Support Your Own

I recently saw an interesting post on Facebook about a musician who was lamenting how their church paid a large sum of money to hire a guest artist yet they have never been paid zilch despite them supporting the vision and being a son in the house for decades!

This is not a new phenomena. There is a challenge where denominations fail to support their own artists and usually they wonder why those artists move house after they become successful forgetting that they never made a contribution to that singers/instrumentalists rise in the first place. Actually for many ministries they actually usually clip the wings of their own.

Lack of supporting our own does not end in churches. I have actually realized that it is a national phenomena in our nation of Zimbabwe. From radio stations that will not play their local artists but will play international music non-stop, to promoters who hire international acts and pay them ridiculously large sums of money in foreign currency and yet at the same time pay peanuts to our own local artists. We are a nation of imports, we fail to support our own until they can become an exportable commodity. We forget that all these international acts that we love are big because they got support in their own countries!

Seriously i do not understand how we fail to support our own. A church will hire a guest artist, even paying them in US Dollars even and for a considerable sum and yet the same ministry will not help musicians in their own church.

The argument is that if you are an in-house musician then you should not expect payment. Well i already did an issue on paying musicians which you can read on this blog so i will not focus on that. Lets just talk about simple support for now. A church will have a musician release a single/album and not even have it announced in church that a son/daughter in the house has made something that the church can buy; even having the cd’s in the product table after the service or in the bookshop if the church has a bookshop. These are some of the simple ways to support your own artist but then i guess no one wants to do this as they are afraid people will use their money buying that product instead of the other products they will be having in store which would give them a greater profit margin.

I guess the reason for getting guest artists especially those who are famous is for the purposes of pulling a crowd. Hence these hired ministers are rightly termed “crowd-pullers”. So basically this is a business arrangement. Yes of late church has become a business. The famous artist is being hired to pull a crowd that will then bring back the return on their investment through the offering, or maybe joining the church ( so in this case church benefits through increased membership ) or through a boosting of the status of the church ( if the church can hire such a famous artist it means they are the hip church, its sort of a cherry on their resume )

I would suggest a better scenario. Yes hire those foreign artists for the crowd pulling reasons but then have a talent enrichment deal where the visiting artist does a collaboration with your in-house artist so that in that way the profile of your artist starts rising and you can have your own local champion crowd puller. In the long run this is a very beneficial arrangement. And not just collaborations but also skills training. Have the visiting band train the in-house band so that your churches band may become top of the range also.

Worse still a new phenomena has arisen where churches even hire secular artists to come sing in church and yet we have gospel artists languishing and yet the church would rather throw its money to a secular artist instead of sowing seed into the gospel. It truly boggles the mind. Taking money from tithes and offerings to give someone who does not even believe in God, or who has no respect for God and yet vilifying gospel ministers who would ask for payment.