Over the past several weeks, the question of paying musicians and singers in a worship environment has been a hot topic. If you ask churches who are paying their musicians, they have valid reasons for doing so. If you ask those who aren't, they too have valid reasons. What is the best scenario? What is the ideal for the local church?
To answer the question of whether a worship team member should be paid or not is a difficult one. There are so many factors to consider in every situation. For example: I have a rocking worship band in my church. We have set a high standard of musical excellence as well as a high standard of worship. Then one day, I lose my piano player. Ouch! To make things worse, I have no one in the church who can play at the level needed. What do I do? Do I bring in someone with less talent and bring the level of music and worship down? What if there are no options but to hire someone?
This happened to me in my church. I lost a keyboard player and had no one to bring in to replace the position. What were my options? To go without or to pay someone to help out. I decided to offer a stipend to an individual who lived in a neighboring city to come in and play. The amount was not much considering what we got. Now, was this the right thing to do?
Before I went looking for someone, I had my criteria in place. He/she had to be a believer, love worship, be a worshiper and he had to be a team player. If he/she couldn't meet all of these requirements, I couldn't use them ... no matter how good he/she may be. To make a short story long, I brought in a young man and put him on a small weekly stipend that mainly took care of his gas and a Coke. What was the result? We didn't lose a beat in our music, and he brought a level of worship to our group that was needed. I know this is the exception to the norm, but God blessed us in this situation by allowing us to pay for someone who had professional quality to help us in worship. He has since joined the church and is a contributor to many other ministries.
The Lord is at work redeeming and sanctifying a people for Himself.