Lovemore Chikova Christian Entertainment
Last week’s instalment asking if it is right to pay praise and worship team members solicited a lot of reactions.
This week I am bringing you two useful contributions which can help in furthering the understanding of the subject.
The first opinion comes from veteran guitarist Clive “Mono” Mukundu who has seen it all playing guitars for various churches’ praise and worship teams and for gospel music bands.
The other contribution is from a reader of this column who only identified himself as Mark.
Clive “Mono” Mukundu
I gave my life to the Lord on Tuesday 28 June 1994 when Evangelist Admire Kasi did a “one man crusade” work by looking for me in Kuwadzana, Harare, on Monday 27 June 1994 where I lived and convinced me to repent and quit beer and mbanje, which I did the following day.
I immediately became part of his full time crusade team under Zaoga Church.
Zaoga had about seven full time bands that would move around with evangelists. The teams were known as Egea (Ezekiel Guti Evangelistic Association).
Now, since we were full time and employed by the church just to do music, the bulk of our time was spent practicing — allow me to brag — WE WERE TIGHT!
I bet you we would take on any secular band and wachisa (perform better than) the band. As a result, our crusade work became simple because people would rush to hear the great music. You wouldn’t beg them to come vozotendeuka but varaurwa nemhanzi yakaurungana (our good music attracted them).
Even during preaching, they wouldn’t go away because they knew that after the sermon there would be more music. As a result, a lot of people came to the Lord.
On May 2 1995, I left Egea to join Christian Life Centre led by Pastor Gurupira.
There was no band, so I assembled and taught youngsters in the church, the likes of Ignatius Chawasarira, Cleopas Simbi, Paraclet William, etc and formed another full time church/crusade team band.
Within a few months of five days a week full day practice sessions we ended up with a super tight band. Allow me to brag again — WE WERE AIR TIGHT!
I remember we would play at weddings without any recorded music, but wedding guests would force the disco DJ to give all the entertainment time to us despite the fact that the disco would be playing all the latest music and we would be mainly playing polished church choruses and our unknown original songs.
The fact that we were tight covered everything. Our Sunday services were held close to a shopping centre and drunkards would come and beg the pastor to allow them just to sit and listen to the praise and worship and leave after.
Guess what? A number of them ended up giving their lives to the Lord and the church benches ended up being not enough because the church was full.
I remember some drunkards would tell me it was their first time to witness a guitar played like that, all along they thought it were studio gimmicks and to find the skill in church was awesome to them.
They would rather come and experience the magic every Sunday for free.
The point I am trying to raise here is that for a part time band that meets after work to have such a tight combination is totally impossible.
Ladies and gentleman, I know prayer is crucial, but no matter how much you pray, if you don’t practice enough there is no way you can reach certain levels.
That’s why Americas and South Africans have very tight church music. This can only be achieved by having musicians that are full time who practice everyday.
Even if you have very skilled individuals in the band, if they don’t practice enough together they will never reach certain levels as a unit.
They will just do disjointed jam sessions, of which ndoo zvakazara in our churches today.
Practice haidyiwe manje (one does not feed on practice), tight music doesn’t pay the bills.
If they are full time, obviously they need to be paid with money, not sweet talk, fake promises and ‘God bless you’.
Not twisted verses meant to deny some one the money like ‘Live by faith’. You don’t go to the shops and buy your grocery by faith — you need money.
That’s where we lose it as Zimbabweans.
I was part of a number of full time church bands and everything always fell apart when it came to payments. Many Zimbabweans find it hard to pay.
So, for our church music to improve we also need full time musicians, role models of tight Godly music who will play world class music and inspire everybody else to pull up their socks.
I know when it comes to money, a lot of Zimbabwean Christian leaders get offended if you mention that they do not want to pay.
Well, I did not mean to offend anybody or target anybody, but if the shoe fits you, feel free to wear it and change so that the word of God can continue to spread.
I partially agree with you. I will not repeat points where we are in agreement, but here is my take:
FACT: Churches with paid members have the best praise and worship teams than those who don’t, this you can deny or accept, it’s just the truth.
Now concerning whether or not members should be paid, I don’t think it’s a straight no/yes answer.
To answer that question here is what you need to ask yourself:
1. Do you have members who are prepared to sacrifice whatever time is REQUIRED for them team to produce the QUALITY of praise and worship your church expects.
Example 1: If your team needs to practice for only an hour a week for them to produce the quality your church expects, then, surely you can get a lot of people who can sacrifice that time and still be able to carry on with other commitments they rely on for financial upkeep – happy days, no need to pay anyone.
Example 2: If your team need to meet for at least five hours a day for at least five days a week for them to reach and produce the quality of music, praise and worship your church expects, then, do you have people who can sacrifice that amount of time and still carry on with other commitments they rely on for financial upkeep?
If yes, get those. If no, then offer to meet their financial needs and allow them to fully commit to serving God.
They are there because they want to serve, one can walk away any time if he/she doesn’t want. Without going into the spiritual side of it, there is a difference between just hiring someone to play drums (who might not even be a Christian), and appreciating someone serving God through the same task, it all bows down to how you take and conduct the whole process.
Don’t take me wrong, I’m not saying it is wrong or correct if a church chooses to or not pay praise team members, BUT if they chose to, it a perfectly normal arrangement assuming it conducted in the right manner — it won’t mean you are a money monger.
In everything, let the Spirit of God lead.
You may correct me if I am wrong, it’s just a personal opinion, otherwise thanks for the article.