For every church service, choristers play about 70–80% sacred, spiritual, and “spirit-entertainment” roles. In some churches, choristers start to play during the procession to call people to worship, to praise and worship, to sing hymns, to collect tithes and offerings, to celebrate Thanksgiving, etc. The two specific aspects where the choir doesn’t play are during announcements and sermons. Some sermoners will even insist on the keyboardist playing background strings and percussion during the sermon. So a keyboardist, some of them play for almost the entire service except during announcements.
I wonder if any other departments work more than the choirs in any church. Choristers are busy people; if they are not playing during church service, they are rehearsing personally at home or during choir rehearsals. They don’t just listen to music like other people; they listen analytically to learn all the intricacies of the song. Outside of the normal choir rehearsal, musicians take their time to create intros, licks, patterns, riffs and runs, danceable loops, etc.
Is there any service or program in the church from which musicians are excluded? No, not one. Musicians minister in 52 weekly services, ranging from New Year’s to monthly Thanksgiving, from revival to crusades, evangelism to community service, wedding ceremonies to naming ceremonies, conferences, and conventions.
With the premium work they do during church services and their high level of commitment to the calling, which could hinder them from doing another job, the question is:
Are choristers not entitled to be respected and paid by the church?
Most successful ministries don’t just succeed in the teaching and miracle aspects; they are also successful in the music department. Check out RCCG, MFM, Christ Embassy, House on the Rock, COZA, or Daystar Christian Center; they all have a concrete music department full of good musicians.
How are these churches able to record such a high number of breakthroughs in the music industry? No, it is not “juju,” it is because they pay critical attention to their music department and also make their musicians employees.
I have lived in three significant cities in this country, and I’m yet to see a musician who will say, “The more I’m hungry, lack good clothes, and have no money, the more I am happy to serve as a church musician. Every musician wants to eat good food, wear good clothes, and live a good life. Most of the time, the church leader will blame a musician who left their church because he got a job where he was paid a better salary. Is it my opinion that musicians should prioritize money? No, and yes. My response is to understand where God wants you to stay and not overlook the business side of music.
What’s the way forward?
Belmoolt Institute of Music.
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