Is it right to pay church singers?

 Singing in church is just a part of the overall worship experience

Singing in church is just a part of the overall worship experience

Lovemore Chikova Christian Entertainment
I have often come across churches which pay singers who take part in the praise and worship team.

While this may sound noble, a lot of questions are being raised on the benefits of this move.

Is it right for churches to pay their singers in the praise and worship team?

Well, this is an age-old question that has been answered by people in various ways depending on where they stand.

I think paying musicians in the praise and worship team can turn out to be most odious venture that a church can embark on. This is because once you pay the church choir, what will stop other departments within the church from demanding their dues for the services they offer within the church?

The move will open the floodgates of demands of financial reward from almost everyone who takes part in any work and this can left the church reeling from financial woes.

Apart from the financial burden on the church, paying singers in the choir creates a gig mentality in the members.

The singers will be performing in front of the congregants just like any other outfit playing at a public show and this will not be consistent with the demands of praise and worship.

Praise and worship must come from the heart and not an act to please the paymasters.

Paying singers in the praise and worship team is a complicated matter as it means they will not be singing with passion for the Lord, but will be singing for the money.

Singers in the church choir must be volunteers who understand that they are singing to praise and worship the Lord and not get a reward from the church.

These volunteers must understand that once they are within the church’s praise and worship group, they are bound by the rules of the team.

It will be folly to have people who volunteer to join the church’s praise and worship team and still think that they can do whatever they wish without following the requirements laid down by the leaders of such a team. Such behaviour breeds chaos within the praise and worship team and its leaders might end up finding it hard to make any progress.

Praise and worship teams must be made up of members who are united and who feel and pray for one another, not motivated by the financial rewards.

The other thing for these volunteers is that they must be able to attend practice sessions. I have often seen praise and worship team members who mumble words for new songs simply because they would have missed a practice session where the songs were learnt.

Such singers tend to try to cover up their inability to sing the song through pretending to dance with a lot of energy.

By doing that, the church congregants tend to be attracted more by the dancing and by the time the song finishes one would have been distracted from the fact that the person was not singing.

There is nothing which agitates the choir leader than having members who are not familiar with a certain song despite that it would have been introduced at a practice session.

Volunteering to join a church’s praise and worship team means that one would have also pledged to attend the practice sessions to make the work easier for the choir leader.

It is good that most churches in Zimbabwe have praise and worship teams where no one gets paid. This enhances unity not only within the team, but also in the entire church. But these volunteers need music directors who inspire them and challenge them to do more and aim to achieve high.

All singers want to be part of something great and if music directors are doing their job well by constantly raising the bar of excellence, potential singers from the church will always line up to join them.

Yet serving, instead of working, should be the core value of any person who joins the church’s praise and worship team.

Church singers must simply get satisfaction from knowing that they are a part of something that is contributing to a greater cause – the cause of Christ.

So, the singers should be expected to provide their talent for free to the Body of Christ. Everyone who follows Jesus is called to be a minister of the Gospel and the ministering is done in different ways.

Singing is one of such ways of ministering the gospel and it will be folly for one to expect to be paid for serving through singing.

Even without receiving financial rewards, it is the church’s expectations that singers give it their best because they will be singing for God.

Yet, singing is just a part of the overall worship experience.

Worship includes a lot of things which go beyond merely standing in front of the congregants and having one singing perfectly.

It includes fellowship, prayer, the word and many other facets of the Christian life.

Once a singer is paid for participating in singing, will they also be paid for taking part in the many other things that constitute worship?

It is expected that all congregants offer their time and talents to the ministry in the church.

If the church choir members are paid and one Sunday the church fails to pay them on time, what will they do?

Will they go on strike and refuse to take to the podium demanding to be paid first? Once this happens, then it clearly shows that such singers do not sing for God, but for the money.

In such a case, praise and worship will be just a part of someone’s job description and will have nothing to do with putting God first.

So, church choirs members should not take their participating in the praise and worship team lightly.

Aspiring praise team members must be interviewed, taught and made to understand the critically important role they will play in standing before the people to minister in praise and worship. Once money issues are considered in the recruitment, then the whole essence of praise and worship falls away.

There must be proper motives for joining a praise and worship team no matter how willing potential members may be.