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Would a Pay Increase Like This Make Sense?

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  • Would a Pay Increase Like This Make Sense?

    Hi all...

    I have been wrestling with this on another board, and I thought I'd bring this to you.

    If you are currently in a paid position, would you take a paid increase with the following stipulations?
    If you are currently in a volunteer position, would you take a salary, but with the following stipulations?

    1) you will limited solely to songs in the public domain. No CCLI. No songbooks. No hymnals. You will have a budget for overhead projection and/or photocopies, but the songs you choose must solely be in the public domain: that is, any song written before 1922, or a praise song/spiritual without any author attribution, or original material.

    2) That said, you would have still the responsibility to meet the needs of the congregation. To do so, you are free to upgrade archaic terms (Thee, Thine, alabaster, etc.), to contemporary terms. You are free to update music to a full worship band mode (or whatever team you can get). You can rewrite melodies and texts, or add your own original choruses (not unlike how many successful worship leaders are doing just that).

    3) You are free to have a blog, a podcast, and the graphics materials needed to help you get the message out easier. The congregation would be encouraged to learn to have a rudimentary understanding as to how to read music. The overhead projection must have music notation on them. You can announce the upcoming songs are going to be made available on your blog. You will have the tools necessary to make this happen (although it will be more time consuming than just text-only).

    Would you think you would be up for this type of job? Would you think that churches today would more greater benefit investing in their music team, than paying for rights for copyrighted music, even if this music is what is popular today?

    I want to hear your thoughts.
    Nick Alexander
    Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
    Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
    Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

  • #2
    I'm asking myself these questions as I'm pondering this:

    Would I only want to cook over an open fire, without the use of a stove or oven?

    Would I want to only use a horse and buggy for transportation, rather than a car?

    Would I only want to use candles to light my home rather than electricity?

    Would I only want to type this out on an old typewriter and snail-mail you my response rather than post it by use of my computer, internet, and this forum?

    This frugality doesn't seem very wise. It seems to me boundaries and limitations are being placed on the worship possibilities that need not exist. The value of what would be gained by spending the few dollars on copyright royalties far outweighs the value you're saving by not doing it. My church is 800-900 members and our copyright is $400-500 a year (I'm estimating exact figures). My guess is that your church is much, much smaller and that it would be in the $200 a year range, maybe even a bit less. How is the $200-300 going to be invested in the team in a way that yields the same value/benefit? If you paid your players (assuming a band of 4) that'd be $50/year. If you bought someone an instrument, you're going to get an entry level beginner's instrument with little quality. If you send someone to a worship conference, you're only gonna get about half way through before you run shy of money. If you buy the guitar player a few lessons, he sure better practice in the off-time to get bang for the buck.

    I guess I just land on my feet here by saying I suppose there could exist a set of circumstances in which this might make some sense. I just cannot fathom what those circumstances would be. To directly answer the question you posed, I'd say no I would not take a pay increase because it wouldn't be as valuable to me as it would be for the church to use it for CCLI and the same answer for the volunteer-to-paid scenario. The whole thought process, to me, shows a weakness in leadership from the ministerial staff looking to go such a direction.

    It costs $0 to sing these copy written songs in church every week, if you simply don't display the lyrics in any format. Lots of churches in 3rd world countries do this for obvious reasons. And boy do they worship!! They'd blow my church, with all our tech and cutting edge relevance away.

    I'd also run, not walk, away from such an offer.

    Comment


    • #3
      After thinking some more, I'm reminded of a story my pastor once told of a church in KY when he first started out. It was an older rural country United Methodist church in the hills of KY. They'd wanted to grow and were totally rebuilding their church in order to keep up with development in the area, as it was in a growing geography. When they drew up plans, they didn't include running water for restrooms (the old facility didn't have restrooms either). The folks just said "they'll just go before they come like we've always done".

      This was only…………….20….years…..ago.

      Wisely, the bishop insisted they include plans for running water, restrooms, kitchen, and even put in a playground to attract families.

      Imagine wanting to grow a church that absolutely had no vision for growth strategy on this level.

      It may not be on the exact same level, but this ideology ain't too far off.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for your honesty, moosicman.

        That said, please understand again my request. It's not that you wouldn't have access to modern technology (thus, all four of your scenarios--open fire, horse & buggy, etc., simply do not fit the stereotype).

        On top of that, you would employ the use of modern technology AND modern worship music instruments to bring these songs to life. You also have the freedom to upgrade the language, change the melodies, even excise all stanzas but one, thus leaving a single worship chorus. And you could pass this information to the entire congregation, for free, without incurring any wrath from the copyright police.

