Hey. I tried looking up some old topics on this, but couldn't seem to find any.
What's your opinion about hiring musicians, at least a core band (lead guitarist, and possibly drummer) for the worship team?
I know it seems kind of strange, but my pastor is really pushing for me to do this for our praise and worship service, which is really lacking in guitarists skilled enough to play. I'm all ready working with some members of the youth on lead guitar, but they are still very young, (10 - 13 years old) and not ready. Some day they will if they stay at it, but until than I'm pushed to go into a more rock/contemporary style for our praise and worship service, and it is is hard to pull that off without any guitar. I don't have any equipment for it yet.
I would say don't look this gift horse in the mouth too long or he might gallop away! :)
If there is a budget for hiring a talented guitar player (or whatever position in the band) then I would go out and find the best one you can. And by best, I don't just mean playing ability. I would look for someone with a great personality, a good spirit, and most importantly, someone who can teach others.
You've got these young guys learning guitar? Here is the perfect opportunity for them to learn from someone who can really do it. You'd be doing the kingdom of God a favor if you could combine your worship leading with a chance to train young leaders, maybe even taking them beyond what you could do on your own (and I'm not knocking your own ability to play and teach - obviously I know nothing about it). Having another talented person alongside of you to do this would be awesome!
I always find this a strange concept. Hiring a drummer and a guitarist in order to make the music sound better during the service. It's incredibly rare for this to happen in the UK. I know that there are occasions when guitarists get hired, but they tend to be for one off occasions/events, e.g. at large worship conferences the band may get paid to be there, as they are often session musicians during their "day jobs".
You appear to be talking about hiring people on a full time basis in order to always have good musical worship on a Sunday.
Not being fully aware of your church situation or your church's vision, I can't comment on whether or not this is the right thing to do or not, however, these are some point I would look at:
1. Why are you required to go into a more rock/contemporary style? Is it because the congregation want to go in that direction or is it because the leadership of the church feel that that is what "modern" churches do? Alternatively, is it a sense of competition and trying to be the best church in the area/attract a bigger congregation? (I know that last point seems harsh, but I mean it in no way disrespectfully, it's just that it can be easier to get sucked into the trap of just copying what the larger churches do in the hope of being the same as they are.)
2. Is God saying that the money He has given the church should be spent on making better music? This may be the case, but the fact that you are uncertain about this makes me think that maybe He isn't saying this. How will investing in a guitarist/drummer for the services help His Kingdom grow?
3. Is there anyone in the congregation who is willing to come and play, who has maybe been overlooked and who would love to be asked to play? If you are in a large church, then I can't imagine that there is no one who can play guitar/drums in the congregation. On the other hand, if you are in a small church, then I would suggest that maybe the money could be invested in different areas, such as community outreach, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc?
As I said earlier (I think), there is nothing wrong with hiring a guitarist/drummer if your situation allows you to and if you feel this to be the best investment of the financial gifts God has given the church. I would argue that if you do choose to hire these musicians that they should be strong christians, who live a life of worship inside and outside the church.
Just my thoughts, feel free to take them or leave them as you will. I would be interested to know what you finally do decide to do...
In response to #2: Good point, but I don't think you have to look for God to be telling you anything here. If your focus is on growing the kingdom and your church is proving it with finances, and there's extra money to use for worship, it's not against God's will - I'm sure of that.
As a gut check in our own congregation, missions gets 60% of our budget. We feel this states with fair certainty that we are committed to his purposes. That being said, we only pay our piano player a small stipend and a choir director for two major projects a year. As the weekly modern worship leader, I don't get anything but the enjoyment of doing it.
I think those are some good points to make. Obviously, any decision on ministry focus, spending of resources, etc, should be handled with prayer and wisdom. I'm making the assumption that the leadership of your church has done this, or they wouldn't be asking.
I would just add a comment to Alex's point #2: How will investing in a guitarist/drummer for the services help His Kingdom grow?
I'm picking the statement out of context, so please don't take offense, but I wanted to make this observation: I believe that investing in our fellow workers - both in time and in money - is very vital in helping the kingdom grow. I believe that one of the main roles of the organised church is to train the layity to go out and be effective in ministry.
As I said above, if you can find someone who will bring depth to and opportunity for younger muscians to learn (as opposed to a 'session player') then I think that investment in the new, younger 'leaders' will have far reaching effects.
We send children's workers to training seminars, we send our band members to worship conferences, we ask pastors to take sabbaticals and to take further training courses - why not bring in skilled musicians who will inspire and bring confidence to our teams?
Of course, I'm not advocating the 'competition with other churches' thing - far from it. Each decision like this needs to be based on the unique need and situation of the individual church. May God give you clear peace on which way to proceed.
