Church bassist has some decisions to make...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by capnsandwich, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. Ok, here's what's up. I play the bass at my church, plus I'm kind of the music guru of the church in a way. I'm not the worship leader but I am sort of the musical director, meaning when it comes to transposing, rewriting, teaching, and composing the songs I'm the man. I've always had a gift of music since I was 3 when I was busted playing church songs on my grandmother's organ that she had in her house. Ever since then I knew I was a born player.

    Anyway, I get tons of compliments every time I play somewhere but I never seek to get paid or seek any fame or fortune for myself. I'm simply a guy who loves to play for the Lord. I've been playing at my church for about 10 year now, never got a dime an not really looking for one either. I have a job, a real job, almost too real. I work in a plant that builds the car seats for a MAJOR Japanese auto manufacturer and have been there for over 7 years. I make decent money but with my wife staying home and taking care of our 8 month old son it's still hard to make ends meet sometimes.

    I've had some opportunities to play at some bigger churches for a salary but I feel that if I do that I would be selling out to the almighty dollar and giving my gift to money instead of the Lord. My worship leader has told me that I would totally make it in any church and her brother, who is a worship leader in a BIG church in Cincy, has showed interest in me playing for him. She said she would hate to see me go but she would totally back me up and support me simply because she knows music is my passion and I deserve to seek out my dream of becoming a semi-professional/professional musician. I love my church now and I wouldn't even consider leaving unless I really needed the money but as we all know here in the USA, times are tough right now and every sort of income is helpful.

    Anyone ever been in a predicament like mine?
  2. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
  3. BillyRay


    Jan 20, 2008
    You wouldn't be selling to the almighty dollar, you would be getting paid for what you were given and worked so hard to achieve (musical talent). There's nothing wrong with that. A lot of musicians accept money to play in churches or at religious gatherings.

    No, leaving your church for the big gig is another dilemma.
  4. With all due Respect - if you are musically talented and that is your gift then you should supplement your living - with earning something for your playing. The Lord has blessed you with your talent - earning an income for doing something you love is a noble and worthy endeavor. You should maintain your Spirit - but take the best paying Church Gig that you can get - choose the one that serves you the best for your lifestyle. And here is the thing - you can still donate part of the earnings from playing and maintain the spririt of giving. My 2 Cents - follow your heart and you'll know what is right.
  5. Thanks Dave, I forgot about that thread. Good memory!!!

    I hear what's being said. I believe it's alright to get paid for ministry, but the whole thing I guess I'm dealing with is the whole "leaving the church for a bigger gig" thing, like BillyRay said. I guess I've got some praying and soul searching left to do.
  6. if you really need the money, do it. plus your worship leader has already granted you freedom to do so with no negative feelings. That's very important. I personally would never leave a church I love just for a paying gig. I play at my pretty big church for no payment and that's okay with me. At the same time I have no problem at all with musicians taking pay for playing, especially if they're also doing the arranging and acting as musical director.

    Have you thought about playing outside of church for money? I know there's a fair amount of controversy on that subject, but a lot of us church players also play in bar bands. As long as you're with the right group of people and aren't compromising yourself morally, I really don't have a problem with it and neither does my pastor or worship director. Just a thought.
  7. I think the best place to start is just to pray about your situation, like you've already mentioned. Really ask God where he wants you to be, honestly... regardless of whether you get paid or not. I don't think that this is really a decision based on money; it's more about where you're really needed. Those big churches don't pay you for nothing, they do it because they have a lot of people to plan worship for, and being a music director for a place like that is a much bigger, and often more strenuous or difficult task.

    Think about it this way... I'm sure we've all been members of a church where you had a change of pastor, right? And what is it that every one of them will tell you is the reason that they went somewhere else, regardless of how much they'd be paid, location, nearby family, etc... they always do it because they felt a real, sincere, call from God to do so. It's not always something you can explain, but it's there, and it doesn't go away. So I'd say put everything you can into praying about your situation, and see where God leads you... it may seem like too simple of a solution, but sometimes it's all we have.
  8. I have thought about it but my personal conviction prevents me from playing in bars. My church has an alcohol and drug rehab program on it's property and alcohol consumption or even the being around it is strongly discouraged. I, personally, have no dependencies but I want to respect those who do and who are in the program at our church. I like to lead by example. Thanks for the input though.

    I am in a band BTW. A Christian progressive rock band but we're mainly a studio gig right now since we don't have a singer.
  9. There's nothing simple about prayer.:D Some of the hardest battles I've ever fought were from my knees.
  10. First, let me say that I play in church myself. In fact, I sat in for another local church this morning for their early contemporary service and then went to my church and played in our worship service. Friday night, I played with my secular band at a street festival. You can do both, if you can do so without compromising your values (as was said in a previous post). But...have you thought that God may be offering you this opportunity as a way to continue to serve Him with your music AND provide for your family? I think you should explore the possibility a little further. He will let you know if it isn't right.

    Good Luck,
  11. If it can help you make ends meet, it should be noble. As long as you don't forget about your tithing and charity etc.

