I should be going to bed, but my head is still going too fast. Maybe by the time I’m done here, it will slow down. A comment on someone’s Facebook post this morning sent my brain into full gear. The issue at hand was why Christian bands charge money (or perhaps charge too much sometimes) for albums, concerts, etc. The individual had some very strong feelings about this, and felt it was wrong for Christian’s to be charging for praise music. I chewed on that for a bit, and while I am a bit in agreement with that sentiment, there were some definite issues with the way the person presented the argument.
Certainly, there seems to be a proliferation in recent years of Christian bands pumping out praise/worship albums. Often, I wonder how many are genuine? How many are in it for the money? How many are doing worship albums because it seems to be a ‘sure thing’? One would hope that the ‘superstars’ who make it big are putting the extra cash to good purposes, but that is between them and God.
All that aside, the comment on Facebook was based on two things: All Christian bands sings praise music, and all Christian bands charge for their music. It also made a correlation to secular artists, and showed disgust for Christian bands making money off their music just like secular bands. To be clear, many ‘Christian bands’ don’t even sing decidedly Christian music. Some tackle the same issues that secular artists do. Some like to write love songs, just like secular artists do. Is it wrong if Christian bands have certain things in common with secular artists? I would hope not. Also, not all Christian bands charge for their music either. Have a gander at noisetrade.com to see artists (Secular and Christian alike) that are trying to do things a little differently.
To say that Christian bands, or rather, Christian artists shouldn’t make money from their music is a bit odd. I’m a Christian. Am I not allowed to make money doing my job? Is it a surprise that some Christians have chosen musical artistry as their occupation? Going back to the core of the idea even more, what about praise music? Shouldn’t that be free? If it’s all about God, how dare we put a price tag on worshiping God? However, consider this: The original ‘worship leaders’ in the Bible were the Levites. A division of the Levites were set apart by God to lead His people in praising Him. They didn’t just do this on Sundays, or during special celebrations. This was their job, and it was handed down from generation to generation. And they received compensation for this (gasp). A portion of the sacrifices (meat, grain, etc.) and offerings was designated to be the portion of the Levites. They were also given housing, and property to own. God made sure the people that were in charge of leading worship were well provided for.
Coming back full circle then. Is it wrong for Christian artists to make money from praising God? No. In fact, it would be splendid if the church would support these people better. Unfortunately, it seems to have trouble enough supporting those that preach and teach the word of God, and those that are given the task of leading worship have a hard time not being lambasted for not catering to every whim of the church (who are we supposed to be worshipping?).
To make sure my intent is clear, I didn’t write this to make the person on Facebook look silly. This is an issue I’ve stewed on many a time and struggled with in my mind. His comments on Facebook simply made my mind revisit this topic, and this time it gained some traction in the right direction. I wanted to help those who have wrestled with these questions too. Hope this helps.