In my opinion, the “church” is one of the biggest suppliers of talent for the secular music industry.
Did you know that artists like Fantasia Barrino, Michelle Williams, Toni Braxton, Usher Raymond, Jessica Simpson, Rihanna, Brandy, Mario, etc… all started in church? These talents began somewhere and that somewhere was the “house of God.” So where are they now? In the secular music industry. Why? What contributed to the shift from singing and promoting the greatest message of God, Christ, the most amazing message this world will ever hear, to embracing the secular music industry and its own messages?
Why has the church been given so many countless and even “nameless” jewels, only for it to let them go away and use that incredible gift of worship to glorify sex, money, drugs, or whatever… other than God?
A couple weeks ago i wrote a post on my facebook page calling out Christian musicians on their under-par behavior in terms of integrity, honesty, and charity when dealing with money matters relating to church music.
At some point i believe the church forgot the scriptures about:
1. A workman being worth his wages…
2. Not muzzling the ox that treads the wheat…
3. Levites not having to have land and farms of their own because they do the work of serving God…
4. Money answering all things…
5. He that can’t provide for his household being worse than an infidel… Etc…
The Church forgot these scriptures. They started dealing with musicians not as professionals who actually invest money into their trade, instruments, and skill, but as members who should just give those hobbies as their contribution. The Church traded those aforementioned messages for statements like:
1. Do the work of God…(for free)
2. God bless you for your service (as the person walks away empty-handed after several hours of offering their talents
3. Sow your gift into the body of Christ (or perhaps rather to the personal goals of the church)
4. Give and it will come back to you…(not through us though…)
5. Increase your giving and pay your tithes and offering…(with the bare minimum you just gave them for their contribution to the event)
Ironically, no one would ask a lawyer, doctor, realtor, or even the pastor him/herself in the same church to invest their talents and skills repeatedly each Sunday for peanuts or nothing. Why? Cos it’d be preposterous!
And then we wonder why that same worshipper, singer, musician, who just gave more in offerings and tithes from their “other” job than they were compensated for their service in the house of God, will go back to those outside jobs and dedicate more time and life to it. Let’s not forget that when they return with bigger tithes and offerings from the secular music industry that the church just supplied them to, (which pays colossally better while buying their souls), the church will gladly receive those gifts and pray more “open doors” for them. (Oh and disregard the fact that they criticized them a little while ago for not coming to church as often to serve more. In short, these folks contract themselves out to the secular in order to “make ends meet” and “make it” so they’ll have a little something to give back and feel accomplished later on.
The Church will have a lot to answer to God for in terms of stewardship someday. Stewardship of people and gifts.
God entrusts gifts into its hands, and rather than nourishing those gifts spiritually, economically, and physically, the church supplies them to the eagerly awaiting world from lack, and then gladly receives their donations later on to further the even greater task of trying to reel other lost ones back into the same church in the name of God, evangelism, and a world overrun by “the enemy.” We’re basically losing more of our own than we’re reeling in equally-founded souls for the Kingdom. By the way, attendance is not salvation…but that’s another topic.
Do we not see a problem in the fact that the world invests millions, billions into propagating its agendas and propagandas than the church ever will in promoting what we know to be the greatest message of God the world needs to hear?
The world probably spends more on super bowl ads, half time shows, and political campaigns in one year, than the relatively best gospel, evangelistic gatherings or events have cumulatively in a decade. Are Christians worldwide just plain poorer than non-christians? Is the world’s god of mammon somehow greater than God Almighty?
CHRISTIANS probably spend more on secular shows and albums than they will on upcoming musicians trying to promote Christ or paying musicians for events that should reach out to thousands of souls for the Kingdom. The contemporary Church probably spends more money trying to buy new equipment, better facilities, and acquiring more property than paying its workers adequately or even giving to the actual financial needs of its members who ask for help.
Almost everything organized by the secular industry trumps the gospel industry in packaging and financial/attention-al investment; and then we wonder why people are not attracted to church or the people of God when they preach the message of Christ! Have you seen a Christian movie lately? And then seen something secular on the big screen? Out of ten, which would you say is better in terms of quality or appeal?