        What songs would you have available? The songs that Wesley wrote. Crosby wrote. Luther wrote. St. Anselm wrote. John Newton. The theological giants.

        You can even add "Wo Wo Wo Wo WO!" to the end if you'd like.
        Nick Alexander
        Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
        Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
        Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Moosicman View Post
          It seems to me boundaries and limitations are being placed on the worship possibilities that need not exist.
          We are going to be on opposite ends of this argument, but I insist that it is my scenario that is free from boundaries and limitations, than the current modus operandi.

          What I cannot do with the current CCLI framework: If I wish to change the lyrics of a worship song that is under copyright, I cannot legally do so (unless I am writing a parody song, but then again parody songs are not conducive towards worship). The best I can muster is to excise a stanza or just play the chorus.

          If I find errant theology in a CCLI Top 25 song (not that the song itself was written with bad intentions), and all I gotta do is just change one word to correct it, I cannot do that. I would have to scrap the whole song altogether, or learn to live with the errant theology. And worshiping a song with errant theology is a major distraction.

          If I want to add another verse to a CCLI song, something that would make the song even more resonant to the current congregation, I cannot legally do that. Churches with giant recording contracts and huge lawyerly fees could do that, like how Hillsongs United wrote an alternate counter-melody to the Rich Mullins/Beaker classic "Step By Step." But most churches do not have that luxury.

          If the congregation finds the verses of a CCLI Top 50 song a little too hard to sing, and you as a song writer have found a way to make it easier for your congregation, you cannot legally introduce that melody, without incurring the wrath of the copyright police.

          ETA: If I want to demonstrate for my congregation what songs I wish to hear, I do not have permission to record these copyrighted songs in my bedroom, post on YouTube or Soundcloud, and then embed on my blog for church members to peruse mid-week. There is no current license that would allow anybody to do that. A license for songs recorded for a service need to be either streamed, or need to be recorded during a service environment (after which, such an introduction would be too late). Else you would have to pay a royalty to the copyright owner for every listen that your recording incurred, and do so until the end of time.

          And on it goes.

          And that stinks... because for songs as wonderful as "The Wonderful Cross", "My Savior My God" and "Cornerstone," I cannot change them.

          Good thing I could change the music for "When I Survey", "I Am Not Skilled to Understand" and "On Christ the Solid Rock," though.
          Last edited by NickAlexander; 05-15-2014, 02:05 PM. Reason: Added internet podcasting scenario
          Nick Alexander
          Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
          Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
          Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

          Comment


          • #6
            Part of to, to me, depends on the church culture. It sounds like in your case that you've already been successfully doing this pre-copyrighted song method to some degree.

            What I would have to evaluate-

            * Can I reasonably do what is asked? Do I have the skills needed, or do I have to learn a great deal more?

            * How much more would this increase my workload? (ratio to pay increase/work increase)

            * Is there something of greater benefit the money could go to within the realm of the Ministry?

            * Is there room to grow and expand from here?

            * What does praying about it bring- peace or apprehension?

            Personally, I like the idea of a challenge like using public domain songs. I agree there is a great untapped reservoir of old songs that could serve as the foundation for some effective and powerful worship services. If I knew it wouldn't be overwhelming, and I had the resources to do it, I'd probably do it.
            If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Mike...

              I'm actually thinking of creating songbooks based on the PrayerMeetingPodcasts I've been creating, which use PD songs exclusively. Some of the songs I'm just learning--and I'm really not kidding here--on an acoustic guitar, they sound like they were written just yesterday.

              I would think the biggest challenge to everybody is to have some folks wade through all the forgotten songs and provide a resource (words/melody-line/chords/preferred-capo-adjustment) that states which songs deserve to be rediscovered, for specific themes.
              Nick Alexander
              Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
              Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
              Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

              Comment


              • #8
                I guess what bothers me in this scenario is that there really isn't a lot of regard for what "moves" the congregation in it's worship. Everyone is different, and some are very moved by the older hymns. But a large number of people find inspiration in more contemporary Christian songs such as "10,000 Reasons". I doubt changing the words to an older hymn would have the same effect. It may be a sound "business" practice, but the scriptural "business" of the church which is to inspire worship may be the trade-off in this.
                The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

                Comment


                • #9
                  Very good points, Duned.

