may be paid for theirs, why no musicians? Seems like a double standard.
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by thatbrian View Post

                            Does your pastor have a "ministry"? Is he paid?

                            I think may people have a knee-jerk negative reaction to paying musicians, but I can't find any reason for not paying them. Do you have a biblical reason behind your answer?

                            A guitar would never work for the music we do, also, it's too lowbrow for the are in which I live.
                            The Pastor is a full time employee. I play in the church band. I usually pay twice a month. Are we also going to pay the Sunday School Teachers, the Awana "volunteers" and for that matter, all the people involved in every aspect of the church. How about the lady that fills the cups for communion? Where does it end?

                            It's not a knee jerk reaction. It's a wise use of funds. There are people in the church that have musical gifts. Gifts given them by God. There are plenty of people who are willing to serve. Getting paid for it is tacky. It's no longer a service to God, it's a paid job.

                            This is not the same as the workman who serves in full time capacity. We have a musical minister. He puts in many hours and is paid. He should. He's in charge of everything as it relates to the music. I know what's involved. I've led many bands over my 50 plus years of playing music. It's a ton of work.

                            If someone in our band insisted on getting paid to play, I'd tell them they are no longer needed. It's just wrong.

                            If a church doesn't have anyone that can provide musical backup, just sing. Voices only. But to pay a musician for the service, I don't know. Not if your a member of that church. If you're an outsider and a Christian, and the church wants to hire you regularly to lead in music, that's a paid position. I'm okay with that. But you can't just hire any musician to lead God's people in worship. That's bad form.
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Papa Zoom View Post

                              The Pastor is a full time employee. I play in the church band. I usually pay twice a month. Are we also going to pay the Sunday School Teachers, the Awana "volunteers" and for that matter, all the people involved in every aspect of the church. How about the lady that fills the cups for communion? Where does it end?

                              It's not a knee jerk reaction. It's a wise use of funds. There are people in the church that have musical gifts. Gifts given them by God. There are plenty of people who are willing to serve. Getting paid for it is tacky. It's no longer a service to God, it's a paid job.

                              This is not the same as the workman who serves in full time capacity. We have a musical minister. He puts in many hours and is paid. He should. He's in charge of everything as it relates to the music. I know what's involved. I've led many bands over my 50 plus years of playing music. It's a ton of work.

                              If someone in our band insisted on getting paid to play, I'd tell them they are no longer needed. It's just wrong.

                              If a church doesn't have anyone that can provide musical backup, just sing. Voices only. But to pay a musician for the service, I don't know. Not if your a member of that church. If you're an outsider and a Christian, and the church wants to hire you regularly to lead in music, that's a paid position. I'm okay with that. But you can't just hire any musician to lead God's people in worship. That's bad form.

                              Double standards fill your reply. Do you see them? However, I don't see your ideas grounded in scripture.

                              Here's one: "For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
                              Comment>
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