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Apr 21

Paying Worship Musicians?

image Jan Springer from North Metro Church wrote me a couple months ago. His question: What about paid musicians? Where do you draw the line? Jan, I’ll give you my thoughts but let me first apologize for the delay in writing. Bad Blogger :>

I can’t speak for others, but I can speak for what we do in exchange (and at MCC). We do not pay our musicians. Fortunately, we don’t have to. I do not mean that to sound arrogant. We just have a group of musicians who love to play. Seriously, I think some of them would pay to play. Hmm, maybe I should try that :>

Here are some additional thoughts:

  • I can see paying a worship leader if you are requiring substantial time, have high expectations, and warrant many hours per week.
  • Get a clear answer on why you pay musicians.
  • If you pay one musician, you have to pay them all.
  • If you pay musicians, you should treat them like employees (or contractors at least). What I mean is this: you are paying for a service. If they don’t deliver or show up on time, that should be reflected in their compensation.
  • The worship leader goes from leader of volunteers to manager of contract employees.  No thanks.   
  • It could muddy the waters for serving. Where do you draw the line between serving and a paid job? Tough one to walk. Why not pay nursery workers?
  • Once you start, it is probably hard to stop.

I know some churches that feel they need to hire musicians. They may be small or young and need to hire each Sunday. Others may be large and want to run it like a business with union and/or professional musicians.

All that to say this:  If I had to use paid musicians, I would set an end date and keep expectations as clear as possible.

Other thoughts????

Copyright 2008, Scot Longyear at Resonate

photo by zzzack