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.
Good point. When our church told me they were going to start paying me as worship leader I had a really hard time with that. I had been doing it as my way of serving. I dodged the subject as long as possible. They told me it was a paid staff position and since the prior worship leader had left they had to fill it. That was the first time in my life I negotiated a lesser salary than I was offered. Now, for some context, I'm not a professional musician, if I were and/or needed the income it might be different. I'm a computer software engineer by trade and my day job still pays all my bills. One thing that being a paid staff member did do for me is formalize my authority as worship leader to the team members, congregation, outside organizations, the United Methodist district staff, gave me a budget and credit card, etc. I came to terms with my situation in a personal way. It's not something I expect anyone else to do. I use my church salary to supplement my worship budget and sponsor youth on missions trips that could otherwise not afford to go. I've got nothing against paid worship leaders or team members if their hearts are in the right place.
I don't have anything against a paid worship leader, or church staff member that get a salary for their work in the church. I myself am on staff with my church and get a small stipend for serving. However I volunteered to server before I was offered a stipend. I think the question here is whether we should sire from outsdide the church to fill in key postiions in your worship team. Yes there are a lot of great musicians out there, but how many have a heart to serve the Lord.
Our church was started as a new church plant. No building, no property, no staff, no congregation, just a pastor commanded to go to this community and start a church. After a lot of asking strangers to help start a new church there were enough members to move from a round table in the library to renting space at a local school on Sunday. At this point a part time worship leader was hired. He sang and played keyboard. Things continued to grow ever so slowly. The worship leader was able to recruit a few volunteer singers and a guitar player. He then hired a drummer and bass player to round things out. With that worship team in place worship took off and the church started growing much faster. Now we have enough members that I am able to fill my team with all volunteers and a rotation schedule. Well, I did hire a drummer one Sunday when all 3 of our volunteer drummers were out of town and I was also out of town and had delegated worship leading to a volunteer from my team. I didn't want to leave him with no drummer, he was nervous enough already.
My experience is that if you don't have the skill sets in your congregation volunteering then hiring a few professional musicians can really help energize your worship and grow your congregation. Instead of looking at it as hiring professionals instead of giving God a chance to work, maybe it was the prompting of God that caused our prior worship leader to go hire a drummer and bass player.
The bible says that we should be be paid for our good work, and Jesus said that a man cannot have two masters, he will love one and hate the other.
Worship service is not a rock-n-roll show it is a worship service. If a musician is attracted because it is a "paying gig" then I would question where their heart is. I have had this experience when a pastor ran an add for musicians, the first question from those inquiring was not about serving the Lord, but is this a paying position.
However if a musician starts as a non paid volunteer and then the church decided to start paying them this is acceptable because the musician has proven his "heart" is with the ministry first.
Most large churches work on a rotating schedule for the musicians. Your pastor should contact the worship leader or pastor of these churches and see if they have anyone who can help on their off weeks.
If its a church-wide worship team then mixing in a 'ringer' shouldn't hurt You must consider an adult's willingness to 'sit in' with some teens/youth, though. Consider asking them to 'ask your friends' who might play some lead at this time. If given adequate time, even a novice can pull-off some simple lead work so long as they know whats expected and have time to work it up. I've seen groups hired in (ad hoc, piece by piece...) from local 'ringers' So long as they're not playing clubs/bars the night before I personally wouldn't have an issue. It'd be a nice, low threat way for some to come to church period. As soon as one can I feel it's best to use in-house talent to make a team. They have 'credit' with the congregation/worshippers and it's more a ministry of the church family that way. If you need to, hire some guns but keep encouraging the youth to plug away at it. Good for you! Let us know how it goes.
I was "paid to play" for two six month periods in 2002-2003, at a rather large church in the PNW that just seemingly didn't have a large enough talent pool to draw from. I was paid to play guitar and sing lead and harmony vocals. Since I had been a Christian for a number of years at the time, there wasn't a question of motivation. I looked at it from the outset as a temporary gig, but an honor and a priviledge regardless of the duration of the position.
Its completely acceptable to hire musicians, provided they understand what they are being contracted to provide. I would want, as soon as possible, to fill any worship team with volunteers, though. They have the heart for it. Heart trumps skill, every time.