Owing to the recent uproars of the highly debatable issue on whether or not gospel music ministers and instrumentalists ought to be paid for services rendered in the church, I too would like to mount the pulpit and air out my thought on the issue.
Well, having spent almost every Sunday going to church and with the experience gathered over the years by being an upcoming gospel music minister myself, whiles being a backing vocalist (both live stage and studio recordings) for names like Akesse Brempong, Cindy Thompson among many others I could say on authority that I’ve had my fair share on the ins and outs of the Ghanaian gospel music scene.
One fact must be known and well-driven deep down the minds of all and sundry especially those against the notion. What these gospel acts and instrumentalists do on a daily basis is an exhibition of their God-given talents and abilities that every single personality possesses from birth, since the days of Adam.
So just as global talents such as Footballers, Actors, Graphic Designers, Painters, Wine Tasters, Dog Trainers, Surgeons and the likes are celebrated and well-paid for their services, so should the talented singer and instrumentalist be remunerated in like manner.
This is because, before the call of God and the anointing to fulfill it, there was the build-up of passion, unending nights of rehearsals towards perfection, an indirect way of paying some form of fees in order to gain tuition from more experienced people in their field of play and for others, the burden of going the extra mile to gain formal education in music from diverse educational institutions just for the love of it.
So just as any lawyer would pay his due to gain the requisite qualifications to be called to the bar, so has each one of these skilled musicians indirectly made their sacrifices in order to play the way they do to attract the attention and meet the demands of the man of God and the church.
Many a time have I personally been a victim of such a misconstrued concept and seen in my time, young men who solely rely on their passion of playing an instrument in church, minister in hunger and sleep on an empty stomach after being told the famous and most widely abused churchy phrase, “God bless you”.
Contrary to what Proverbs 3:27-28 says, as Minister Francis Amo would put it, ‘God Bless You’, doesn’t buy fuel for transportation to and from the church premises. We too also live with a spiritual gift in a physical world with physical needs that physical money meets.
It’s a whole thing altogether if we want these ministers and instrumentalists to gain full-time employment in the corporate world and haphazardly treat their passions of music as minor secondary matters and deliver average performances during church gatherings.
However, if we so desire to walk into an ‘international gospel music concert standard’ kind of delivery and get the church “turnt” up in deep worship fuelled by excellent music, which of course is the longing of every pastor and church member these days, then we ought to focus on satisfying the basic needs of the Levite so he or she too could fully focus on delivering the best in his/her field of play.
It’s a win-win situation and such instances tend to generate the necessary funding for itself as the people being blessed by these talents automatically are thrilled and willingly give out more offerings due to their satisfied souls as music is undoubtedly food for the soul.
Moreover, good Christian music is something more than just food for the soul but a ‘cheat’ to easily touch the heart of God for the release of healings, miracles, signs and wonders in the lives of his worshippers.
From a biblical standpoint, scriptures such as Nehemiah 13: 4-11 clearly justify the fact that this canker dates back to centuries before our time and its only right that in this information age, the truth is brought to light.
We’ll delve deeper into the contrary views of the notion at hand in our next post. Are those who think these ministers don’t deserve to be paid, right or wrong? What are their perceptions?
Are the musicians themselves doing things that deprive them of earning what is due them? How is the state of their direct or indirect, local or global and official or unofficial brand positioning? What even is brand positioning in the first place? Is it even a factor?
Part 2 of this feature article will be published tomorrow 13th December 2018 on GhanaMusic.com