I agree with you on all those points, and re-reading my previous post I can see how my question could be read in an accusatory tone. I did not mean it in that way:) I simply meant that a point to consider would be whether or not and in what way would such a position help His Kingdom grow. You have pointed out some great ways in which this would help.
I am in complete accord with you in terms of investing in our fellow workers, myself having recently gone on a worship course, partly paid for by the church which has benefited me and the church no end.
The question was simply made as a point to consider in the context of each particular church.
Essentially, a church that is surrounded by homeless, hungry and broken people, would probably do well investing in food, shelter and outreach over a professional guitarist, no matter how "good" their worship sounded, for that is how His Kingdom would spread in that area. After all, who would turn to a God who has great music, but has no money left to feed the poor?
On the other hand, if a church has well established outreach/homeless/hungry/etc projects, and has a congregation that is passionate about living lives of worship, but is struggling with the young people not staying/turning away/etc, then hiring a musician, who could teach and mentor them, along with adding a refreshing and contemporary style to the services, would be a great investment into the Kingdom. The young people would be nurtured in their faith and in their musicianship and would enjoy being at church more.
As I said previously, it all depends on the circumstances of each particular church.
I went to a worship conference a while back, and one of the speakers was a worship leader who had hired four "studio cats" as the worship band (the pastor was on board with this) - they weren't necessarily Christians (I think he said the drummer was a Buddhist), and, admittedly, he was in the Hollywood area where he had a huge talent pool to draw from. But for his particular church, his feeling was that this was working out well.
One of the things he mentioned was that with the players he had, they didn't have rehearsals - they showed up an hour or so before the service, he put the charts in front of them and they nailed 'em every time. And they could deal with last minute key changes, reading sheet music when necessary, etc. Their equipment was good, reliable, it would stay in tune, and they knew how to play. And the pastor knew not to stop in the middle of the sermon and ask the drummer to get up and give a testimony :-) And the players were committed to be there, or if they couldn't be there, he was now tied into a network where he could find a substitute drummer on short notice who could, again, show up and play.
However, I think they decided to do this when they first started their contemporary service, so there were no existing musicians who were being "replaced," and thus no resentment on that account. I believe the singers were church members (and probably rehearsed with trax at other times or something), but there was a sense that "these guys are the band, we pay them to come and sound good. the rest of us are the worship leaders, we don't get paid, we do this for Jesus..." In your situation, I would worry that hiring one or two "ringers" to come in and play, while the rest of the band is volunteers, could lead to some problems... so make sure you include those people in the discussion, and anybody who is good enough to stay in the band, you might offer them something financial, just for "status" reasons. Or, bouncing off some of Rick's comments... maybe if you find somebody who is not just a good guitarist, but can teach / arrange / etc., you could bring them in as the "musical director" of the band, or give them some sort of title that explains "here's why we're paying this guy and not the rest of you."
And to oversimplify some of Alex's comments... be sure that "a more rock sound" is what the congregation / church needs, not that it's just something the pastor heard at a pastor's conference somewhere...
In my opinion its not the best thing to do. I understand the need for your church to have a full band. I myself don't have the resources in our church to field a full band. But I would rather have members that are committed to worshiping the Lord and have a Heart for worship than hire someone that may bring a contrary spirit or attitude to the team. There are more musicians in and of the world then there are worship leaders.
I totally agree with Sam. Worship is so much more than just the music. I have been preaching a series on true worship and have learned if we do not see the Lord high and lifted up in our individual worship and keep our focus on Him, and realize who we are in His presence then we won't experience worship anyway. If God's people are not led to that place by the worship team, and that can only happen when they truly worship, and that can only happen if they are saved, delivered and healed , then you can't expect the people in the service to experience much when it comes to worship. The "to do's" are not as important as the "to Who".
The worship musicians and singers at my church are all volunteer. The church does supply the guitarists with strings wehn needed as appreciation. Amps are repaired as needed to show our appreciation. SInce we are a guitar driven band situations arise when specialty instruments are needed and hired out (Christmas services for example). The worship leader gets a stpend for his services (me). We do not have any paid employees involved in the worship ministry. I believe that serving on the worship team is important, and an honor.
Some good points, Terry. I don't believe there's a right or wrong way to look at this; I think it really depends on each church's unique situation. Yes, I've been a paid worship leader in the past, and yes, I currently do it for free. It is an honor and a privelege, but people do need to eat...
What God leads us into at the time is where we should be content.
Are you looing for a job or to serve in a Ministry? Yes your chosen profession is as a musician, but the question is should that be your motivation when you are serving the Most High God... Leading worship is not about performing or playing. Its about sacrafice and service. Yes there are worship leaders that are a part of the ministry staff and do get a salary, however I doubt that the motivation for the majority of most is the paycheck at the end of the week.