I actually have mixed emotions (or some consternation) about this issue. In an ideal world, no one in ministry would be expecting a salary per se, because the people of the church would just “take care” of those who “care for their souls,” and this includes any worship team. But in reality, we live in a world that, even in the church, needs some structure and protocol, and that includes financially treating our leaders in a manner “worthy of [their] hire.” I know that some churches are adamant against paying instrumentalists, and I see where that comes from, but the reality is that you have no…how to say this?… leverage with a volunteer; you’re counting on their continued positive response to their calling, and in their church community. This, sadly, is becoming more of a rarity in our churches, as people seem willing to uproot and move from one congregation to another on often the slightest of whims. Paying your musicians is, unfortunately, an effective tool at stemming (or at least retarding) that trend among your worship team.
Moreover, I think it is hard to justify paying even a music minister but not anyone else. Perhaps, due to his greater responsibilities, he ought to be paid more (maybe substantially more), but only in the smallest of churches is worship leadership a “one-man show” (if I may be so crude). If more than one person is leading–and I think they all need to be saved people, and members of the church–a real, practical appreciation for their gifts of time and talent to the church should be demonstrated. If those folks don’t want to accept any money, it should be their privilege to refuse.
This needs one more answer option: depends…
I’m not sure I agree that a whole worship team should be paid, just to have ringer musicians on the stage, or that a few should be while others aren’t. That doesn’t seem like “church”, or at least what it means to be the gathering body of Christ. But, there are times when having a paid musician is good and right for the situation of a church. We have 3 different venues, 2 with paid worship leaders (one full time, one part time), and the third venue, a newer one for “traditional” worship, has a paid pianist. But we don’t pay any of our other musicians, instead, drawing from the gifts/people God has seen fit to give us. We ask the Lord for what we wish, and work with what He gives. There are times when hiring a musician to fill a hole in a special event (Christmas, Easter, outreach) might be worthy, but not necessarily the best long-term.
Sup everyone…i feel like im an bit of an expert on this topic because im a musician and a worship pastor and i have been in ministry for 10years now. I have lived on both sides of the fence. As a musician first, Ive always been paid…im not money chaser I will play for free in a heart beat..I also believe that if you work hard at your gift and that you should get paid for it. We do this all the time when we take our car to the shop to get it fixed or we call a plumber to unclog the drains at our house. We pay people based on their gifting all the time. Im not saying that the musician should hold his/her gift hostage…im saying that if your church can afford it to pay the musicians then they should get paid. Theres nothing wrong with that….but with that payment comes a contract and high level of standards and expectations that must be met every week like…knowing the music, being on time for all scheduled events and rehearsals and so on. Even if your volunteers dont get paid the standard of exellence shouild always be evident. Im a worship Pastor at a church now where im a paid fulltime employee…but none of my volunteer musicians get paid. So basically i have all volunteers but i demand the same level of exellence as if my volunteers were getting paid. The volunteers i have still show up on time, they have a blast, and i show them alot of appreciation…why, because they have to work just as hard as i do learning songs, parts, tempos…etc. So i say yes to paying your musicians if the church can afford it…and even if they cant afford it your musicians should know how much they you appreciate their sacrafice and time dedication to God and to the team. People dont care how much you know…until they know how much you care.
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