                  If you're talking in terms of generalities, a congregation may say I want some music similar to Passion. And it is entirely possible for a songwriter to deconstruct those elements that make a Passion song work, from the instruments used, to the types of melodic hooks they go for, to the general themes they regularly employ. Hang around John and Paul long enough, you can create your own "Something."

                  If you're talking in terms of specifics, (and who doesn't speak in "specifics"?), then the congregant may be confused as to why you're not playing "10,000 Reasons," even after he's requested it nicely each and every week. And please note, I've got no beef with that song--it's a great song.

                  There was a time when the top worship songs were "Majesty," "As the Deer," and "Blind Man." (Raise hand if you know and employ all three of these songs on a continual basis... anyone? anyone? ). And I went to a Christian group on campus that didn't play any of these songs. They were part of a larger, international circle of Christian groups that had crafted their own style. They had their own songbook. A few of the songs and musicians from those circles did break out and get music contracts from the majors (the most notable being Jim "When All Is Said And Done" Cowan).

                  And I get it. I was familiar with all the big songs of its day, and they were focused on tons of these inhouse songs (and these songs were stellar) that nobody else really knew, except if you were lucky enough to have passed through these circles. And eventually I stopped requesting the above-mentioned songs. I got into their groove.

                  You know what? Of all the groups I reminisce and long for, it was this one. That's because the other groups--they all somehow blended into one, homogenous group, singing the same songs as everybody else. Those very songs are now dated and had been overplayed, just as "10,000 Reasons" will be ten years from now. But the worship from this one group, it was rare to find such incredible songs.

                  I say this as a precursor--there are hundreds of non-hymn PD songs in existence, in varying styles. "We Worship And Adore Thee", "Create In Me A Clean Heart," "He Is Lord," "O Come Let Us Adore Him," and "Bless the Lord O My Soul" are just the tip of the iceberg. This doesn't even take into account the hundreds of PD songs being written today, by worship artists who simply want to share their songs for free without compensation. This doesn't take into account that a Kristian Stanfill can face thousands of young adults in an arena setting, belt out the old gospel PD standard "Jesus Paid It All", add a measly two lines to the venture, and now has a "hit" song played in churches worldwide.

                  I'm wondering if this is even necessary anymore.
                  Nick Alexander
                  Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
                  Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
                  Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    With the older hymns, the way I read it, the idea is to modernize them- not just changing the 'thee' and 'thou' language, but giving them a contemporary feel with rearranging the stanzas into a verse-chorus arrangement or the 'praise chorus', you could take two or three songs and make one, the possibilities really are endless. You lay it over the top of a modern progression and cadence. It wouldn't really feel like an old hymn after working it up.

                    In fact, it my breathe some new life into worship music and services that have become cliche and predictable to the point of boredom.
                    If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I respect and see what you're driving at, Nick. There's just not enough merit there at all to justify going that route. For me, at least.

                      Do allow me to clarify some points I may have miscommunicated earlier. Just for clarity sake; I'm not trying to be argumentative.

                      I wasn't drawing the parallel with my scenarios about the use of modern technology. I was truly meaning the songs (P.D or under copyright). Maybe saying this would've been better: you're limited to the use of 10 out of 50 tools in a tool kit. To me, disavowing today's worship writers and songs and choosing to corral selection to only those written pre-1923 is the backward thinking equivalent of choosing to use candles to rather than electricity to light your home.

                      It also kind of reminds me of the argument that some religious folk make against using guitars, drums, and bass; making a piano and/or organ somehow sacred and the only God-ordained vehicle for worship music.

                      _______

                      The limitations and boundaries thing: we're just looking at an elephant from different angles. You're saying public domain gives you the freedom to change to the nth degree and therefore no limitations and boundaries. I'm saying you're limiting yourself to the boundaries of Wesley, Luther, and Crosby rather than making use of those writers plus all the others. So depending on the angle, we're both correct.

                      I'd ask which is more? "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" AND the chorus from "Mighty to Save" or twenty variations on "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" only? If I was the average church attender today, I wouldn't be able to answer because I didn't worship there long enough to find out. I moved on to another fellowship after the third variation.

                      I'm speaking in hyperbole, of course, to illustrate the point. All of this is so generally-speaking it'd be difficult for anyone to speak definitively and have anything worth too much to say.

                      But again, all this to save $300 +/-? Maybe there's more to it that would shed new light but that has me scratching my head. Not to put too fine a point on it but how much does the governing board/pastor of this proposed example really value worship?
                      Last edited by Moosicman; 05-16-2014, 10:22 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bingo on all fronts, Mike.
                        Nick Alexander
                        Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
                        Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
                        Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Moosicman,

                          I'm cool with the interplay, and I'm not offended. Thank you for challenging me.

