OF KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES, PAID INSTRUMENTALISTS, HEADACHES IN MINISTRY AND OTHER ALLIED MATTERS.
Let me begin by saying to you, Sir and Ma, that this is not a doctrine so you really do not have to take this at all. Ministries are built by models and whether you know it or not, there is a model you are already building with.
Now, please don’t kid yourself that your model is a purely Christ-like model. That’s the song of people who are insincere. Jesus did not tell you to buy a certain type of microphone, neither did He tell you to use a particular kind of drum set. I would not believe you if you said He told you it’s an air conditioning venue that His Spirit needs to move and neither will I accept that the oven of the church you use is the incubation for His power. Jesus did not tell you to wear suits neither did he tell you it’s only jeans you should wear. The songs you sing are chosen by you according to how they fit your understanding of scriptures. It’s not Christ that chose your time of service for you neither did he choose the duration of service. Many times, we make certain decisions based on our exposure in ministry, biases we tilt towards or innate desires that sometimes elude our consciousness.
Now your model is either bringing headache to you or bringing peace to you! I DO NOT SEEK TO CONDEMN ANY APPROACH!!! I just hope this helps you, really.
One of the greatest headaches you can have in ministry is the music department and some of the greatest stressors that abide within that department are INSTRUMENTALISTS. Please bear in mind that I’ve been pastoring for almost 2 decades, yet when CLC started I still almost wrecked things. After about a year of pioneering, we finally got a few instruments–drums, keyboard and a guitar–but unfortunately no one in the congregation could play. To cut long story short, I solicited the help of mercenaries. Lol. They were instrumentalists who came to play for us, professionals. They played well and the energy in service went up. My kind of person, I love energy. Except that after praise worship they would all leave immediately and go to another church. Hmmmmnnnn… and somehow, I allowed them. We paid per service. They called it transport allowance but it quickly became DEMAND ALLOWANCE. They sometimes even threatened “if you don’t pay us, we won’t play”.
Now for someone who has an appreciable taste for excellence, you can fall into the pressure of New Century Ministry rather than New Testament Ministry. You fall into keeping up with the Joneses. There were times we were not sure our “professionals” would show up. I still remember a day when we were to have a baby dedication and after these fellows played for worship, they disappeared. It was then time to rejoice with the family during the dedication and my “professionals” were gone. So we clapped and danced to our songs.
Well one morning as I began to get ready to go to church, I heard God clearly say, “What are you building? If you continue with this model, you will be building on shallow sand; everything will soon start coming down.” I couldn’t deny it. I knew it was God. He told me to sack everyone and start afresh. “Throw away your “professionals” and the energy of the flesh they have built.” It is better if you have not started some things because it may be difficult to stop. I had a little struggle and wrestle with God over the matter. I couldn’t bear to go back to that season of having instruments and no one to play them, which meant that we would go back to clapping our hands in every service. But I eventually obeyed. I called my associate Pastor and told him to sack everyone. We had a crazy service. Service after service we had to manage. Then one after the other, sons and daughters began to emerge with genuine passion for God. People who sincerely are God driven and Jesus crazy. A number were amateurs but I was willing to build again. Sincerely it’s been one of the BEST decisions I took in ministry. The men and women I am surrounded with in ministry today are simply amazing.
I have learnt that growth in music ministry within a local church should be organic, not artificial. Let men and women emerge from within carrying the spirit of what God told you. I HAVE NEVER PAID ANY INSTRUMENTALIST SINCE THEN AND I WILL NEVER PAY ANY VOCALIST AGAIN but I am willing to bring remuneration to a music minister who sees it as a calling and joins the ministry team. He or she will pray as much as we pray, go through the full brunt and rigor of our ministry team’s discipline, resume and close when we do. But for playing drums and singing, we will not pay.
If we do pay you for singing and drumming, then we should pay the Children’s Church teachers who do that full time too in an organization yet volunteer their skills for your children on Sundays. While you sit on the keyboard collecting money for playing, your children are being taken care of by those who refused to charge. If we pay the instrumentalists just for playing, then we should pay the people who clean the church knowing some of them run professional cleaning services yet volunteer their skills and even equipment on Sunday to make the house of worship tidy. If we pay vocalists then we should pay the ushers on Sunday knowing some of them run professional ushering services for weddings and events, yet they volunteer their skill in church. If we pay the vocalists then we should pay the security team knowing some of them live on their security skills normally but yet volunteer their skills to protect our properties during service.
If you run a money system for skills as a young minister, you will get into trouble. Let the sleeping dog alone is the case of anyone demanding money from you before they serve God. If you are able to absorb them into full time service as a minister in your organization then by all means please do and take them through the discipline of a minister while you reward them financially. When it’s all said and done, you will not give an account of their talents but rather of their life. Train men, teach men and equip men. Refuse to be pressured and grow God’s children till they see that.
For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saved people serve others and money must not be the motivation.