Who gets paid better to promote their message? After a while, do the increasingly numb and distracted masses even pay attention to the message anymore? Even though Christ is THE greatest message ever preached, a Church already lacking in power & integrity is failing in promoting Him while the world is millenia ahead in soliciting purchasers of potato chips, football or secular music from eager consumers. Are we responsible for the indvidual decline in morality? …in a way no, but we’re certainly guilty of doing a miserable job at investing in the message and people of God who help make the organized church work well than our (quite frankly) competitors in this economic and consumer-society part of the world!
Does the message of God and the power of Christ’s death on a cross become less powerful? Of course not! Never! Go check out the most persecuted parts of the world where Christians still pop up and worship without music or big church facilities. But here… the dross in which we dress and promote the gospel can do a pretty good job of dissuading the relatively open hearts from receiving it.
Here are a few situational scenarios:
1. Church to musician Scenario;
Church wants to organize a gospel concert/event and advertises for musicians. Several gifted & hardworking gospel musicians respond but ask for monetary compensation for their services in order to pay their own bills. Church says that’s ridiculous at first, questions why they should need to be paid to do the work of God, and then agrees saying they”ll take up an offering for them at the end of service. Event day comes, halfway through, at the peak of attendance, the church takes up its own house offering; at the end of the program (4-6 hours total), when quite a few people have left and already “given their best”, the church solicits another “love offering” for the 3-4 musicians who have been playing throughout while anticipating a logical payment. Byt the time the congregants gather the coins and dollar bills left in their pockets together for the musicians, the 3-4 musicians are left to split an envelope given them by the last person to leave the church grounds containing about $140.
Musicians get home, wives cuss them out because light, water, and gas bills are expected to be paid with the less than $50 they each bring back for their minimum wage work in church.
They now need counseling for their problematic marriages.
Now, those same musicians get a call for an upcoming secular artist’s promo 1-hour gig where they’ll each be paid $500 upfront, & get to split tips received. If the artist later goes big, which in a few weeks, the well-funded artist does, they make thousands in touring shows, endorsements, etc.
Their marriages are doing significantly better cos not only were bills paid, but wives got some jewelry. No counseling required. 🙂
Following year, same church wants to do same gospel event again on same date as well-paying secular artist. I give you one guess. Where do you think they’ll go?
Are they right for choosing secular music over gospel music? Not really. In the larger scheme of things, yes God is more important. But can you blame them for going to meet their basic needs elsewhere when the church did what the Bible talked about when it said a hungry brother comes and is prayed for, rather than being fed.
2. Musician to musician Scenario;
Gospel singer enlists the help of another singer/songwriter to feature on a song in their album. Singer/songwriter writes to artist’s music, sings and even records song for Gospel singer under assumption that credit, gratitude, or compensation of some sort will come of it for their time and creative investment.
Song is done and released in album for sale by Gospel artist. Neither credit, compensation of any sort, gratitude, nor further phone calls or communication from Gospel artist occurs.
Few weeks later, a secular artist enlists same singer/songwriter’s creative talents in writing, singing and recording for them.
Singer/songwriter gets paid $400 upfront for singing, $60 for studio session rehearsal, named credit for “songwriting” and recording, then consequently gets bi-annual checks of varying amounts for the one song per co-writing credit from album sales.
Answer this: the next time a supposedly professional gospel artist and a supposedly professional secular artist ask singer/songwriter for something, to whom will they respond?
There is indiscipline, negligence, nonchalance, feigned ignorance, plain overlooking behavior, or even deception and theft going on with “Children of God” while the world system continues to institute better formats of keeping accountability, compensating talent, promoting, and literally buying whatever and whoever they’re passionate about.
If things continue this way, yes Christ WILL come and WILL reign, and WILL be seen for who He is. But what legacy of ambassadorship will we have had as a platform for Him? How will we have projected our savior prior to His arrival? Who do we show the world our God is? The King, righteous, rich, just, holy, and an organized God who gave it all for what He wanted? Or the opposite? We know that when He first came, yes He was a humble carpenter. But we forget that when He returns, He’s coming as the King of kings!
Food for thought Church… Let me stop here; if you made it this far reading, you get the picture.
God bless you and i love ya 🙂