    If you wish to keep your ground, it's OK too, as long as you're prepared to adjust on you family finances. Living small should be able to sustain your playing for free.
  12. My suggestion would be to visit the church in question. Not just once but at least 3 times. That way you know what they are about and if if fits you and your family. I have made the mistake of going to a church once and only and stayed there only to later discover that it was wrong for both my wife and I. Also check the bulletin and make sure thee are plenty of ways for tou to get plugged in as a young family.
  13. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
    In MHO I think you should get with some of the elders and your wife and pray. I am not talking about asking them for advice, but just pray about this opportunity. God knows your financial needs and he also knows your conviction about playing in a bar. God normally doesn't just drop a pile of money in our laps and he knows you don't have the ability to pull coins from a fishes mouth, but he does open doors with opportunities for us to earn money.

    As suggested, visit the church and meet the leadership. God is not a God of confusion, you will know within a couple visits whether or not the Lord opened the door. You can also pray for God to close any door that is not from him.

    On another note, you are a christian in this world but not of this world. Myself, I have no problem playing in a bar. There are a lot of hurting people that may never step foot in a church because of the holier than thall attitude of some churches. I have noticed in a bar, most people let their guard down which gives you a chance to plant a seed. I am sure the song "My Jesus" by Todd Agnew made a lot of church leaders mad because it made them realize that Jesus wouldn't be in their church, he would more than likely be at the bars where he is needed.
  14. Yeah, that's a good idea. I have actually talked to the WL's husband who is an elder and was the best man at my wedding and he says the same thing as the WL, in fact he's the one who mentioned it first, but I haven't mentioned it to any others though. I'll do that this week. Thanks.

    I hear you and agree to a point but in my situation and how the church is structured I don't think that it's really the time to start doing that, especially since I give Bible studies sometimes to the gentlemen in the program. I'm kind of held to a greater level of accountability. My situation prevents me to do that as well as my conviction.
  15. Just J

    Just J Guest

    Jul 27, 2007
    IMO, your son... your family, should be the most important part of this equation. If I were in your situation, I'd take the paying gig without batting an eye. No one will look down to you for wanting to support your family.
  16. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Isn't there a joke about this - to paraphrase the church bass player is broke and struggling to fed his family. He gets call offering a good bar gig, but turns it down on moral grounds. He gets an offer to tour for a big rock act but turns it down to avoid temptation. He gets asked to play on a Jazz act but refueses to play the devils music. He lives devoutly, scrapes by. Years latter he dies poor and unknown. He gets to heaven, and has the new arrival debrief with the big guy: "I was poor, and it was hard, but I stayed faithfull. I know you were testing my faith"... "Are you kidding? I fixed you up with all those great gigs and you kept turning them down!".

    The CHURCH is asking you to play - if there's a moral dilemea then the church leaders have already considered it, and decided they want to pay you. In return for being part for of their family they're going to help look after your family. You deserve it for all the years you've put in. Im not particularly religeous, but YOUR faith has to tell you that God is helping you out! If your faith isn't telling you that, at least look at it as being able to feed you family and help God at the same time.
  17. You're right, and the best way to make sure that my family's needs are met is by first seeking the Lord's direction in this. The Lord will NOT allow his people to suffer if they're living in obedience so if I go to another church I need to make sure I'm being obedient to the Spirit who is guiding me to move. I guess this thread is just a big prayer request. I already know what to do. I just needed reminded.:D

  18. Yes. Also a good point. I know the I'm in good hands when another church asks me to play for them for money. I firmly believe that being a paid player is perfectly fine. There's one thing, though, that I consider when looking at it that way. Sometimes the Lord opens doors and sometimes someone else opens doors, and then sometimes the Lord opens doors but doesn't want us to walk through them yet.

    A perfect example is when Paul and I think Silas were put in prison for casting out a demon that was in a young girl. They threw them in jail after they beat them because the girl could no longer tell fortunes, thus costing the girl's owners money. Before this Paul had a vision of a guy crying out to God asking for salvation in this certain town.

    When they were in prison there was an earthquake causing the gates to open, but Paul, full of wisdom and of the Spirit, told everyone not to run but to wait. The prison guard who saw that the doors had been opened immediately took his sword and was about to kill himself, which that was the custom back then because if you didn't do it the warden would, but Paul told the guard that everyone was still there and no one had fled. This allowed Paul to witness to the guard and also allowed the guard to show sympathy to Paul and Silas and they were freed legally. Then Paul went to the guard's house and the entire family was saved. The guard was the man in Paul's original vision that brought him to the city. If Paul would have gone on his own instincts and not listened to the Spirit of God then the whole purpose for him going to the city would have been void and the prison guard would have been dead and not saved. That's why I'm still hesitant in going. Nothing against making money, just waiting on the Lord. Great point otherwise.
  19. +1000 seems like the Lord is trying to help you !!!!:)
  20. He is. I'm reading and receiving everything said in this thread. I'm using all this in my final decision. Thanks all who have contributed.