Man, what a way to end a comment. Does it seem weird to have fan clubs for worship leaders? Does it seem odd to use the same systems to promote worship music as to promote rock stars? Does it seem a little off that people go completely nuts for the newest CD by their favorite worship leader? Does it seem unusual to hold up a few select worship leaders as idols to pursue?
Short answer: yeah.
The whole rock-star attitude is so un-Christian, yet it pervades everything in “Christian” music. Why is it impossible for people to separate rock music from rock star treatment, even in the context of worship, where a rock-star mentality should be the furthest thing from our minds? What ever happened to the simple Biblical commands to love each other without showing favoritism that we find in James 2:1-13 and elsewhere? Why do we as Christians find it necessary to copy the way the world treats musicians, especially when it comes to worship leaders?
I recently sat down with a staff member at our YMCA to discuss plans for what should hopefully be the biggest Christian concert in our town this year. (By the way, I’m gonna have to put my festival plans on hold for now. Too much going on. Maybe next year.) Anyway, this staff member is a great guy, but as he and I were talking I realized that our whole attitude in the Christian music scene has just been to copy what the world is doing in the rock music scene. He seemed enamored with the idea of getting a “really big” group in to play, and as he rattled off a few quotes he had gotten for prices of even the worship groups, I felt sick to my stomach.
I understand that promotion, travel, recording, producing, etc. all cost money, but maybe it’s time we pull back and cut expenses.
One well-known worship group he had spoken with was asking over $35,000. $35,000! To play worship music! I have a family of four, and I don’t make that much money in 2 years, let alone 2 hours of playing music that is supposed to be for God. I could send 467 goats to Kenya for that much. I could provide a month’s food and clothing to 1,000 AIDS-affected orphans in Africa for that much. I could just pay off all credit card debt for 10 families in America, totally changing their lives forever, for that much.
What’s wrong with our priorities when we’ll pay $35,000 to have a worship band come and play music to bring us closer to God, but we won’t give a couple extra bucks to the waitress to show her that God cares about her hard work? Are our priorities so out of whack that we’ll let orphans die, widows waste away, and working class parents work night and day just so we can enjoy a relaxing couple of hours in the presence of God?
I’m less ticked at the bands than I am at ourselves for allowing them to be made into rock stars. I’m sure Chris Tomlin doesn’t want to be your idol. I’m sure Matt Redman doesn’t want your worship. Why are we giving it to them?
Why are we so programmed by the media that we need to pay $35,000 to have a worship group we’ve heard on the radio come and play, when there are plenty of annointed worship bands who will do it for free, just to minister? I lead a youth group at my church, and we had a predicament this past weekend at our winter retreat – none of our usual worship leaders could make it. A couple days before the trip, I randomly met a guy who said he had a worship band and would be happy to load everything up, drive over 2 hours, and come help us out Saturday night. They didn’t ask for any money and never took up an offering (the kids all chipped in to pay for gas anyway). They did better than almost any “worship concert” I’ve been to, and I’m gonna recommend the Steve Hantschel Worship Band to everyone I meet.
I hope I never spend $35,000 to get a band to come and play, especially a worship band. If I’m gonna spend that much money, I’d rather be getting a secular band, who I expect to want rock-star treatment. It makes me sick to think of paying that much so somebody will lead worship.
How can our priorities be so twisted and perverse that we treat it like we can buy God’s favor?
I’m disgusted by our lack of Christian character in the church of America. Sorry for the depressing post, but if I were God, I’d be pissed.