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Should gospel music acts be paid for their services?

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Should gospel music acts be paid for their services?
Should gospel music acts be paid for their services? Photo Credit: Josh Laryea/Google

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

Singer, Songwriter, scriptwriter, blogger, lover of the creative arts, brands and communications expert.

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The Big 'E'

Ghana music industry – How to differentiate between true and false prophets

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Ghana music industry - How to differentiate between true and false prophets
Ghana music industry - How to differentiate between true and false prophets.

It’s a new year and hence, a fresh perspective and opportunity for key stakeholders in Ghana’s music industry to exceed the limitations and achievements of the past year, but wait! Not so fast. (more…)

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The Big 'E'

So much for loyalty – Zylofon Music saga

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So much for loyalty- Zylofon Music Saga
So much for loyalty- Zylofon Music Saga

We awoke to the headlines reading, “Bench warrant for the arrest of Nana Appiah Mensah(NAM 1) issued” and it seems signees under Zylofon Music have mixed reactions to the news. (more…)

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The Big 'E'

Should gospel music acts be paid for their services? (Part 2)

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Should gospel music acts be paid for their services?
Should gospel music acts be paid for their services? Photo Credit: Josh Laryea/Google

This is the second part of the article “Should gospel music acts be paid for their services?”.

Contrary to the favourable statements made in the previous post, it’s also imperative for artists and musicians to pay more attention to certain details that they overlook and hence, deprives them of their due.

If you should be paid, then note that it’s a full-time commitment that deserves your best inputs not as unto man only but more importantly unto God. You can’t be invited to minister before a well-prepared congregation ready to be piloted at your command to the very throne room of God without intentional preparations both spiritually and musically.

You just can’t be a half-baked product ready to be dished out to the masses. Your duty Is now as spiritual as it is musical and you would need both arsenals to be in good working conditions before presenting your giftings on God’s altar.

We ought to learn to pass through the mandatory process of preparation and brokenness unto humility before God would Himself release that grace of being in demand upon your life. You would have to get right with the word of God, feed your inner man with it and worship with a deeper revelation of Jesus Christ through your instrument play or vocal delivery.

Also, your brand positioning matters. Although Christ gave us all a second chance to make a first impression, man would not. I always say this, even God and everything associated with Him is a brand. You can’t act like a commoner and be expected to be treated like an important personality.

Let your brand speak on your behalf. Let it communicate non-verbally things like, ‘I don’t just play with skill, but with a purpose, an anointing and from revelation’. “I sit and listen attentively to the word of God when being preached and never walk out to chit chat after playing my instrument right in the middle of an ongoing service, no, never”.

“I ensure that whatever you are paying me is well deserved and I give you value for your money and better still I’m not money conscious but kingdom minded”. “I could easily sow a seed of my honorarium on the alter on which I played if I’m led”.

“I command a noble presence and respectful demeanour when you are around me”. “Lastly, I pay my tithes and give my offering to a chorister to place in the offering bowl during offertory time when I’ll be busy playing behind my instrument and I dress to impress in a decent way”.

Let such things be the basic make up of your brand. To the gospel music minister too, ensure you are of a well composed character as you are in anointing.

Look good but don’t be overly stylish and uncomfortable in your own skin in the name of fashion, attracting attention to yourself most of the time rather than on God.

Hire a reasonable agency or person to manage your social media pages. If possible, have a website and office location where bookings and anything related to your brand could be easily accessed both online and offline.

Carry yourself about with some self-worth which is different from pride by the way, and don’t get drowned and imprisoned in the name of branding that you neglect an assignment by the Holy Spirit to minister at a church without the necessary capacity to employ your services.

Don’t always organize events and sing other peoples’ songs. Write yours or get songs written for you or yet still pray for the gift of songwriting and record, perform and promote your own songs with leading names like MiPROMO Media, if you have the financial capacity and more importantly the divine calling to do so.

Don’t minister at a service and walk out right from the altar into your car, pay respect to God’s presence, the man of God who invited you and your fellow brethren in the lord, sit down and be blessed by the ministration of others too. Iron sharpens iron; remember?

On the other hand, one major consent of those against the notion is the fact that everyone serving in one way or the other in the church ought to be paid too from the ushers to each chorister, to the service leaders and even the church deacons since they all work for God.

This assertion might seem true to a point up until the minute the two parties are asked to swap positions. Any artiste or instrumentalist could easily usher but the usher would find it hard to hit a note, or read music let alone play it out on a keyboard. It’s just as simple as that.

The other truth is that while it might be a burden on the finances of some churches to pay each chorister and instrumentalist, the least they can do to show genuine appreciation is to consider the day to day lives of their choristers and instrumentalists, visit, call, recommend them to other paying gigs, link them up with part-time jobs and provide refreshments for them after each service.

All these among other little acts that go a long way to show that you really care and appreciate them for their services and not do the opposite of backlashing and criticizing them for minute errors done.

Don’t say it translates to rewards in heaven and it’s an intangible blessing serving in gods house for free. Give them their due and let them get something to sow seeds with, help the poor with and do all those other requirements wholeheartedly in order to earn their rewards in heaven.

Choosing to play for the gospel music fraternity alone is a decision that releases God’s intangible blessing because you have clearly turned down the highly lucrative offers of the secular music industry to do God’s work and that alone is a great sacrifice.

All you are doing by not honouring your musicians and music ministers is rather putting yourself in an uncomfortable position with God when his minstrels minister in bitterness.

The body of Christ is really vast and if one church doesn’t do the expected, its common place to see your instrumentalists relocate to more suitable churches who have understood these basic necessities and are duly enjoying of the fruit thereof.

Never muzzle the ox that feeds you. You need good music, I know I do too and what’s more, God needs it also to enjoy the sweet aroma of the worship that emanates from it.

We ought to renew our minds and embrace this, for how else would we be able to fight off Gods’ archenemy who apparently was His head musician and now is the brain behind all the profanity and nudity going on in what seems to be a highly appealing and lucrative secular music industry?

The enemy’s happiness stems from the ill-treated and lackadaisical approach to gospel music in churches because it automatically redirects the church folk to thrive under what seems to be a rather popular and well-structured secular music scene.

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