                          You asked two pertinent questions:
                          Originally posted by Moosicman View Post
                          I'd ask which is more? "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" AND the chorus from "Mighty to Save" or twenty variations on "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" only? If I was the average church attender today, I wouldn't be able to answer because I didn't worship there long enough to find out. I moved on to another fellowship after the third variation.
                          I would dare say that if I write a new version of "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today," it would be only one version that church would use, and that's it. Not because I couldn't come up with a hundred different takes, but because it's not prudent to constantly confuse the congregation with new versions of these sorts of songs. At least once every ten years, if I must.

                          A typical hymnal, from any denomination, has about 400 songs in it. There are hundreds of these hymnals in existence. That means there are thousands of hymns available for rediscovery, at our fingertips. Many of these hymns don't even have any official melody associated with them; it's up to the musician to find or create the right melody. From thousands of writers, all throughout history. Available. Now. At. Your. Fingertips. (http://www.hymnary.org is but one place).

                          And this doesn't even take into account the hundreds of PD praise and worship choruses available. And this doesn't take into account original songs.

                          And there simply comes a point where you have so much to work with, that you naturally cut things out. The old, archaic hymns that haven't been printed for fifty years (for whatever reason)? Out. Don't want to risk learning it. Why bother with the forgotten "Holy Ghost, Pour Down Upon Your Children", which you would not only have to learn, but translate into chords, come up with a sound that makes it work, and practice with your team, when you have a ready-made "Rise And Sing", all nicely packaged and radio-played? And this is at a time when these same hymns are ripe for rediscovery, easily found, and with the tools to make them sound modern.

                          This very well could be the attitude of the majority of worship leaders today; I wouldn't say that's you, but in my estimation, it's about 97% of them. If so, then this really is as big a limitation, a mental limitation, in which case it might as well be outright rejected from one's worship toolbox. (And, quite frankly, if that works for you, great. Which leads to the second inquiry

                          But again, all this to save $300 +/-? Maybe there's more to it that would shed new light but that has me scratching my head. Not to put too fine a point on it but how much does the governing board/pastor of this proposed example really value worship?
                          There kind-of is. I'm not looking at this personally. I'm looking at this wondering if there's an eBook or something worth writing about here, to benefit churches, youth groups, events, camps, and et ceteras of every denomination and background. For churches as yourself, where it's $300 annually might not be a big investment. But other churches invest in hymnals, and the modern day hymnals carry not only a hefty price tag, but carry contemporary praise songs as well--except the printed edition always seem to be at least two years behind the times. And then such a hymnal gets used for, say, ten+ years, and the contemporary praise songs age the worst of all the songs in its contents.

                          For my own case, I'm a church of one. (Not really). I am an itinerant music minister (among other things), and I have the podcast. Sadly, there is no current CCLI framework that allows for me to use anything but PD and original songs in the podcast. But instead of groveling, I've felt I had stumbled upon a ginormous treasure trove of the greatest songs that nobody else is aware of. Every week I'm still discovering new material, as if the saints of the past were giving their voice to the worship of the present. And I do this without an organ or a traditional choir (nor a full rock-band team either).

                          So this is a precursor of finding out what the conditions may be that a person may consider cutting the CCLI lifeline, in the same way that people are cutting the cable cord across America in record numbers. Because it comes to a point that there's so much material out there, that it is impossible for a single congregant to absorb it all.

                          And please note: I say this with the utmost respect for contemporary praise and worship. I don't harbor any 'us vs them' the way a lot of traditionalists do. I see the merits in both sides; and where I'm at it seems to make more sense to move forward by unearthing the past.
                          Last edited by NickAlexander; 05-16-2014, 11:23 AM. Reason: ETA: Corrected name of hymn
                          Nick Alexander
                          Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
                          Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
                          Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My latest blog post, where I summarized my thesis and included some of your observations--pro and con--therein.
                            Last edited by NickAlexander; 05-22-2014, 08:58 AM. Reason: Fixed link.
                            Nick Alexander
                            Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
                            Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
                            Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Nick, if I may ask (trying to figure out what's going on "beneath" this conversation),
                              Is your primary issue the cost of performance licensing of copyrighted songs (whether through CCLI or some other entity) or the lack of freedom to change the lyrics of copyrighted songs?
                              Or is it a bit of both?

                              Alex
                              ...a man of few words, all carefully chosen (hopefully)

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