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  1. #1

    Default Should church musicians be paid?

    This was intentionally left to be ambiguous to bring in all points of view and from different religions.

    How do you feel about church musicians being paid?

  2. #2


    They should be paid at least $.10 MORE than the priest/minister/preacher...and get the same perks and benefits. Only one who should get paid MORE is the janitor, who does the most important work of all.

    The musicians are closer to the Maker than he (usually) is, as far as I'm concerned...they do more to lead a group into a true worshipful state. The janitor? He is the one who shows most closely the servant-leader example of the One they claim to have founded the religion around!

    If the leader doesn't take ANY compensation...relieving the group from the burden of his lifestyle...then the musicians can be volunteers, too. They can all make support themselves, like Paul (the Thirteenth Apostle) said he did.

    Last edited by Gannon; April-05-12 at 08:41 AM.

  3. #3


    Sure, why not? I know of an excellent organist who is Lutheran, a full time musician and music teacher, who travels 35 miles every Sunday to play the organ in a fancy Presbyterian Church. It is something she probably wouldn't be doing without the incentive. It seems as reasonable of an expenditure as paying for an expensive organ, good location for the church, or paying the preacher above living wages.

  4. #4


    (btw, if you've never been around a great worship team who has the lattitude to REALLY get going in praise, turning an hour service into an afternoon...where the group simply forgets there is anything else in life to do...including the preacher, who throws away his notes for the day...then perhaps we're not on the same page...LOL!)

    (same with a good choir well-versed in Gregorian Chanting...which has been proven to induce a wide-range of physiological and emotional responses simultaneously in groups...including healing!)

  5. #5



  6. #6


    If the ministers are getting paid, so should everyone involved in boosting church membership.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011


    As long as churches aren't allowed to be tax exempt anymore, sure.

    Maybe if I pretend to believe in fairy tales I won't have to pay taxes either.

  8. #8


    I was hoping for more input, but I'm in definite agreement with the posters. As a musician, thank you! I've been grilled a couple times for taking money from churches when I should've been, "contributing my talents to god". I thought I'd bring it up here to the community.

    I don't think every situation is the same and if you happen to belong to the church you give your services to and you hold a vested interest in their welfare, it is more of a grey area. It is not unreasonable for a church to ask amatuer singers who have an interest to contribute their talent, free of charge.

    If you are a musical director or a freelance musician going to a church to amplify a holiday service, however, you should be paid, and paid well if the gig demands much of your time outside the normal constraints of a mass or service.

    I know a few music directors; like band director-teachers at public high schools, they are arguably the hardest working person at the church, responsible for multiple groups, administrative duties, recruiting, performance duties, and being the diplomatic face of the music arm of the church body. Every music director works multiple days at the church and has every note on exam for a quiet congregation to hear during a service. You must know your history and possibly even be able to compose or at least arrange music to fit the instrumentation of the choirs or bands. A multi-faceted tough job for sure.

    Even if you are a free-lance sideman, playing for example, trumpet at an Easter mass, you probably don't have allegiance to the church. You might even be a completely different religion or agnostic. Any self-respecting musician would try their hardest to perform at a top level, and that is worth payment.

    What should the payment be? Definitely negotiable according to size of the church and the money it takes in. I've found some church treasurers to be as slippery and cutthroat in money negotiations as night club owners.

    I'm not sure if this is a rant or a declaration, but I still welcome input, especially support, since I feel I sometimes get the raw end of things, put upon me by judgmental church faithfuls.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by everglade carl View Post
    I've found some church treasurers to be as slippery and cutthroat in money negotiations as night club owners.
    Be encouraged...people like them will always exist, and will always gravitate to those positions. Often the slimiest are exactly that, and their transgressions will be revealed eventually.

    If and when you remind them of their behavior, don't do it in anger...let yours calm first, and then relate it with them coolly, and better to have witnesses if negative emotion and communication is amplified by them. There is something to that scriptural passage to gently rebuke someone if they offend, but if they are seriously in error to insure you've got witnesses to everyone's behavior.

    There will be instances where the leadership will all be under the same delusional spiritual entity (or plural). You will be able to recognize this...flee and never return to that place. I don't care if it is where you grew up, when the leadership is tainted, it is only a matter of time before they turn on you worse.

    Use scripture to bolster the contract you have them all sign before you agree to a gig. I believe the phrase goes something like, "Workers are worth their wages." It is used all the time by pastors and preachers to get a bit deeper into sheepockets!

    Cheers and good luck. Never assume anyone in any church is any different than those in the world. We are all human, and most ignore that just outside our perception which can influence and affect us. Remember in Yeshua/Jesus' time, the ones He railed against the hardest were the religious leaders...who knew better, but used their positions inthe community for personal gain, assuaging their pride, and power tripping instead.

    As far as I can remember, He used the term 'hypocrite' no other time than to address them directly.

    There is truly nothing new under the sun.

    Last edited by Gannon; April-10-12 at 07:01 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011


    In theory, these musicians don't need to be paid because "God" will make sure their bills are paid.

  11. #11


    We pay the musicians in my church. Many are so good that they have gone on to play for well-known artists. They come back several times a year to help with concerts and special events when they are able.

  12. #12


    If it is your profession, or you can perform to the level of a professional, if they expect you to be there early and rehearse, then you need to get paid. When they need something different, or things change (don't get me started on the happy-clappy praise band epidemic) they are going to speak business to you =, not faith and glory. It's like baseball--ask a business question, get a "spirit of the game" answer. Ask a "Spirit of the game" question, get a business answer. Just replace "spirit of the game" with "Faith".

  13. #13


    Jesus sez.... " Give, and it shall be given unto you."

  14. #14


    As a former Parish council member. I truly believe musicians should be paid for their services. I find the music to be a very important part of the mass.

  15. #15


    Does it have to be an either/or?

    I've played keyboard/piano/vocals for church and never minded not accepting a dime. For me, it's a chance to give back to everyone in the gathering. Of course - I tend to play at the churches just starting out as opposed to an established 100+ year congregation. If churches want to pay, great. If a church doesn't have the funds to pay/believes it's an act of service, great. No one is forcing one into playing there outside that individual's desire.

  16. #16


    Our church has a position of music director. She plays piano & organ. She directs the volunteer choir. This is a part time, but paid position. She has to rehearse with the choir & plan the music for the weekend masses. If there is a holy day or funeral during the week, she's expected to play & sing at those masses too. Sometimes we have a guitarist play, but that person does it on a volunteer basis. Many Catholic parishes are set up this way with the music director being a paid position & other musicians/singers/choir being volunteers. Should the music director be paid? Of course, especially if they're full time at the larger parishes.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011


    I'm still curious as to why church musicians should want or need to be paid?

  18. #18


    Quote Originally Posted by Occurrence View Post
    I'm still curious as to why church musicians should want or need to be paid?
    Why shouldn't they get paid, I see it as a totally worthwhile expenditure by the church.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2011


    Well personally I think they should be paid, but I'm just wondering why they would need or want to.

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