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Should Pastors, musicians instrumentalists be paid for God’s work?

By Maria Famakinwa

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The issue of gospel musicians/ music ministers and instrumentalists making financial demands to sing in churches or to sing for God so to speak has been a very sensitive topic  both in and out of the church for many years now. It has not just been an object of debate but has also attracted unfathomable arguments and sometimes outright disdain from those who feel the act stems from an opportunistic path and a debased form of mercantile methods to ask to be paid as a Gospel Singer.

In the past, there have been instances of some men of God like Pastor Sam Alawiye of Dabar International Church and Pastor David Antwi, the General Overseer of the Kharis Church condemning the idea of paying church instrumentalists which generated a lot of controversies. Likewise, the founder/presiding pastor of Salvation ministries, Pastor David Ibiyeomie warned that if one is ever paid for rendering service in the church, such will never come out of poverty in life. As this is yet to be settled came a similar issue of whether it is right for gospel artists to collect money when they play in the church.

Opinions however differ when The Hope spoke with some Christians about it. While some opined that while musicians who serve as volunteers in their home churches may not be paid, those invited as guest ministers or those who do the job full-time should be paid if pastors are also getting money from the church to keep body and soul together. Others are of the view that since it is God’s work, one should not expect rewards from men.

An up-coming gospel musician, Mr Temitayo Falade, who explained that it is the will of God for gospel musicians invited to sing in churches to be paid, said that from the foundation of God’s spiritual order, we see in Numbers chapters 2 and 3, how Aaron was separated for the work of the Priesthood. God specified the blueprint, indicating the welfare system of the Priesthood and special privileges to be accorded to the Levites who serve in the temple, and you know that the Levites, which included the Singers, were a very vital part of the Priesthood.

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His words: In our contemporary reality today, most of the great secular musicians in our nation are all products of the church but left the church because the church didn’t understand how to reward them. When the people of the world see talents, they brandish opportunities for advancement, self-development, and empowerment, but when the people of God see such, they tell you “come and serve God with your talent by joining the church workforce.” The sad part is that if someone better at what you do comes along, they forget you in a hurry and all the time and resources you have invested to build the work. They forget you and simply carry on with the new act. Yes, we are excited about using our talent for God, but after that, what next? How do I cater for my family’s needs if I am not paid? Until we, and I mean the church in general, change our mindset regarding the management of talents, we will continue to lose such treasures to the world.

“Truly, the ability to sing is a talent from God which must be judiciously used to benefit the kingdom and add value to my life. There is rejoicing in heaven that I am not just using the talent, but God is so pleased that I am sustaining my life with it, which was part of the agenda for the talent in the first place. I am adding value to the body of Christ by tithing, giving seed faith offerings, and supporting the underprivileged through the use of my talent. So in essence, asking you to pay an amount that is easily affordable to you, gives me the privilege of using my talent to fulfill a divine mandate. ”

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Sharing a similar view, A minister, Mrs. Oluponle Olufemi, argued that gospel musicians invited to minister should be paid and supported it with the scripture. “The Bible says the gift of a man maketh way for him and puts food on his table. If a footballer should be paid for showcasing his talent, why should a talented musician not be paid? If a pastor is paid or even showered blessings, why won’t a gospel musician? Mind you, the music and word make the church, and if the members water the pastor and ignore the music wing, it will die off and people will leave the church.

“If you don’t pay a jobless upcoming gospel musician, he/she leaves the church to better ones that can pay well. We are all serving the same God!

Go to good churches with outstanding musical instruments and confirm, that either they are given tokens or the pastor takes care of their needs to an extent and even helps them with a job to make money or they have a good job and doing it freely,” he said.

In a swift reaction, another minister of the gospel, Mr Olutoba Ige, opined that invited gospel musicians should not be paid so as not to miss their heavenly rewards. He said: “Once they get paid for their services, God will simply tell them that they have gotten their rewards when they collected money for singing in his church, so nothing to weigh their work with.

After all, the Ushers that stand all morning, traffic controllers, prayer warriors, counselors, children teachers, and sanitation members among others are not being paid yet, they have to meet their family needs too. Truth is, No one should be paid to do the work of God including the GOs. They should go and find something to do to sustain their families and not be stumbling blocks to their expected heavenly blessings,” he warned.

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A church worker who simply gave his name as Daddy Adura also condemned the idea of gospel artists being paid for singing in churches. The man who blamed the development on churches competing with the world warned that being paid for singing in God’s vineyards would rob one of his/ her divine blessings.

He said: “My candid view is that the service to God in His Vineyard should be free of charge. The present decadence we are experiencing in churches today is a result of the fact that the truth of the word of God has been replaced with human policies and a world administration system. The church now copied the world system of administration to rule the church; we now have a Personal Assistant, a Board of Trustee/Directors, an Organogram to show the level of seniority, minutes of meetings, elections for General Overseers, etc. We cannot rule the church like this without having problems. Being paid for rendering any service in the church denies one of God’s blessings. Though we are in the world not of the world. People now see the church as a place to cut their national cake. A musician who may be a womanizer or a liar can easily come into the church to minister and make his money without any serious repentance. Pastors now fight seriously for positions and recognition. Everybody wants to be the ruler and GOs. This is not the church that Jesus is planning to meet; He is coming for a church without spots or wrinkles.”

On how gospel musicians would feed their families if not paid for singing in churches said: “They can add other businesses to their career rather than depending on singing alone. After all, other workers in the church give free services other workers in the church truly are working for God, we should not expect rewards from a man so as not to deny us our heavenly rewards,” he advised.

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